I got together with a friend for lunch the other day at Cabo’s for a nice salad and some chili. After lunch as Roger and I were talking in the parking lot, the conversation went from motorcycles to gas mileage and the idea stuck me to do a little driving test.
Roger, like me is a frugal guy and had already been driving much better than most, so I wondered if my driving style would be more efficient than his.
We mapped out in our heads a round trip route of about 7 miles and off we went in my car a 2007 Honda Civic (EPA 25 City). As we headed out, I suggested we stop for a cup of Joe and as it turned out there was a Starbucks in our route.
I let Roger drive first. He used a couple of the tips we mention on the site which he had figured out on his own (plan ahead to try to keep moving, no jackrabbit starts.) His mileage to Starbucks was a respectable 37 mpg.
After our cup of coffee and solving all the world’s problems, we left Starbucks to complete our round trip. On the way back he got 27 mpg. As far as I could tell he didn’t drive any differently than he did on the first part of the leg. The reason for this reduction probably had more to do with coming across more lights and an uphill grade, while the first part was more of a downhill grade.
Now it was my turn to try. The only real difference in our driving styles was that I anticipated the lights further away then he did, accepted less than a constant speed than posted while going up hill, and coasted in neutral which caused me to exceed the posted speed for that road. I commented at one point that the guy behind me, who was right on my tail, was probably a little annoyed as I coasted to the light due to his apparent desire to get to that light even though it was red and he would have had to brake hard.
So how did I do? I got 47 MPG on the first leg and 32MPG on the second.
Roger made a few points that I agree with.
- Putting the car in neutral to coast can be dangerous for an average driver.
- While coasting to a light on a 2 lane road, the driver behind you might miss the turn signal. The “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” rule applies here.
- If caught speeding, the ticket will cost far more than the gas saved.