10.30.2007

dRiViNg to work

I've managed to stave off complete madness on my recent car commutes to Sacramento by using as little gas as possible. The rental I have currently is a tiny little blue thing with as much interior room as my grade-school backpack, but it does have one thing that actually kind of makes it fun to drive: a digital fuel efficiency gauge. I don't know what the technical term is for it, but it tells you in real time how many miles-per-gallon you're getting and another that tells you your average. When I got the car, the average was 25mpg. I reset it to see what I could squeeze out of it and started driving. Leaving town I was getting around 15mpg because of all the start and stop, but within moments of hitting the highway I was averaging around 30. Then I found the sweet spot at about 68mph where I was getting 40mpg. I eventually caught up with a big rig and started to switch lanes but realized that even though I was a fair distance behind it, I was benefiting from it's draft which brought my mpg to 55. I creeped up closer and let off the gas, but the car kept going. My fuel consumption was hovering between 75 and 99 mpg because the airflow from the truck was basically pulling me along. I drifted behind the truck (with my foot hovering over the brake) until we reached traffic in Sac and then backed off, but not before my average mpg was at 56. By the time I made it through a couple lights to work the average was down to 50, but still pretty good I'd say. Of course, 50mpg doesn't compare to the efficiency of riding a bike, if you must drive... Starting November first though, I get to bike from the new house. Woohoo!