Wednesday, May 10, 2006

EdmundsTest the Gas Saving Tips

Edmunds has some practical advice for saving gas in the article We Test the Tips. They took a list of ideas for improving gas mileage and put the to the test.

The good news is that you can drastically improve your gas mileage. The caveat is that you have to change your driving habits. If you are willing to change, you'll find many related benefits too: no speeding tickets, greater safety, reduced stress and lower repair bills for tires and brake pads. In the long run this will save you money. And who knows? You might like the new you.
Many years ago, my first job in San Francisco included developing and running a railroad simulation that—among other things—simulated energy consumption. The one thing that stood out from those simulations, the one guiding rule was very simple: don't apply the brakes. All the energy you dissipate via braking is energy you might be able to save.

And how do you avoid using the brakes? Coast. Use the terrain to brake. Which implies that you go slow. All of this is pretty consistent with what Edmunds determines from their tests. Even their bottom line results matched my simulations. The railroads could save about %30 of their energy use by careful use of coasting, and Edmunds comes to the same conclusion.

One factor I wish they had tested more clearly was the idea that jackrabbit starts waste gas. In my simulations they did not. Provided you stop accelerating soon enough to avoid excessive braking, hard accelerations was fine — and the railroad operators we were working for definitely liked minimizing trip time. So do I.

No comments: