Archive for August 8th, 2008

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For Those Who Missed It- Obama’s Point On “Tire Inflation” And “Tune Ups”

August 8, 2008

As a follow-up to the last thread on Obama’s “tire inflation” and Rush’s ignorance, I thought I’d point something out.

The concerned drivers (which would include myself) over at CleanMPG have recently passed a little milestone.  According to the site’s mileage logs, members have saved over 200,000 gallons of gas:

Andrew McGuckin – CleanMPG – Aug. 6, 2008

Since the website’s beginnings in February 2006, the ever-growing population of hypermilers has saved over 200,000 gallons of gas. At the time of this writing there were 7,550 registered CleanMPG members.

Over 1,800 vehicles have tanks logged on the site’s mileage database. Included are hybrids, diesels, bikes, electric vehicles and conventional gas vehicles. SUV’s, sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, and trucks are all being hypermiled. Cars right off the dealer lots, and cars dating back to 1967. Manual transmissions and automatics. Drivers from all over the world are Hypermiling : Ireland, England, Norway, Spain, Germany, Poland, France, Portugal, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and other countries.

Site founder Wayne Gerdes and many others have done countless news segments in print, online and on TV to spread the word. High-profile evening news events, televised gatherings, and informal friendly demonstrations are all helping. Word-of-mouth is a powerful force for change.

In the face of rising gas prices, there IS something that can be done. CleanMPG is showing the way. Congratulations to everyone involved in reaching this milestone.

That’s a lot of gasoline saved for a few people who do little more than check their tire pressure, maintain clean air and fuel filters, shed excess weight, and do crazy things like driving the speed limit and not flooring it onto the highway.

And in case you’re curious as to how one would calculate gas “savings”,  I’ll explain it here.  The “savings” are realized as the difference between the fuel consumption when the vehicle is operating at the EPA’s published ratings and the actual fuel used by the vehicle. 

To provide an example (and to see how much I’ve contributed to the cause) we’ll use my 2000 Cougar

Since I began taking an interest in what is possible with some of these simple techniques and entering my fill up stats into the database back in May, I’ve driven a total of 3,212 miles and pumped 105 gallons of gas.  So 3212/105 = 30.5 MPG. 

Now, according to the EPA, the original window sticker for the Cougar read 20 MPG city, 28 hwy, for an average of 23.  So, just do some simple math.  If I had driven 3212 miles at 23 MPG, I would have pumped about 140 gallons of gas.  140 – 105 = 35 gallons saved. 

Its a small contribution to be sure, but so far this summer I’ve saved myself 2.5 tanks, and around $133 (using a rough average of $3.80/gal).  Not too shabby.

So, Obama’s point should be pretty clear (at least it is to me).  Every vehicle on the road today has some room for improvement.  Certainly, there are plenty of poorly maintained vehicles out there that have a lot of room to improve, and are getting well below the EPA’s ratings.  And there are plenty of drivers with well maintained vehicles who aren’t taking it quite as seriously as I am (like yanking out my passenger seat), but could probably see some improvement by altering their driving habits or simply removing the dusty golf clubs from their trunk.  But the aggregate fuel savings that would be realized if everyone did at least something easy and painless to improve their efficiency would be…mind boggling.  

To put it into some perspective, in 2004, the U.S. consumed about 140 billion gallons of gasoline.   A mere 2% reduction would result in consuming 2.8 billion gallons less (~140 million barrels of oil) per year. 

Can we hit a goal of a 2% reduction?  Is it realistic?  As far as I’m concerned, all we need is someone to spread the word.  If this really is a supply and demand issue, one can join the “drill here, drill now” crowd, and hope that in 5 years that we’ve put enough extra oil on the international market to more than offset the increasing fuel consumption in places like China and India, and actually lower the price…eventually.  Attacking the demand, on the other hand, will not only lower the price in the curve a lot faster, but you’re also buying less of it.  Assuming that most people don’t like to buy gas, why is anyone mocking this idea? 

Is it the messenger?

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