Sometimes things happen that hurt a bit at the time, but end up bringing us to make improvements that are a huge benefit in the long run. A few years ago, I got just that kind of shock from my teenaged son when he made a quite unexpected critical remark about my driving. “Mom, why do you keep accelerating and wait until the last minute to stop at stop signs?” he asked. (In not exactly a nice voice.)
At first I denied the behavior all together – even when the other two boys offered agreement from the back seat. It felt like mutiny! I was the careful driver, the never-had-a-ticket Mom.
That remark gave me a new awareness of my driving. Yes, indeed, I often did accelerate right up to a stop sign and then brake hard to stop in time. Now it made sense why I was only getting 19 mpg in my car. Now I wondered if maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t the car – a four door sedan – but it was me, or at least my driving habits. I recalled a Consumer’s Report article that had tested cars for ways to improve gas mileage (the main one I remember was testing one car using the cruise control around Lake Tahoe.) Now I was determined to give it a try myself.
I experimented with taking my foot off the accelerator earlier, treating the brakes like an enemy, timing lights on my regular routes, proper tire inflation, making slower starts, and especially using the cruise control. It worked. I increased my gas mileage to a little over 24 mpg, an increase of 5 mpg, or a 26% increase!
That was five years ago and I figure I’ve saved at least 658 gallons of gas over that time period. If I use an average of $3.00 per gallon, that is a savings of $1974.00. Since I did not spend any money in the process, that is pure savings. Further, I enjoyed the process and I now consistently get better gas mileage.
I posted an article with much more detail on the methods and the research on the methods on The Fat Dollar site – How I Increased My Gas Mileage by Almost 26% . I hope that one or more of the tips may help you to increase your gas mileage too. After all, I’m here to help you find ways to get bigger results from your Fat Dollars.
With a peaceful challenge that you increase your gas mileage,