Friday, 29 May 2009

Data-centric driving


I spend more time in the car than I used to, and whilst petrol prices are down from their scary heights of last year, they are creeping up again. £1 per litre of unleaded is undoubtedly better than £1.20 of last July, but it is enough to think twice. So I am trying to reduce my petrol consumption by driving more economically. In particular:
  • Keeping tyres inflated correctly
  • Reducing braking
  • Keeping my speed down
I guess that rules out my usual driving style which would easily get me employed by one of the emergency services.

I am assured that driving at 60 mph is more economical than 70 mph, and 40 mph is more economical than 50 mph.

The crunch, though, is whether the risk of annoying every 4-wheel drive and bat-out-of-hell driver in the vicinity will get more miles out of my tank. Can I change my driving habits consistently enough to make a difference to the tiger in my tank? I am motivated more by curiosity and a growing concern for environmental issues than cost savings, but saving money is a welcome by-product.

I have to confess I started by forgetting to fill the car with petrol and therefore eking out the remainder of the tank to the local garage. But I found the driving experience unusually quietening. Speed restriction signs were welcome, and as I accelerated away more slowly than usual I reflected on how much money all the drivers behind me were saving. I’m not sure they saw it that way, but I believe everyone made it home without blowing too many fuses.

Next challenge: figuring out how those air pump things at garages work. Tomorrow, maybe …

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