Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Earth, Sorry I Drove To Work, Love Yelena

There were no parking places, I didn't want to miss my train, and 1010WINS said traffic was smooth sailing.

In retrospect I should have taken the next train as I had to make a special trip to the bank to get a roll of quarters and I will now be getting up every 50 minutes to re-feed the meter (I searched for quite some time, there were no spaces and I think I might rather give 10 bucks to the city in quarters rather than 40 bucks to a garage).

But perhaps the earth should thank me.

I took a small road trip with my brother and some friends over the weekend and was able to fill my gas tank for the first full time. It was embarrassing. Driving to and from the train station, the Whole Foods, and other assorted in-town travels net me approximately 19 mpg. In my tiny adorable Jetta that gets such good mileage. It is true, I really shift past third gear (though I might change that now), but 19 miles? I was a little crushed. After two days of highway driving however, not including this morning's foray into Manhattan, and I'm averaging, this is not a joke, 49.65 mpg. According to the fuel gauge, I would be able to drive 720 highway miles on one tank of gas. I don't quite know how this would be possible, and since, with the 2/3 of a tank I have left I'll be back to local driving, the theory will remain, temporarily, untestable, but wow!

Reviewing my driving, I don't think I did anything especially efficient - or anything intentionally efficient. Driving in the rain I used the wipers, had the air on occasionally, had the GPS plugged in, and went between 65-70 mph in mostly 5th gear, downshifting from time to time to pass, etc. Yet, at 3/4 of a tank I had gone 180 miles.

Devoted partner drives his car in a way I've always found strange: he'll stay in 5th gear until it's physically impossible not to. It's hard to tell if this has any positive effect since devoted partner's car is not in tip-top shape, but he says he does it to conserve fuel. I drive completely differently and match the driving to the gear. But now I'm questioning my strategy and considering asking the internet its opinion, even though driving 25 miles an hour in 5th gear feels really really lame. I just don't want to be wasteful.

Except, tangentially, I've noticed that now that I use the reusable shopping bags, I have no plastic bags I can use for trash. Is the solution to buy plastic trash bags? That seems wasteful also. And the paper bag I'm using for kitchen garbage right now is definitely the grossest option. Does anyone else have this problem? What did you do? Oh, and do you know if the driving the car in 5th gear all the time thing works?

Feh, must feed meter.

1 comment:

  1. Driving in 5th at above 40-50 mph does generally save gas, but reduces your control (which I would imagine is why you'd drive a standard in the first place) and ends up being harder on your brakes.