Another note from the desk of Captain Planet

Here I am again with my public service announcement on how to save gas. You may be thinking, ‘Brandy, why would you know about saving gas?’ Well, my friends, as the ex-owner of a low-horsepower hybrid, I have learned a thing or two. These tips were helpful in keeping my gas mileage up in the hybrid and the same principals have shown to improve the MPG of the CR-V as well. I figured I would post because there are a lot of these tips going around but I wanted to show how some are myths and some really work!

  1. Fill your tank in the morning– MYTH

    Now I don’t have any science to back this up but first off it makes no sense. The argument is that colder gas is more dense than hot so you get more gas when filling when it is cooler. Well that may be true if you are pumping molten lava gas at 4:30pm but you aren’t. The average temp in the pumps doesn’t change that much, so you are fine to fill up whenever.

  2. Pump up your tires –TRUE

    It is always good to keep your tires inflated properly. It helps get better traction and helps avoid accidents. Also, low tires create more drag on the car(less traction) so your car isn’t performing to the best of its ability, therefore less gas mileage. I noticed this in the Hyrbid on occasion, I would see a slight drop in the normal MPG, and sure enough, a quick air fill fixed it right up. Now we aren’t talking 5 MPG or anything but it helped. But on the other side of the story, do NOT over-inflate your tires. This is very dangerous. It has been proven to help in gas mileage but increases your chances of an accident.

  3. Reduce your speeding (Highway) – TRUE

    To quote from CNN “In a typical family sedan, every 10 miles per hour you drive over 60 is like the price of gasoline going up about 54 cents a gallon. That figure will be even higher for less fuel-efficient vehicles that go fewer miles on a gallon to start with.”
    This is very true. This was very true in the Hybrid. I would rock with some awesome gas mileage in town but then it would actually go down when I would drive on the interstate for a long time. I even had an experiment to prove this. When Kevin moved into his new apartment, we drove to Hudson to get the furniture we had bought at mom’s house. On the way there, I got the average around 43-45 MPG in the Civic. I was doing about 70-75 the whole way. On the way back, I followed Kevin and Ray in a U-Haul. I think our max speed the entire time was about 65 down a hill. When I rolled into the driveway in Raleigh, I had gotten 56 MPG! Impressive. That is even higher than EPA has the car rated. So slow down and you can save some green.

  4. Don’t floor it at a stop light/sign – TRUE

    With the Civic and now the CR-V, I have the instantaneous MPG meter. So any move I make, I can tell what is happening. A big gas sucker is pulling away from a light/sign quickly. First off it has started to annoy me with some people. I pull away from a light slower and they are all over me, waving their arms, etc. They pass me, and then a couple hundred yards down the road, here we are again, at another light…good thing they tore out from that last light to beat me to this one! That surge of gas you just used to get pissed off with is now gone, and so is your money. Now I am always conscious of this as well. If I am at a light I know has a short cycle, I will pick up the pace, I am not a complete ass :). To go along with this, if you are a couple hundred yards away and you see the blazing red light, slow down. Start to coast toward the light and you are increasing your instantaneous MPG right there…and it is easy to put your foot back on the gas if it turns green.

Now here are some just good tips:

  • Don’t sit in your car while it is running. Granted this is subject to the weather. If it is 98 outside, I don’t expect to see your sitting there in a sweat box. But 75? Cmon, you can hold out. This has recently become one of my biggest pet peeves. I get so angry. People sitting at the front of a store (IN THE FIRE LANE) with the car running and the windows up. It is breezy and cool and you are just wasting gas….FOR WHAT? I watched a woman the other day sitting in line to get gas, with the car running! You are obviously low on gas, but yet you will sit there for 10 minutes (not exaggerating) with the car running? DUH!
  • Use cruise control more. This will help you keep from giving the car more gas than it needs to go the same speed. Some people are the lead foot…and that’s fine but cruise control can help. Even Kevin and I will get up till about 40 MPH and turn it on, and steadily keep doing the accelerate button. You get a nice gradual climb in speed without wasting gas.
  • And for more great tips (and some scary ones I don’t recommend), check out the concept of hypermiling. I read an article about a guy last year that could get like 60 MPG in his regular Honda Accord….all by technique. Once again, he did some crazy shit, but it worked.

To wrap up, I am currently getting about 24-25 MPG in town with the new CR-V. When we bought it, it was EPA rated to get 21 in town. SO HA! It is possible to beat the system! To quote Captain Planet:

“The power is yours.”

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