First advice people seem to be given when they ask how to improve their mileage is to pick a rout that they can drive slower, coast more, and when you check the average speed of those who are getting really really good mileage they seem to be averaging around 25mph, and are driving alone in an empty car, and I'm reminded of a saying "don't use a hatchet to remove a fly from a friends forhead" it's not the right tool for what you are trying to do, just because you have a hatchet in hand doesn't meen you should try to use it for everything, how much better is it to drive a small car with one person in it then it is to drive an SUV with one person in it? if you can get away with an average speed of 25mph in an empty car why do you need a car at all? take a Bicycle, electric bicycle, moped, scooter, or small motorcycle, I know that some of the new gas scooters are advertized as only getting 65mpg, but those are the very very bottem of the line scooters, made in China by compenies with no quality controle, I've worked on a few, and you can't even get parts! but I've talked to people who fill up every 100 miles, and say they never put over a gallon of gas in their scooter, they are also cheaper to insure (or not insure in alot of states) cheaper to park, most don't require any additional drivers license, license plates are much cheaper (or get something of an age that you can get collector plates that never expire), and in the coming years more and more 4 stroke epa aproved engines are going to be used, within a few years it sounds like Honda is going to only use fuel injection.
I've put around 2,000 miles on my motorcycle this summer by useing it for short trips around town getting half again better mileage then my car, or about 20 gallons of gas saved in 2000 miles, saving my car for use on the highway, and when I need to haul people, or stuff, or when it's raining.
That obviously works well for you, but doesn't fit everone's needs.
For example we have a family of five, and there are scant few times when less than 4 people are in the vehicle except for my 100 mile/day commute.
Many of us in rural GA have a long commutes into Atlanta. One person I know of chose an extremely fuel efficient car and learned to hypermile many just bought smaller cars and others bought SUV's. Two people I know have motorcycles.
I'll leave it up to them to decide what their needs are, but if I had a magic wand I'd change everyones mind to drive small efficient cars and bikes/motorcycles/scooters/feet.
I used to think I'd replace our Grand Caravan someday with something with same utility and probably diesel for economy. But since I've changed my mind to another fuel efficient vehicle and only rent for the few times I need to haul/pull anything...and drive a new (rental) vehicle for long family drives.
2004 Civic Hybrid AT (CVT)
Personal record: 1003Miles on single tank, 74.9MPG calculated.
Supporter of http://www.fairtax.org
my main problem is the cash. I really carn't ride a motorcycle in the snow/rain (so I would need to have a motorcycle AND a car). You have to pay isurance for a motorcycle right? So that is more money.
2008 EPA adjusted:
Distance traveled by bicycle in 2007= 1,830ish miles
Average commute speed=25mph (yes, that's in a car)
1) My home is miles away from the bus route. So taking the bus into work isn't an option.
2) I checked with the group in town that does car/van pools, and they don't know of other people in the area (of my house) to share the ride (into work) with me.
3) The trip into work is much too long for me to bicycle. And even if I were to desire to try it, the extra commute time would mean I would have to get up considerably earlier (due to the much lower speed of a bicycle, over a car)!
4) My motorcycle (mostly a "toy" at this point) could be an option (since it can keep up with the speed limit). However, my main commuter car (a Honda CRX) is less stressful to ride at highway speeds (which a large fraction of my commute is), and gets almost as good FE as my old motorcycle does (the car may be heavier than the motorcycle, but it is also much more aerodynamic)! And to be truthful, I rather like having a RELAXING drive into work (instead of the more hectic pace my motorcycle would be). Also, the car is good in almost all weather (except for really deep snows), whereas the motorcycle is "fair weather only"...
Ryland good job. You have done a great job of cutting your energy consumption. That's what everyone else that's here is trying to do. Keep in mind that averaging 25 MPH (at least with a SG) includes all time traveling not just when your moving. This includes time spent at lights etc. Folks have already touch on several reasons: loads, weather, people, money, and safety. The big hitters are getting better mileage than a motorcycle could anyway. Like most people here I'm using less energy now and I'm just trying to do it the cheapest safest way available.
I commute too far to ride my bike (Yamaha XVS650 V-Star Classic). It beat the heck out of me, plus I have the wife and gear I have to take to work. On top of that the weather is just too unpredictable. The other day there was a 5% chance of rain - guess what - it rained cat & dogs.
Actually, the bike is stored at my parents until I get my garage built. I stopped riding it about 1 1/2 years ago when traffic just got too bad where I lived. We used to have one motorcycle fatality per week on a 20 mile stretch of road I lived on - that's when I quit.
Now that I've moved I'll start doing errands again on it once I get my garage built. The wife won't get on it so I put a solo seat on it some time ago along with a solo rack & saddle bags. I also live on a dirt road and the bike isn't suited for that either, it's pretty much become a toy. I do most of my errands in the Insight - it actually gets BETTER mileage than the V-Star. I have been looking closely at a scooter though. I used to have a Honda Elite 80 back in 1988. Go figure that the same thing now sells for almost 3 times what paid for mine back then!
I did just get a Miami Sun Adult Trike that I refurbished. Unfortunetly I'm in the wrong neighborhood to ride it. I live on a dirt road - as a matter of fact just this afternoon I passed some kids "Toolbox Surfing". They stand up on the toolbox in the bed of their truck and then see how fast the driver can go, remember this is on a dirt road. It's nice when they do it, I sort of think of it as our own little way of cleansing the gene pool around here.
20 miles of mountain roads with a guard rail right on the white line on one side and a 2-300ft drop off a cliff on the other side of the rail. The other side of the road is a rock cliff right on the white line, sometimes a bit over sometimes a bit away. Add to this a 80,000-100,000lb semi coming at you in the other lane doing 40mph and general road problems with a road stuck to the side of the mountain and you can see why I don't drive a motorcycle even though I have one. (I put it in the back of the truck to take it places to ride when I want to go somewhere away from the house) The rest of my commute is 4 lane roads with just the normal crazy people.
They said they were making the roads safer by doubling the weight limit of the coal trucks here. They are supposed to be able to stop within 100 yards from 45mph, seems real safe to me!
I also own a motorcycle and have driven it on a few longer trips to save gas. The problems I'm being faced with when riding it limit me from using it as much as I would like.
Aerodynamics - mine has no fairing/windshield what so ever, I would love to make it more aerodynamic, but this seems rather difficult
Cold Nights - last time I drove it my hands were getting numb by the time i reached my destination.
Gear - I WILL NOT ride with out atleast a helmet and pants, and sometimes pants are too hot
Gas Mileage - I drive an old CB-400, it gets 30-50 mpg, but my civic will get 30-35 mpg, and can carry a lot more people and stuff.
I would love to see an aerodynamic motorcycle made, something like the voyageur? Also I was looking on the internet today and found some 2 wheeled gyrocars, which are stabalized by a large gyro, they can actually come to a complete stop with out tipping! I would love to see something like this be built, I cannot understand why so many great inventions never caught on :S