So what, anyone can, and should, do that right? Well I have had a lead foot all my life, whether on a bicycle or in a car, and it has cost me dearly in traffic tickets, insurance premiums and even attorney fees (in the car, that is).
But today was a milestone. On the way back from Pennsylvania, I used the cruise control the whole way and ONLY went the speed limit! Actually, I even went under the speed limit on I-270 just because I didn’t feel like going faster.
This weekend, I took the Pontiac Grand Am to PA for a wedding anniversary, and then to show it to Stacie’s godparents to potentially buy (more on this later). On the way up, I used about 5/8 of a tank of gas, going 70-80mph. It’s a 15 gallon tank, and when I filled it up (from almost empty), I got about 30mpg (I started with only about 5/8 left).
After a conversation with my family about their gas usage when they brought down 3 different vehicles to our house from theirs (a Chevy Tracker, a Nissan Pathfinder and a Mitsubishi Galant), they all only used a half-tank to get here. I wondered why I had gotten such bad gas mileage (i.e. using over a half tank). So I decided to do my own test.
Could I go the speed limit?
I left around noon on Sunday for MD, and the roads were almost empty most of the way until a major backup near Hagerstown, MD. I decided that I would utilize cruise control to force myself to go the speed limit, but then I ended up using cruise control the entire way, except for exits, on-ramps and a few times traffic speeds were too sporadic. Also, to get around the backup, I took some country roads and didn’t use cruise control.
So, the entire way I did 55 in 55 zones, 65 in 65 zones, 50 in the construction zones and so on.
What was the result?
I didn’t refill the tank yet to find out the exact amount of gas used. However, I only used 3/8 of a tank of gas, versus the 5/8 going up the day before. That’s a quarter of a tank difference! If I calculated based on assuming the fuel pump and gas gauge are synced properly (they never are), then I got 39mpg on the trip. I think when I actually get gas next, it will be more like 35mpg. Not bad for a car the EPA says should get 29mpg highway!
Unless I got above 35mpg, I won’t post an update, but I probably won’t know until Friday or Saturday of this week. No point in getting more gas when it’s going down, right?