## Fuel Economy Challenge

I decided to join in on the  twentieth episode of  CleanMPG’s quarterly challenge to beat the EPA mileage ratings. The temperatures are falling but the drivers will be heating it up! The winner is the driver who beats the EPA by the highest percentage.

Drive your daily routes in your normal car. Real-world cars, real-world routes, everyday conditions, etc. This is where the real results prove the value of Hypermiling . Remember the CleanMPG motto, “Learn to raise fuel economy and lower emissions in whatever you drive”.

As of today here are the standings.  The winners will be determined after March 31st.

## Fuel Savings Calculator

This fuel calculator was designed to allow the user to determine  how much money they will save by getting better gas mileage.  It will calculate the equivalent cost of fuel per gallon, equivalent savings per gallon, and total  savings over a year.

The example is for the car I drive a 2007 Honda Civic using the gas mileage from my best tank.   The combined EPA for my car is 29mpg, the price of gas was \$3.65 and I got 44.23 mpg.  The equivalent cost of fuel per gallon was \$2.39.  One question you might ask yourself is how long would you wait in line If you found a gas station that was selling gas for that low of a price.  If I could keep up this mileage, I would save \$867 per year.  Not too shabby for driving a little slower and using other Green Driving Tips.

Click here to use this calculator online

## Hybrid Gas Mileage in a Non Hybrid Civic

My last fill up was my all time best at 44.64 MPG. (446 miles on 9.99 gals) This was in my 2007 Honda Civic with an ICE(Internal Combustion Engine), not a hybrid.   It was mostly highway mileage,  but also some city(42 miles were at an average of 30 mpg).

How did I do it?  Mostly by slowing down.

We headed down to St Pete to visit Ofie’s father last Friday.  I filled the tank about half way down and got 43 MPG on the rest of the trip.  Saturday we drove around the city making lots of stops at lights and stores.  I shut the engine off and coasted in neutral whenever possible.  The scan gauge recorded 30 mpg while we were there(average speed was 20 mph).   Sunday morning we left to head home at 5:40 am and I kept the speed around 62 until we reached highway 19/27.  There was lots of smoke and fog and 50mph was about the highest speed I felt was safe(sometimes we couldn’t even go that fast).   The road was actually closed due to the conditions,  and we were forced to make a detour on a very narrow two lane road. We had to stop to listen to the FHP Trooper give us directions to get around the smoke.

After we got back on the highway we went through several small towns and I was able to time the lights so I never came to a complete stop at the lights, although we only stopped one more time to get a bite to eat.  The average speed for the trip was 50 mph.  I had 440 miles on the tank before the low fuel warning light came on, with two ticks left on the gas gauge.  Scan gauge showed 42 mpg but my actual mileage was 44.64 – 446 miles@9.99 gals.

It took 5hours and 40 minutes to make the trip of 273 miles but to me it was so much more relaxing than driving faster.  We kicked back and listened to a few sermons by Alistair Begg, and the time really flew by.

## Does Idling Waste Gas?

Does it waste gas to idle?  The answer is yes, obvious right?  Not for a lot of people.

Many people have been taught that if you are going to idle for less than a minute, it is better to keep the car running.   That is simply not true.  As you can see in the video that when I stopped at the light my gas mileage was 36.2 MPG.  By the time the light changed it had gone down to 35.5 MPG.   In other field test’s where I have turned the engine off at a light, the mileage did not change once I started it up again.

According to the California consumer energy center   ” If you’re in a drive-through restaurant/business line or waiting for someone and you’ll be parked and sitting for 10 seconds or longer… turn off your car’s engine.”

Wayne Gerdes in his article on the “why’s and how to hypermile” says ”  Consider shutting down your vehicle if stopped for more than 7-seconds as that is all the fuel it takes to restart a modern day, fuel-injected engine.”

The lower gas mileage you get, the more of a difference it will make.   For instance my 2007 Honda Civic rated at 25 mpg city uses .19-.22 gallons per hour when the engine is idling.   A 2013 Chevrolet Corvette rated at 15 mpg city will use perhaps twice that amount.

How much money do American’s waste each year due to idling?

A new study by the U.S. Treasury Department finds that traffic snarls wasted 1.9 billion gallons of fuel last year — about 5% of the gas American motorists used.  At the current price, that would work out to more than \$7 billion nationwide.

Here are some other myths associated with idling according to the California consumer energy center

Myth #1: The engine should be warmed up before driving. Reality: Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. With today’s modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.

Myth #2: Idling is good for your engine. Reality: Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted when idling because an engine does not operate at its peak temperature. This leads to the build up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and increase fuel consumption.

Myth #3: Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if you leave it running. Reality: Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add \$10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.