Wednesday, 1 July 2009


I’m like a kid with a new piggy bank – counting has become a marvel to me. In this case I’m counting miles to the gallon. Well, actually miles to the litre, or converting between the two. OK – maybe the similarities between me and a kiddy’s piggy bank are a bit limited.

Anyway – the latest tankful got 39.5 mpg – 3.5 mpg better than last time. In other words I drove almost 30 miles for free – the equivalent of almost two days to work and back. Not bad considering I didn’t have to rob a petrol station or even a bank to do it. I just had to drive a little slower and brake a little less often. Even though I rant about inconsistencies in units of measure, I think this little experiment is showing one thing: I can teach myself to drive more economically. And save money. And the planet. And ignore other road users who want to overtake me on narrow country lanes. Hey – we all have to make sacrifices to go green.

This has probably been my most successful experiment in the living data-centrically month. It’s pretty simple, but has also been very effective. As we all know round numbers have a power over us that we cannot control, so my next target is to get over 40mpg out of my little car. We shall see.

I’m also noticing a complete change in my attitudes to cars and driving. Whereas before I couldn’t comprehend anyone who didn’t tear around like a Bat Out of Hell, now I let them overtake me without even a hint of irritation. Quite a change. And safer too.

So if a dyed-in-the-wool girl racer like me can do it, imagine how much CO2 we would save if everyone took their foot off the accelerator, and the brake, a little more often. Imagine calmer, safer roads, with less CO2 being emitted. Imagine … (fades out to the lyrics of John Lennon)

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