I just completed my first mileage test since joining this forum. My trip was from the San Joaquin Valley, over the Grapevine, and to the California coast area and then back home. I got over 38 mpg!!! Here are the numbers:
trip length: 278.2 miles
gallons used: 7.163
My car is a 1999 Camry 4-cyl, 4-speed auto, EPA highway rating 25 mpg
Here's how I did it.
1. max recommended pressure in all tires (35 lbs)
2. fill-up with regular gas
3. accelerate slowly and smoothly
4. drive around the speed limit
5. coast in neutral downhill, or whenever safe
6. use air-con only when going downhill
7. move right and don't worry about the cars passing you
8. no drafting, one passenger
Please give me some tips you've learned to get even better mileage. My passenger had to have some air conditioning because today was record heat on the west coast. I have a ScanGauge on the way, so I can do even better than this.
If you are driving on interstate or other freeways why not draft? Try keeping 3 stripes between you and a large truck. Thats close to your stopping distance, about 125 feet. It could make a fairly significant difference.
You've suggested the 3 stripes idea a few times, and I imagine it's a good way to measure 3 seconds at highway speed. I'd state it a little differently -- stay just far enough back that you can see the truck's mirrors sometimes but not all the time (which should still leave the back of your car in the trucker's view), or just count off 2 to 3 seconds.
I think it's a generational thing; your generation may have been taught to count lines, but mine was taught to count seconds. I can't seem to count lines without focusing on them too much and removing too much attention from the road, but I can count seconds without diverting my attention.
I dont really count them HC, I just glance at the distance with the number of stripes as a reference. I also try to stay slightly left of centered behind the truck so I can see his mirror on the left side, and he can see me. I still have good depth perception and that requires no increased attention.
This is in the right lane so there is no danger to the right and the trucker will be concentrating on his left mirror. Safest place on I95 (3 lanes) between Richmond an DC, if things get crappy you can always go right.
My proirity is to use the maximum of my attention on danger scenarios. The distance and positioning are more instinctive than any constant attention requiring action. Knots on tires, underinflated tires, erratic driving, road debris, stupid drivers, falling trees, animals running out into the road. Knowing what is going on around me especially those drivers that are speeding to the point where they can cause a chain reaction that I could get involved in.
Thats how my old brain works, boring repetetive actions become instictive.
I dont spend a lot of time looking at things that are not immediate danger related. Distractions are amplified by longer reaction times, so I have become a master at anticipation and observation of other vehicles.
My eyes spend a minuscule amount of time looking at instruments, they wont kill me.
Oh...1.5 seconds may annoy truckers and keep you out of their mirror (unless, as you say, you lean left). It's also less than the 2 seconds which is what they officially teach now (or taught 12 years ago when I took Drivers Ed), FWIW. Either way, it's not a comfortable distance for me, and in the "To draft or to slow down?" thread, at least one person's observations pointed to the 2-3 second range as being the most effective draft. That would almost certainly vary by car, though.
Situation specific. You leave 100 yards between yourself and the car in front of you on I95, and you will have at least 4 more cars between you and the other car in less than 10 seconds. I have had people pull over 5 feet in front of me to pass on the right another car in the middle lane using the distance between me and the truck. When that starts happening I CLOSE the distance.
One third of the cars are following at less than 3 car lengths, sometimes more than one third, at average speeds of 70-75 MPH. This is no exaggeration.
I have seen 13 trucks in line in the right lane and none of them were close to 3 seconds apart, at night.
I have driven from Richmond to Williamsburg in traffic soo heavy the average distance between cars was less than 4 lengths, any more and someone will pass you and pull into the gap.
No an argument HC, I wish I could follow 3 seconds behind. It simply is not possible under normal driving conditions here, unless you leave at 4 AM, which I have done many times.
One night on I95 travelling south I was doing about 75 in the left lane behind a large group of traffic.
A Chevy S-10 passed me on the right an pulled over in front of me less than a car lenght distance.
I pulled over into the right lane an passed the whole group of traffic at 80.
Uh oh blue lights.
Told the trooper exactly what had happened, and admitted I was going 80 (65 zone-1 MPH more is wreckless- $500 fine and 4 points).
I was amazed when he gave me a warning, it was nighttime, and he followed me for another 50 miles, before passing me and waving as he went by. My grandfather was a trooper in VA during prohibition, when there were only 7 in the whole state. I have ridden in their cars with them a long time ago when they drove the 73 Plymouths with the orange 440 TNT motors.