Holiday/Christmas/Solstice Trees are bad for FE - Fuelly Forums

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Old 12-01-2007, 04:38 PM   #1
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Holiday/Christmas/Solstice Trees are bad for FE

Ok, this was both sad and funny to us at the same time.

Today we went to get our tree for the holidays, and not wanting to potentially scratch and dent up the roof of the 5, we took the Trapezoid to the tree farm as well. (Sorry, 5 of us just don't fit in the Trap, so it was 2 cars.)

Loaded up with the Yakima bars and an unbound 6 foot noble fir on top, we commenced with the trip home. The first couple of miles were not particularly noteable as we travelled the local roads at 25-40mph. Then we turned out onto the highway with me leading in the Trap. "Golly" I thought. "This car sure seems to be sluggish." That turned out to be the underthought of the year.

I could not even maintain 55 mph in 5th gear with that tree on top. There was a headwind gusting 25-30 and I couldn't even hold 55 mph in 4th gear half of the time. Seriously, I had the thing floored half way home.

Finally after struggling along for 20 miles, my wife agree to pull around front and let me draft. It made a huge difference. I only had to floor it about 25% of the time.

Moral of the story: Tercels and fuel efficient tree hauling don't mix.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:08 AM   #2
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What're you doing buying real trees? Don't you know that is no longer acceptable. Get with the program! Haha.. interesting story about how insane the effects of having a tree on the top of your car can be. Not that it will ever affect me in any way... but it was still fun to read.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:37 AM   #3
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Yeah, the tree issue is almost exactly the same as paper vs. plastic. So I think for next year, we will use one made out of canvas like we do for our groceries.

As for power, the claim is what, that the typical car needs 15-25 HP to sustain 55 mph? Considering my car supposedly has 62 HP in stock form (maybe 65-67 with the new Weber carb on it), that is one hell of an efficiency hit!
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:13 AM   #4
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well a medium size tree is almost the size of a tercel and neither smooth nor aerodynamically shaped. in boating, things that size and unaerodynamic are called sails.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:52 AM   #5
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Wow! This thread is a good illustration of how air drag can affect fuel economy. Thanks!
I guess there will be a big difference pointing the tip of the tree in the direction of travel or otherwise. May be if the tree is wrapped up in a PVC sheet or cloth, then air drag can reduce lol.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:26 PM   #6
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LOL! That might actually work better than you know on this car.
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