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  1. #1
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default How to save cash and gas

    I just read an article on CNN that I wish everyone would read. It covers something that many of us already know: slowing down saves cash and costs little time. While I have been known to lead-foot it some times, I tend to try to stay at the posted limit. The article for me was just a reminder to do that more often.

    I do find it interesting that one person interviewed in the article says that she has no incentive to slow down, and that she's always late. A little time management goes a long way.

    So, plan you day better, know when to tell bosses and clients "sorry, I can't be there", and slow down to the posted speed. If you're on a road trip, take a little bit longer to enjoy the sights along the road. I'm sure you'll be glad you did!

    -Brad

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Fact check!

    "I'm saving between $100 and $200 a week by cutting back from 72-73 mph to 60-65 mph," said Dennis Sheridan, who owns an 18-wheeler and hauls freight on a contract basis throughout the Northeast.

    "If you're going from say, New York to California, you might lose an hour over the run," he said. "But on the East Coast, what are you going to lose, 10 minutes? You know as soon as you step on it you're going to hit traffic anyway."
    I appreciate that we would save fuel if we slowed down. But I just have a hard time with inaccuracies being quoted like this, making people think it is fact. It's roughly 2900 miles from NYC to SFO.
    2900/72mph = 40 hours/15 min.
    2900/65mph = 44 hours/40 min.
    2900/60mph = 48 hours/20 min.
    2900/55mph = 52 hours/45 min.

    OK, I know nobody will ever make this trip at these speeds the whole way. But, mathematically, the point made in the article is inaccurate. Going from 72mph to 60mph effectively adds one entire day to your x-country drive, NOT 1 hour. And, as you can see above, if we dropped speeds to the old federal standard of 55mph, this adds an extra 1.5 days driving for two nights lodging. The extra lodging expenses alone could wipe out any money savings.

    Is saving gas worth it? Yes for the environment. Yes for your pocketbook if this doesn't impact your time-frame or if you have the extra time anyway. But, if it means an extra day on the road if you're doing a speedrun x-country, than that is an extra day's lodging at the very least which totally wipes out any money you've saved on fuel costs.

    I'm a big supporter of doing things to help save our environment and use resources resources responsibly so I'm not opposed to the concept...but inaccurate statements like that which go unchallenged by the reporter just drive me batty.

    I think people need to track their own vehicle's gas mileage to get a clearer idea of what works best for their car. This will also help them see if they are saving dollars, and just how much they are saving, per tank by going a bit slower.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Consider the source

    It came as a quote from a trucker that feels he's not loosing much time vs. the amount of money he's saving.

    Just saying consider who the figures came from.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Western/Central Massachusetts
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    1,703

    Default Personal responsiwhat?

    I don't know if it was my imagination or not, but on a recent trip to Pennsylvania, I could have sworn that the big rigs were driving quite a bit slower than I am used to seeing.

    I often wonder what certain people are always "late" for? These are probably the same people that need some form of frustration in their life, whether real or imagined, to get through the day.

    Meanwhile, I'll keep looking for a job that allows more telecommuting. It seems to be a viable option that isn't being pursued enough.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default It is a strategy to survive

    Quote Originally Posted by Mass Tim View Post
    I don't know if it was my imagination or not, but on a recent trip to Pennsylvania, I could have sworn that the big rigs were driving quite a bit slower than I am used to seeing.
    Just about every professional trucker I know is dialing back the speedometers these days to save fuel. A couple of mph difference can make a huge difference these days and slowing is a huge topic of discussion at truck stops these days.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default I understand that

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad View Post
    It came as a quote from a trucker that feels he's not loosing much time vs. the amount of money he's saving.

    Just saying consider who the figures came from.
    But I do think the reporter failed to correct the inaccurate quote. If people don't do the math, they would think they would only lose an hour if they drove x-country rather than 8-12 hours. I don't blame the trucker for doing an "off the top of his head" calculation or you for sharing the article. I blame the reporter for sloppy reporting.

    I hope I made clear that I'm all for this as a way to safe resources and our environment. I just think that people who really do have a time-issue to consider when traveling...and you all know we get plenty of those situations here on these forums...that they should know that the travel time can be greatly impacted by this if they are traveling quite a few miles. For short trips, the difference in time-to-travel is negligible.

    As one who tends to be always late...I try, I really do. I tend to juggle too much and think I have time to put in one more load of clothes or load the dishwasher or whatever before I leave the house. And then it gets me in trouble. I hate extra stress so, really, I'm not seeking that, Tim. Honest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default report what they say

    Ok, so you've hit a bit close to home here. The reporter quoted the opinion of a trucker, they weren't conducting a math quiz. How would "correcting" that persons quote be any different than "correcting" the person in the article who was always late so there was no incentive to slow down? Not to mention, it sounded like the trucker was factoring in other things, like traffic that make it possible for 2 people driving at different speeds to reach a destination at the same time? You know, like the guy who weaves in and out of lanes, passing people every chance he can, yet at the next stop light you end up waiting for the same light to change. The reporter simply reported the opinion of someone who deals with the situation.

