Since filling up my Honda Accord coupe costs $50+, I have had to modify my driving habits and they seem to help. With my previous tank of gas, I was getting 19/20 mpg, according to my GPS system’s trip information thingamabob. First, I tried to resist the urge to be Racer Chick, where I would try to get my car ready before the green light and take off–I love the feel of acceleration. I got that tip from an Edmunds article We Test the Tips. I didn’t see much improvement in mpg but I figured that it was due to my starting past the halfway point, so that more of the mileage was based on the “aggressive” driving and thus lowering the average. I was still using my sunroof to and from work, an 8 mile drive.
One day, the weather wasn’t conducive to having the sunroof opening. By the return trip, I noticed an increase in mpg, maybe around 21mpg, where it had been stuck at 19 and 20. The improvement must have been significant for a couple of trips with closed sunroof to make a dent on mpg. That made me very sad. I love driving with my sunroof open. The weather is so gorgeous this time of year in the SF Bay Area. With such high gas prices, I couldn’t justify that bit of indulgence.
The next day, I went to San Francisco, about 40 miles one way. My average mpg went up to about 24mpg. Highway driving (without the stop-and-go traffic) definitely helps. Since I don’t live that far from work, I take mostly local. In the morning I avoid the freeway and take the Expressway, which has stop lights. In the evening, I take freeway for about 3 or 4 miles. When I drive between Sunnyvale and Los Angeles, I can get about 27 mpg. My car is rated for 30mpg Highway.
With my current tank of gas, I was able to see if it would make a difference if I did the above from the beginning of the tank. Driving with gentler acceleration and sunroof closed, my car now averages 22+ mpg. With 16-gallon fillups, that’s a savings of about 32-48 miles per tank. That’s about 2 gallons of gas, which last cost me 3.21/gallon. So I’m saving about $6 per tank by changing my driving habits.
I still miss my open sunroof.