Posts Tagged ‘fuel economy’

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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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Choice Snippets Of The Day

August 4, 2008

You know, I’ve never really done a thread where I simply pull a few choice excerpts of posts and/or comments I’ve stumbled upon on any given day, but I figured that it might be interesting, and today is as good as any.  And since memeorandum is buzzing about Obama’s “tire inflation” comments, and because I’ve taken a keen interest in maximizing fuel efficiency personally, I thought it’d make a good subject.  Plus, maybe it’d be neat to add links to Chamber entries that are closely related.  Perhaps I could make it a recurring theme.  Anyway, here I go…

First, I came across a great graph penned by Jazz over at the Moderate Voice:

In past, darker times, Americans grew victory gardens, did without meat in their meals, melted down pots and pans for the war effort and tolerated fuel rationing. They were not regulated or legislated into such action – they were inspired and led to it by their governmental leaders who showed them the value of sacrifice in the face of a national crisis. Yet today, with a new crisis looming, when a candidate for office so much as suggests that we could consume a bit less energy by the simple act of monitoring our tire pressure (an action hardly amounting to any real “sacrifice”) he is not only ignored, but made a subject of derision for broaching the subject.

Exactly.  Heaven forbid a presidential candidate come forward, assume a leadership role, and suggest that all Americans do something that would help everyone (almost immediately, it should be noted) and would in 99% of the cases involve almost no sacrifice.  Yes, better to mock him, certainly. 

Here’s what Obama said in Springfield that’s gotten so much attention:

There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!

Obama made the mistake of not using the word “like”, and providing more examples (of simple things).   If he had, he probably wouldn’t have to deal with all the mockery and calculator-wielding analysts.  He still has time to nip it in the bud and elaborate, but risks more mockery for simply revisiting the position (after everyone has it in their head that he deserved to be mocked).  Funny, the art of politics is. 

See Chamber thread: Is Conserving Gas An Act Of Patriotism?

Next, I’m going to pick on good ol’ Rush, and post the exchange between him and the last caller on today’s show.:

RUSH: John in Libertyville, Illinois. Hello, sir. We have one minute, but I wanted to get to you.

CALLER: Hi. You’ve always been a big proponent of the inefficient vehicle, the gas guzzler, the SUV, what have you, and you’ve steadfastly maintained that the only thing at work in the high gas prices is supply and demand. But if fuel-inefficient vehicles demand more fuel and therefore reduce the supply, isn’t the supply-demand argument roughly analogous to saying we’re all paying more at the pump because of the preponderance of inefficient vehicles?

RUSH: So, because I have a gas hog, and I use a lot more gas than you do, I am affecting supply and demand; therefore, supply would be much greater if I would join you in getting an efficient car and the price would come down? Is that your theory?

CALLER: Sure. I think we’re all paying more at the pump because of the preponderance —

RUSH: But then you don’t have a free market because somebody’s gotta apply pressure on me to get me to drive something I don’t want to drive. Besides, when that happens, sir, your gasoline taxes, state gasoline taxes, are going to go up, because they’re not going to be receiving as much revenue. There’s no win here, sir.

It’s really too bad that Rush didn’t reflect on the reason why he is so proud of his gas guzzlers (he thinks he’s “sticking it” to environmentalists), but it could be that Rush got saved by the proverbial bell here, because the caller didn’t get the chance to skewer him with it either (although he could have brought it up right away).  In any case, does Rush’s response even make any sense?  I mean, if we’re paying less at the pump, it means that we have more money to spend on discretionary things (that have sales taxes attached), so there may not be a real drop in revenue.  And even if gasoline taxes were to rise, there is no reason to believe that we still can’t “win” with a drop in the end price.  And even if the end price is stagnant, at least more of the revenue would go to your state and not to line some prince’s pockets abroad.  It really looks like Rush was heading for the ropes here, ’cause he was whipping out the “sir” in a very defensive manner.  Like I said, too bad.

See Chamber thread: Rush Limbaugh, “Sticking It” To All Of Us 

(I almost got the impression that John in Libertyville had read that post when I heard him live, but maybe its just obvious to a lot more people than just myself)

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Can You Drive 55?

July 13, 2008

Sen. John Warner (R-Virginia) recently proposed that Congress consider reinstating the 55 mph national speed limit (as they did in the 70’s in response to the Arab oil embargo), citing the ability to collectively conserve gas and reduce the strain that the prices of it are putting on the country.

I suppose the pertinent question would be that, even if they did, would people ignore it? 

