Admittedly driving 55 mph on Routes 95 and 93 is not advisable. My experiment had me driving on average about 63 mph, which resulted in me being passed by even the most “senior drivers”. But the gas mileage improvement was huge, about 20 percent and, if I extrapolated it out, would say me about $60 a month based on the miles I drive and today’s gas prices.
The biggest argument I hear against driving slow-60 mph-is that cars nowadays drive so smooth at 80 mph, and mine certainly does. Funny thing though, it drives just as smooth at 60 mph. The reason I find myself driving 80 mph is that I simply get in the left lane and drive with the flow of the traffic-which often brings me into the 85 mph range before I even notice. So if the flow of the traffic was slower, I would automatically be driving slower. But the flow is still at 80 mph and therefore I had to move over to the right lanes and use my cruise control to stop my foot from joining in pack. (Maybe it should be called “speed control” instead of cruise control.)
Another major argument against driving slower is that it will take us longer to get where we need to be…and we are that kind of society aren’t we? No doubt it took me longer to get to where I needed to be, but I honestly can say that it did not take much longer driving in the low 60’s mph than it did driving in the low 80’s. The answer to that puzzling logic is quite simple. Most of my driving was during rush hours when I tended to be either driving 80 or 20 mph or not moving at all. When I was driving 60, cars that passed me 10 minutes earlier had to stop like me at the bottle necks and were probably one mile ahead of me. So when the flow of traffic hit 60 mph, I was only a minute behind them-kind of like getting a yellow flag in car racing, which gives the slower cars a chance to catch up to the leaders. Everyday my commute time varies based on all the ugly factors that many of us are aware of. So I did not notice any big difference in the time of my commute and for a couple of days, I think there was no difference at all.
As for the exact results: Given roughly the same driving ratio of city vs. highway (about 90 percent highway), I would average about 24/25 miles per gallon on my mid-size 4-cylinder car driving like “most people”. Under the similar conditions, I averaged an eye popping 30 miles per gallon while driving between 60 to 65 mpg. That is one mpg HIGHER than the estimated mpg on the sticker when I bought the car!
So I “saved” about 2 gallons per fill up (normally I filled up every 340 miles and today I actually put 13 gallons in after driving 400 miles on one tank). I normally fill up twice a week and at 3.65 a gallon (so far), I “saved” about $7 a fill-up or about 56 bucks a month, _which I’ll save up to pay to heat my house next year-snark).
But I do not advocate rolling back the speed limit to 55, even though we could save an estimated 1 BILLION barrels of oil a year, which would end our dependency on Middle East oil.
Laws can not legislate commonsense. Despite all the moaning and groaning about the cost of gas, it’s not hurting us enough to drive a little slower and improve out “bang for the buck” by 15-20, even 25% of the current cost of gasoline. I certainly realized this as mega-SUV’s zoomed past me heading to their next $100 fill up. I guess it will have to hurt a lot more before people stop whining about the price of gas and actually do something to alleviate it. Also, watching all these 8 cylinders race past me confirmed why we should not be rolling back any state of federal gas taxes. Clearly if people won’t save themselves 70 or 80 cents per galloon by driving a little slower, they have not demonstrated any need to save 18 cents or 50 cents per galloon by rolling back the gas taxes.