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Old 08-13-2007, 12:48 PM   #1
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3 miles longer drive to save fuel?

Hi everybody,

I currently drive 42.3 miles (per google maps) on the way home everyday (I feel comfortable driving 62.5-65mph) on the interstate. I do have a 45-55mph road that trails the interstate somewhat closely, and according to Google Maps, it'll be about 3 miles longer of a drive. I'm curious, and granted, I know all cars produce different results, and testing it myself would be best, but would driving @ 45-55mph on the secondary roads for a slightly further distance make much difference?

I suppose mathmatically, I'm getting ~35 mpg, so, I would think I could potentially save just about what the difference in length would be, any flaws in my thinking?

Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:54 PM   #2
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It would take some number-crunching to figure out if the extra distance is really worth the extra MPG. If you're going all out, don't forget to factor in the added wear-and-tear of components.

As to whether the different route makes a difference in MPG?? YMMV, but instinct tells me absolutely. For instance....I started taking a different route home from work. It adds roughly 10 miles, and 10-15 minutes to my drive. However, there are less stoplights, and it's a little flatter. Plus, no interstate = lower average speed. You can see from my gaslog that my mileage has gone up roughly 2 MPG (~10%?) just from taking this route.
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandalscout View Post
Hi everybody,

I currently drive 42.3 miles (per google maps) ....about 3 miles longer of a drive. ...@ 45-55mph on the secondary roads ...
Thanks!
Well you are driving 42 miles which is a significant distance. An extra 3 miles adds about 3/42 or about 1/14 to your commute. This is just aover 7% added to your commute. If your MPG goes up OVER that amount then it would be worth it. A 10% increase in mpg would make it worthwhile from a financial standpoint.

You also have to ask yourself what your time is worth as well. If you come out ahead, is that dollar value worth the extra 3-5 minutes added to your commute? Of course if yoy are just trying to make your numbers sweet and fatten your hypermileage status then its worth every last second. I know there are at least a few people who took a longer route because they would get better FE numbers even though they actually spent more gas money on the longer route. Your new route is a no-brainer when in an FE competition. If you gave us your highway mpg and your local road mpg and both your distances (Well I guess that 42mph vs 45mph) then we can do the math.
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Old 08-13-2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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sandalscout -

Like Raccoonjoe says, ya gotta crunch the numbers. Here's a made-up example that ignores the time it takes :

5 miles @ 20 MPG => 5/20 = 1/4 => 0.25 gallons of gas to work.
10 miles @ 35 MPG => 10/35 => 2/7 => 0.28 gallons of gas to work

Sooooo, even though it's great MPG, it still wastes a bit more gas.

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Old 08-13-2007, 02:21 PM   #5
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I'm surprised a 42 mile route doesn't have a shorter distance available. When I'm trip planning, I can find almost any long route by highway I can find a shorter route by state/county roads. I used to drive 258 miles by highway, which I now drive 207 miles by state routes, saving me miles that I can also get better mileage at, so the only thing I sacrifice is time

I don't have "highway" mileage anymore. Whether the speed limit is 55 or 65mph I just drive 50-55 and consistantly get 45% over EPA combined that way. For me, the shorter route is just about always better that way.

Raccoonjoe,
How long is your commute? I would think adding 10 miles would mean to make it worth it you must drive quite a ways?
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:31 PM   #6
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Sometimes the non-interstate route can have more hills and more opportunities for P&G or EOC. This means that savings can be larger than you would initially expect from just the change in average speeds. I'd say try it for a week and see what you think... You may also find it less stressful or more pleasant to drive.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:26 PM   #7
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Take the intersate. Unless you got zero stops or corners on the side route.

Don't forget the value of your time spent taking the longer route, since you will likely not be saving much gas.
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:24 PM   #8
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Whenever I drive up to moms I can either take the interstate or a little road that runs right beside the interstate the entire time. If I take the interstate I have to drive atleast 60-65 so I don't get run over and since I live in the mountains, I may be climbing in 4rth at 4-5k rpms(guess, no tach). This sucks on gas mileage. If I take the little road, there is no real traffic and I can go my own pace. I can take the hills slower and do a crap load of gliding and esp. EOC. Yes, it takes me a good bit longer but its ok, I like to see my average mpg climb and its not like I have anything to do once I get there.

So, experiment. Do one for a few days and then the other. Perhaps being off the interstate will be less stressful.
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:29 PM   #9
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Please experiment and find what works best for you. I like the side route as I usually get to my destination in about the same time and the stops provide engine off gliding opportunities that allow for exceptional mpg. I would be getting 40% worse mileage if I followed the crowd and have a lot more stress and not save hardly any time.

Your mileage may vary, gotta experiment to know for yourself.
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:59 PM   #10
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I take the longer way around on my daily drive to miss two stop lights in Glenpool and Jenks. It only saves me fuel if there is a lot of traffic and the idiots are stacking up like cord wood. Just to get out of the beep and creep and lesson my odds from getting rear ended by a cell phone chating jerk is more than worth it.

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