A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to experiment with my driving style to see if I could improve my mileage. With gas prices topping $4/gallon, even small improvements can save you a pretty penny.
As for the changes that I made, I didn’t do anything too extreme. Rather, I simply focused on accelerating gradually, anticipating stops and coasting where possible to minimize braking, and minimizing air conditioning usage whenever the outside temps permitted (though this didn’t happen very often during the period in question).
I started this experiment with a full tank of gas and tracked my mileage for two weeks, at which time I refilled the tank and ran the numbers. As I noted when I first talked about this, I’ve been getting very consistent mileage, so I have a solid baseline from which to work. For background, I drive a 2005 Honda CR-V 2WD, and I typically get right at 21.8 mpg for in-town driving.
During the course of the experiment, I covered a total of 265.2 miles, all of which was most definitely “in-town” driving.
What about gas usage? As you can see below, I burned through 10.455 gallons.
This works out to 25.4 mpg. Just to be conservative, let’s round my base mileage up to 22 mpg… That works out to an increase of just over 15% in return for a few relatively minor driving adjustments. Not bad.
Given that I paid $4.019 per gallon, that’s an effective savings of just over $0.52 per gallon. But wait… I paid for the gas with a cash back rewards card which offered 5% off on gas purchases. Thus, my base price was really $4.019 – 5% = $3.82. The 15% mileage boost then takes that down to the equivalent of $3.32/gallon.
(There are plenty of other gas credit cards available that pay you a little something back every time you fill up. Compare credit card offers to find the one that’s best for you.)
A few notes:
Like I said above, I didn’t go to any heroic lengths to achieve this improvement. I just drove a bit more carefully. I should also note that I’m normally a pretty reasonable driver, so it’s not like my baseline mileage was horrible due to lead foot. While I would imagine that the results would vary pretty widely across makes/models, it seems that pretty much any “typical” driver should be able to achieve a pretty nice gain.