Friday, May 04, 2007

Getting Better Mileage From My Car

When I first bought my car, a 2000 Saturn SL2, I got excellent mileage. Low 30s near home, 40 and up if I did a lot of highway driving. Over the years it seemed to drop away - I used to get around 320 miles on a tank and lately I'd been having to fill up around the 260-270 mile mark. I wondered what was happening?

The last time I took it for an oil-change I asked the mechanics what it might be. They said it was just part of cars ageing, and for a while I left it at that. But in the last month or so I've been on an efficiency kick, seeing if there was anything cheap and easy I could do that would make better use of what I buy, and reduce my carbon footprint. I'm recycling more, I bought CF light bulbs and raised my a/c temperature a little bit...but not too much :) Everyone who knows me knows I don't enjoy heat at all :)

So I thought about my car again - was there something I could do? A quick net search turns up plenty of web sites (like this "real world" test report) and I noticed a one easy change right away - don't accelerate so hard! I'm accelerate fairly quickly at the lights and thought it didn't make much difference, but it really does. On my last full tank of gas, which just ran out today, I made sure I took about 12-15 seconds to get up to my target speed, and I kept my speed to 55-60 wherever I went, even on the freeway.

Bottom line: I got 320 miles on this tank, using about 10.5 gallons. That's over 30 mpg, which is about a 20% improvement from my previous results. Every little bit helps :)

1 comment:

Transdimensional Speeder said...

greeting fellow church-goer;

One note about the CF lights you may already know. They contain mercury so when you dispose of them they should go to an approved site. I heard about this on YPR. Unfortunatley, the EPA doesn't have too many sites currently approved for their disposal. I looked in my area and the closest one was 90 miles!

I guess you could always make compact flourescent art with them (as long as you don't break them).

Here's a
to a site for local recyclers. look to the bottom right corner for "member recyclers".

Here's another link


Brian in MD