Save On Fuel!

We don’t just save you money on your mortgage here.  We’re all about saving you money everywhere we can.

A long while back, I posted some of my gas mileage experiments with my 1997 Dodge Stratus.  What I found was that the type of gas made no difference at all, but the speed I drove did.  Since gasoline is back above $2.50 again, it might be nice to haul some of those things out again.

Apropos of that, here is an article about gasoline savings that I thought you might enjoy.  I have a neighbor with a hybrid car, and rode in one with a client the other day (and quite liked it – quiet is one of my favorite things), so I have wondered about the fuel efficiency (it’s better) of these cars, and whether they save people money (they don’t).  Having spent a good amount of time studying alternative energy and renewable fuels, as well as innovative recycling techniques (we both recycle and compost – roughly half the normal waste of our house goes places other than the landfills) (I guess today is a parenthesis day), I know one thing about them that most people don’t – they don’t necessarily save either money or natural resources.

Wind power is not more efficient – hence not more eco-friendly – than oil or even coal.  People forget this one very simple truth: it’s not the end result that determines whether a process is worth it.  Cloth diapers, for instance, do not clog landfills.  But they do destroy large amounts of water and require far, far more energy to produce and to clean than disposable diapers.  These are costs it seems few want to think about.  Wind power, if it were cheaper, would be a major source of energy for cities and towns (the oil lobby, please believe me, does not have a lot to do with whether Lehi buys its power from Utah Power or produces its own).  But it isn’t.  Wind power, solar power, all these alternative, renewable energy sources are still much more expensive than fossil fuels.  When that changes, watch how fast we get wind farms and solar arrays all over creation.

And then, watch how fast people complain that all their precious virgin land is smeared with windmills and billboard-sized solar collectors.  This is a tradeoff nobody seems interested in talking about.

But I digress (Me? Digress? Never!), one of the leading car-review sites on the web, ran some tests to determine what the best gas-saving ideas really are.  Here are a few of the findings:

  • Cruise control really does save gas on the highway.

  • There is no gas savings from leaving the air conditioner off but rolling down the windows.  The reverse saves no gas, either.

  • Jackrabbit starts eat up fearsome amounts of gas.  Fuel savings from taking 20 seconds to go from 0-to-60 versus taking only 10 seconds were enormous.

  • Air pressure in the tires doesn’t make that much difference.

As you know if you were watching this space last fall, slowing down to 60-65 on the highway will result in close to 10% better gas mileage for the average commuter.  It’s probably even better with cruise control, but I can’t use the cruise in my car, because it is possessed by the spirit of Dale Earnhardt and immediately puts the gas pedal on the floor if I engage it.  And then it leaves it there.  If you want to know how you get control of an automatic car when the gas pedal is bolted to the floor – without crashing into anything – send me an email.  It was quite an experience.

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