I have to tell ya, the easiest mod to do is on the driver for me. Slow down.
We have a 2005 Acura TSX that gets consistently 29 mpg or better. I drove it to school, then took it in for an oil change today, which meant I had to drive a LOT. (At least I combined my dentist appointment with the oil change to save gas.)
It was all freeway, which is usually a harrowing experience for me. Other drivers really don't know how to get out of the way. The speed limit on our freeways is 70mph, which means you can get away with going 79 without getting pulled over. The highways are 2 lanes, which means when you go to pass a truck (going 60-65) inevitably the slow-moving elderly couple behind the truck will take that as their cue to pull over and go around the truck. The possibility of this happening is directly related to how many cars are behind you. No cars behind you = they're going to cut you off.
Rant aside, I found that when I'm going the speed limit, nobody cuts me off. I mean - nobody. I even slow down to let faster traffic go by before I pass the big trucks because the kind of explosive accellaration you need to get in front of a fast-moving, oversized SUV takes up too much gas.
Finally, I cruised by a highway patrol car on the side of the road while I was going exactly 70 - the speed limit. I felt absolutely no panic. That feeling alone is worth slowing down.
To sum up, by slowing down I have cut my driving stress dramatically. And my gas mileage is dramatically better, too.
That is the ticket! Still, 70 mph is WAYYY too fast in my opinion. I like 55, but usually opt for 60 so that I don't piss off the people behind me. I have noticed that Michigan driving is markedly worse (ie, the other drivers are insane and think they own the road) than any of the surrounding states.
If you drive at 55, you don't need to worry about passing the trucks. I always panic when passing a cop no matter what speed I'm going. I was once pulled over by 9 cop cars while on my way to a protest on the charge of "looking suspicious" (I'm dead serious),
Wouldn't it be nice to drive together than we wouldn't have to wait so long
Stress free driving? Is it even possible?
George Carlin came up with some of his best observational humor on this subject -
"Anyone who drives slower than you do is an idiot,
Anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac"
I have this misfortune of driving in metro Detroit - the truck and SUV capital of the world where the domestic 3 produce more trucks than they do cars. The fast fading Ford Motor Co. has a 70/30 trucks to cars ratio for the first five months of 2007.
Consequently, when I drive my little 92 Honda VX on the interstate, I am in constant fear of being rear ended by a maniac in a F-150 or Silverado going 85 to 90 mph when I'm trying to maintain a steady 70 mph in the far right lane on I-96 which is a six lane boulevard in the Motor City. Believe me, I have had some close calls.
I would love to drive 60 mph but that would create a traffic jam on the four lane highways I use - I'm not kidding. So many cars and trucks would move to the left lane to pass me that the left lane would be as slow or slower than my lane. Hence more p***ed off F-150 and Silverado maniacs to deal with.
I confess to my gas savers bretheren that I find myself wanting to pass slower traffic myself at times and that creates stress for reasons already stated - no one wants you to pass them, even Grandma!
So, from now on I solemnly swear to try to maintain a constant speed and will try to drive at the speed limit or less when conditions permit to get the maximum achievable mpg I can!
I have found a frontage road that goes along the freeway. The speed limit is 45, but there are 2 or 3 stops. I haven't seen a huge difference in my mileage, and it takes a bit longer. But driving home with an educational CD at night, I'm ok with going a bit slower. There's less stress because there is hardly any traffic.