I decided to do a little experiment (of course) this summer to see what my car’s gas milage was like and whether or not I could coax some extra MPG’s out of my car. I drive a 1996 Subaru Outback, the model from Hell that requires premium gas and is apparently rated for 29 MPG. I logged all my travels and ran the numbers through Google Spreadsheets (probably the first time keeping something readily accessible in the cloud has been of great convenience to me). My methadology was pretty straightforward, and basic hypermiling creed.
Gentle braking and accelerating. (traffic permitting)
Avoid exceeding 70 MPH.
My driving was mostly on highways and main roads (e.x. 287 and Rt. 10) so I should have been leaning towards the high-end of my gas milage.
|6/12/10||195.5||8.15||23.99||Home to TCNJ|
|6/18/10||153.4||6.04||25.42||Michelle’s House, TCNJ|
|6/20/10||172.5||6.34||27.2||Autumn’s House & Home, TCNJ|
|7/18/10||237.7||9.54||24.92||To/From Home + Christine’s, TCNJ|
|7/25/10||230||8.73||26.36||To/From Home + Michelle’s, TCNJ|
|Time Lost:||Assuming||5-10 min. per trip||110 minutes|
The results are… well, underwhelming. Although I hit 29 MPG once, it never happened again in any of my driving. If i drove conservatively over the course of a year, I would save about $75 (compared to the 24 MPG average I got last summer). This is all assuming that weather plays no factor, of course. In the winter time, my MPG is a little lower even though I’m not using things like A/C. I would save a little less than my own body weight in CO2 emissions.
Now this isn’t ‘extreme’ hypermiling by any stretch of the imagination. These are just simple things anyone can do. The truly obsessed take off roof racks, cover up wheel wells, and aerodynamically streamline their cars. But the point remains: I didn’t save that much money over the course of 2 months. People pay more for monthly cell phone bills than I would save in a year.
So where does that leave me? Well, for starters, I’m probably just going to drive however I feel like driving. A single digit improvement in MPG is so statistically insignificant in a world chock full of traffic problems that it’s not worth worrying about. You have better things to pay attention to besides your speedometer.
For anyone else, unless your car is capable of hitting 30+ MPG, or only gets less than 2o, it’s probably more of a headache than it’s worth. If your driving is terribly wasteful to begin with… then maybe there’s room for significant improvement.
Left lane, welcome back to my life.