Hypermiling in My Old Subaru (or "Life in the Slow Lane")
5/13/2008 10:48:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
gas prices 4
Well the price of gas has hit the magic $4/gal mark for regular in Syracuse, well, $3.999 to be exact. After the last fill up, I decided that I was sick of getting about 20 mpg or about 260 miles per fill up out of my old Subaru (a 2000 Forester). I decided to start trying out some basic techniques - I wouldn't let the engine rev above 2000 rpm if I could help it. I would maintain a speed of no more than 3 miles over the speed limit, and no more than 60 mph. I wouldn't accelerate into red lights, and would not idle the engine (except at traffic lights).

I've traveled 245 miles since my last fill up, and the results so far are promising. I still have a 1/4 tank to go! Normally about 250 I had to seriously consider which gas station I was headed towards. I'd say that the techniques that I described above have increased my mpg (city + hwy) from ~20 to up around 24. This means that I am getting about 20% better gas mileage! I'll know for sure, if I can squeeze the (13 gal x 24 mpg) 312 miles out of this tank. Pretty amazing results, if you think about it. 20% fuel economy improvement equals a free tank of gas out of every 5 regularly scheduled fill ups. This week I have some maintenance scheduled that should help boost the mpg even further, as there is a problem with the vacuum line in the fuel system (Damn "Check Engine" light!).

To recap, here Balogh's rules of the (expensive) road:
  • Don't let the engine rev above 2000 rpm, if you can help it. (You can pick your own number depending on make and model.)

  • Maintain the speed limit, or no more than 3 mph above. Top speed of 60 mph. (This is tougher than it seems...)

  • Do not accelerate into red lights or stop signs. (I do a lot of coasting now.)

  • Do not allow car to idle (except at stop lights).
I challenge my readers to go out and give it a shot. Let me know how you do. For those who do not have a fancy onboard computer that figures out mileage, here's how you do it:
Mark down miles on odometer upon fill up. You have to fill tank the entire way for this to work. The next time you get gas, fill the tank up completely again and note the new number on your odometer. Save your receipt from the gas station. Now you're ready to compute mpg:

(newest odometer reading [minus] old odometer reading) e.g. 109,635 - 109,392 = 243 miles.

Divide this by the number of gallons on the last fill up, e.g. 243 miles [divided by] 12.2 gal = 19.9 mpg.
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On 2:02 PM , Ianqui said...

Of course, extras like not weighing down the car, keeping the tires filled, and not using the A/C are also going to be important (especially soon)!

On 9:01 AM , NYCO said...

I read a news story the other week about how airlines are cutting their flight speeds to save fuel.

Looks like the world is starting to slow down. Maybe it's time to read that Kunstler novel!

On 8:02 AM , sean said...

steve -

your piece is a good push for a column i've been meaning to write for a while: i remain fascinated that nixon ... yes, nixon ... managed to get the speed limit pushed down to 55 in 1973 or 1974, based on an appeal to logic and real patriotism. says something about the mood of the country then as opposed to now; bush would never even conceive of making that pitch, and any politician who tried it would be crucified. an awful lot of people right now seem far more interested in getting the prices down and getting back to where they were than in saying: the world has changed, and we're sending our gas dollars to absolutely the wrong place, and the first, best way to reassert ourselves in this 'war on terror' is to stop gorging on gasoline.

somehow, i don't see the presidential candidates making that pitch.