I drive a 2006 KIA Sedona mini-van. For the record it weighs in at a burly 5,999 pounds. I am sure there is something significant to that number. Once you add passengers I am now rolling down the road with something in excess of three tons around me. One of the drawbacks of this mode of transportation is the gas mileage. If you go cruising around without paying attention, you can easily dip as low as 11 or 12 mpg. Pretty dismal. I don’t care if gas is $1 a gallon, that is just not good.
To help battle this poor performance, I have developed a driving style that allows me to get between 25-30 mpg no matter where I go. Here are some of the tips:
1. Inflate your tires to the max rated pressure. The more rubber on the road, the more friction that you have to power through. The down side is that you have less contact with the asphalt and less traction. Fortunately, the speeds I travel are rarely subject to that kind of worry.
2. Control that cruise. Cruise control is an absolutely wonderful tool if you use it. You can let the car decide how much gas to use at the given moment. You tell it to stay at 40 mph and it will. If you are going down hill, it will lay off the gas.
3. Be a slow poke. If the speed limit is 50, go 48. I guarantee you that you will not have to slow down for someone. Why should you waste all of the precious energy just to get behind someone going slower? Odds are you will get to where you are going just as fast. Maybe even faster! People who drive faster tend to weave in and out of traffic and may get caught behind some moron doing 2 mph under the speed limit.
4. Pick a good lane. When you switch lanes, you are not going completely straight anymore. That adds distance to your destination.
5. Practice the old ‘California Stop’. The one where you roll through a stop sign. Again, don’t waste that golden momentum just because of a bunch of lawyers tell you to! Seriously, it takes gas to go from stop to start. Leave out that step, save a bit of gas.
6. This may seem silly, but don’t idle for no good reason. You get 0 mph when you idle.
7. If you really need to to speed up, wait until you are going down hill. Let some gravity help you out. In a rig like mine, you can pick up some serious speed.
So if you do all of that, you can really help save yourself some money and the earth some abuse.
And so it goes.