 
(you really won’t get the full experience of this post unless you hit play, BTW)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to handle it…

For starters, I believe that one of the main reasons why I was able to achieve 32.28 MPG (135% of the EPA’s ratings) on my last tank in the Cougar was because of my strict adherence to the posted speed limits (60 mph for 90% of my commute), instead of my speeding ways of the past.  This sensitivity to the consequences of aerodynamic drag has saved me a lot of gas (and money) over the past few months, so considering the fact that this proposal would mean that the speed traveled in my daily jaunt would decrease by only another 5 mph, I decided to take a closer look at the math and try to quantify my additional sacrifice in time if this were to happen (as this would presumably be at the heart of the complaining that would inevitably follow):

My commute consists of about 20 hwy miles, so the math at 60 miles in 60 minutes is pretty easy.  Adjusted for 55 mph, I get a time of just under 22 minutes (Time=distance/speed, or if you’re bad at algebra, see a calculator), meaning I’d arrive at work ~ 2 minutes later than usual.  And on an annual basis, 5 days/week at 52 weeks/year with 4 minutes added to my round trip would cost me about 17 hours. 

Big deal?

Nah.  I’ll look at it as more LOL’s, ’cause I’d get 17 more hours of conservative talk radio, inspiring more Chamber material, and therefore… more fun for everyone!

Go Sen. Warner!

As for the rest of the nation, however, who knows?

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Rush Limbaugh, “Sticking It” To All Of Us

June 25, 2008

I’m pretty sure that I made a promise here at some point that I wasn’t going to mention Rush anymore, but I was cruising along on my way to work today and heard something that made my jaw drop a little.  Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript:

Here is McCain lauding his intent to have a green government, and then they point out, he’s a hypocrite. I wish somebody would do a study on my cars. I mean, this is nothing. I got in my car the other day and I drove — there goes Dawn covering her — I’m not going to tell you which one. It doesn’t matter. I got in the car, I had to drive down to Miami for the weekend. I wanted to go to the Kobe Club in Miami. I had been in the one in New York. So I drove down there, checked in the hotel, stayed overnight and got all those doodads on the dashboard that tell me — your car does, too — the range you’ve got based on the gas in the tank and what miles per gallon you’re getting and so forth. Twelve on the highway, 12, I think it was 12.8 on the highway. I said, yes!

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, all right. Many of you might think I’m obnoxious, those of you just tuning in who don’t know me as the audience knows and loves me, you might think why am I going, “Yes! Yes!” when I see that my hog car is only getting 12 miles per gallon on the highway. Because I just love sticking it to the environmentalists. I am not an conformist. I just love sticking it to these people who want to interrupt my choices and my freedom. If I’m willing to pay for whatever happens and I’m not violating any law, it’s none of their business to tell me what I can and can’t drive and what I should and shouldn’t drive, and I’m not going to allow these kind of left-wing wacko kooks make me feel guilty about enjoying life. So there.

Good grief.  This is a guy who always insists that the high gasoline prices we now face are due to strict economics. Supply and demand. So what does he do?  He blathers on about how he’s doing his part to mess up the curve, thinking he’s “sticking it to the environmentalists” and undoubtedly trying to influence his audience of however many millions of listeners to do their part as well (he does like to talk about how influential he is, in case you don’t tune in regularly).

So I’ll just say that, no Rush, you’re not sticking it to the environmentalists.  According to your supply and demand argument, you’re sticking it to all of us.  Sure, I can’t tell you what you can drive and what you can’t, but I can tell you that you’re a jackass.

Update:  I forgot to mention that I originally broke this news to my hypermiler pals over at cleanMPG.com, and the reaction is decidedly mixed.  I gave Rush the “Jerk Of The Day” award.

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29.4

June 3, 2008

As it now reads in my sidebar, I’ve been employing different hypermiling techniques in an attempt to average 30 MPG in my modified 2000 Cougar V6.  Interestingly, my last tank was the closest yet:

I say interestingly because I did spend a couple of work commutes sitting in heavy traffic this last week.  This commute is probably 90% highway miles, and I’ve used that number when entering my mileage data onto the various websites I use to track my progress.  It leads me to believe that I should be able to get a 30 MPG tank if I have a lucky week of steady traffic flow.   Get outta my way Minnesota!   I’m sooo close!

Also, I noticed that Miles O’Brien and CNN has jumped on board, and posted a rather informative (and humorous) piece on hypermiling:

They mentioned one of my new online hangouts, CleanMPG.com, and I’m guessing that’s the reason why the site has this message posted at the top of the page (as of this writing):

Our server is currently experiencing a very high load with the recent increase in traffic. Please be patient with page load times — we are in the process of acquiring the means to upgrade our server hardware. If you would like to help us with this effort, please donate using the PayPal form at the bottom right of the homepage. Thank you!!

That stinks…it’s been down all day.

Anyway….take that oil man!