    Getting back to the topic, I don't think the average person is slowing down, because its not enough of a difference for one person to even notice. If slowing down improves mileage by 5%, it means 15 extra miles for the person who goes 300 miles between fill ups - and other factors like traffic and even having the windows rolled down can result in changes that are just as big. Unless you are calculating things over thousands of miles, like a trucker does, its just not noticeable enough for the average person to change their behavior.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Usually It's Both

    Many, many years ago when I was 'commuting' between Maine and Delaware on a regular basis through some of the heaviest traffic around, I noticed something that has stuck with me ever since. Traffic moves in waves. You can drive faster of slower than surrounding traffic - you are but one 'molecule' - but the traffic travels in discrete clumps. And those clumps, like the crests and troughs of waves moving across the surface of a body of water, move at a 'wave speed'. If you try to go faster than wave speed you will invariably just bump up against the next clump and have to slow down to basically wave speed while you slowly work your way from the back of the clump to the front. Then you get another short burst of speed before hitting the next clump and traveling at wave speed for a good while again. This is wasteful on many levels. Not only are you wasting gas when you're going faster, but you're wasting gas by accelerating/braking. And the end result is you don't, in the long run, go that much faster than wave speed in any event. This is in part why the trucker's intuitive sense may not be that far off. For the same reason that we often caution people not to believe the driving time estimates they get from mapping software, 'estimates' of time saved by assuming that you drive at 75 vs 65 vs 55 are also misleading. In the real world you can only do a little bit better than wave speed even if you're doing 95 between 'crests'.

    There is also an another added benefit to traveling at wave speed. You don't have to drive in or through crest after crest (clump after clump) but can settle down in the open space (or trough) between crests and still go at essentially the same speed. What I do is this. Most cars today have cruise control and the ability to change the set speed by 1 or 2 mph at a time. Simply set a speed that you think is about right and start counting cars that you pass and that pass you. If you're passing more than you get passed, drop you speed by 1 mph and start a new count, or if you get passed more than you're passing raise your speed by 1 mph. It won't take you long doing this to find out what the local wave speed is. Drive at that speed. Put yourself in a 'trough' and enjoy a relaxing drive rather than a stressful commute.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default 'Can't say no'

    Quote Originally Posted by Mass Tim View Post
    I often wonder what certain people are always "late" for? These are probably the same people that need some form of frustration in their life, whether real or imagined, to get through the day.
    Usually these are people who can't say no. A co-worker, client, or boss says "Can we meet at 2 in Tempe?" They automatically say "SURE!" forgetting they have to drive from North Phoenix and can't leave that location until almost 1:30. They're always late because they can't say no. I know people that run themselves ragged in the office because of this.

    I've noticed a lot of times in businesses that some people are also the type that try to act 22 at night and have a good time rather than getting to bed at a decent hour and wake up refreshed with time to get ready, eat, read the paper and watch the morning news. As a supervisor, I now have to deal with individuals who do this and then expect me to be sympathetic when they're consistently late.

    I admit that I get up, get ready, and go in about 45 minutes each morning, but if I'm running late I just run late, but I rarely am because I get to bed at a decent hour on work nights ;).

    Meanwhile, I'll keep looking for a job that allows more telecommuting. It seems to be a viable option that isn't being pursued enough.
    I too wonder sometimes why telecommuting isn't pursued enough, but at the same time, I understand why it isn't. In my line of work, it actually makes complete sense to not have a call center since everything can be done via the computer and phone. Technology-wise, my industry is perfect for telecommuting. The primary reason it isn't done, is people. Some people can't be trusted to do their jobs well in an office environment, so it's hard for management to buy in to the idea that they would if we allowed them to do so from their home in their PJ's. If more people were responsible, hard working, honest, caring individuals, I'm sure it would... but then again, half of my job wouldn't be needed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default Hit close to home?

    Getting back to the topic, I don't think the average person is slowing down, because its not enough of a difference for one person to even notice. If slowing down improves mileage by 5%, it means 15 extra miles for the person who goes 300 miles between fill ups - and other factors like traffic and even having the windows rolled down can result in changes that are just as big. Unless you are calculating things over thousands of miles, like a trucker does, its just not noticeable enough for the average person to change their behavior.
    I think this is where people might be more careful if they track their mileage for each tank. If that person who normally goes 300 miles between fill-ups starts seeing that he is going 320 miles instead, it might be an incentive. It would be for me. Particular with today's gas prices.
    Traffic moves in waves.
    I like this analogy, AZBuck. I wonder if there is sometimes more than one wave? The faster wave in the left lanes and the slower wave to the right. But I have no idea if each wave arrives at roughly the same time or not though so maybe I'm just imagining that?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-08-2008 at 09:57 PM. Reason: added comment re "the wave"

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