Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Coasting To Save Gas

Not sure how effective this is but a couple months ago I decided to make a deliberate effort to save gas by altering my driving technique. I've probably always done this a little but I really made an effort these last two months.

I've been trying to coast my truck whenever possible, and it's possible more than you might think. That means taking the foot off the gas, switching the gears to neutral and letting the truck just travel by momentum. 

I've noticed I can sometimes go three or more blocks this way with the engine just idling. For example, today I went from probably the Nazarene Church on E street to Wabash in neutral. Starting off from Wabash I went nearly all the way to 14th Street in neutral. Then down the dip on 14th in neutral, going back into gear maybe 1/3 the way up the other side of the dip, and so on.

I can't be sure how much gas I've saved because I haven't actually checked my mileage via odometer vs. gallons used. That seems too much a hassle although I've done it before. Besides, I always forget when the time comes to write things down.

As far as money paid, my bill is lower but with much lower gas prices that's to be expected. I do know I enjoyed last month's gas bill of $53.78, although I'll chalk that up to lower prices. The most recent bill was $12.87, which makes me think I am saving gas, if only because I didn't fill my tank in that time period. 

Maybe I'm not refueling as much since I've been trying this? I need to remember to actually check my mileage driving this way. Give it a try and see how it works for you. It's easier on the brakes, too.


At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1:59 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I would think there would be less. You're shifting, anyway. Probably less wear to shift to neutral than another gear. The clutch gets used the same, either way.

What I'm not sure is how this might work with an automatic transmission. I have a manual. There might be some different issues with an automatic.

I've read, btw, that manual transmissions are on the way out. Modern day automatic transmissions can supposedly get better mileage than manual. They say they're computer operated so actually handle the gears better than people can. I know that's probably true with me.

Except I'm still seeing new cars with manuals being sold... a lot of them.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Dronk said...

What you're doing is called hypermiling, and you're far from alone.

There are people who take it to extremes by removing all excess weight (i.e. seats) and drag (i.e. exterior mirrors) from the vehicle. And then there are folks like you and me who ease onto the gas pedal a little slower and coast up to places where it's safe, legal, and considerate to do so.

Over the last 2+ years, I've averaged 26.5 mpg (city/highway combined) in a car that's supposed to get 21 mpg. My record is 29.8 mpg. In 2013 I saved $460 on gas. 2014 will likely be more, but I haven't run those numbers yet.

If you're the type who enjoys tracking your performance, I'd strongly recommend getting an MPG calculator app. I use Gas Cubby, but there are surely better options out there.

Check out http://ecomodder.com/ to see a bunch of people who would rather not waste money on gas, but I think many of them are just trying to pollute less.

-Mike Dronkers

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Dronk said...

Example: Here's a modded Honda Civic. They're saying 72mpg.


Some people soup their cars up, ecomodders are equally passionate about souping them down.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I tested the miles on my truck years ago after I first bought it. Then later after we started going to UCSF regularly.

11 mpg in town. 16 on the freeway going 60-65ish. I believe I got it down to 18 or 19 after I tried driving only a bit over 55... twice. I'll have to remember to test it doing this hypermiling.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New cars have a 'green' monitor (typically a series of boxes that light up) that tell you when you're driving in a manner that will achieve the best fuel efficiency (e.g., the efficieny claimed in marketing materials).

Whenever you coast, the green boxes spike. But, if your daily commute is up and down hills, you're screwed because coasting downhill won't make up for the gas you burn going up hill.


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