Thursday, June 28, 2007

To and From Work in a Minivan

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take our green minivan to work so it
could get two new tires. We're taking the green minivan on a road trip
over the upcoming long weekend, and one of the front tires was very bald
on the outsides.

I filled the tank with gas from Costco (less than 1.5 miles from my
home), and drove sensibly to work. The trip computer indicated 29.4 mpg
on the trip. There's another costco about 0.75 miles from my office, so
I drove it over there for the new tires and walked back to work as that
was in process.

My trip home was about normal for a Wednesday, taking 56 minutes.
During that time, the trip computer's average mpg went down from 29.4 to
24.6!

It appears that mileage is substantially lower on my trip home. This
must be due to the increased stop-and-go traffic on the Interstate. I
tried coasting as much as I could, and was gentle on the accelerator,
yet the mileage was nowhere near what it was on my trip in to work. It
must have been closer to 20 or 21 mpg to bring the average mileage down
by so much (using simple estimation that my commute to and from work is
about the same distance).

So the conclusion is that my behavior on my trip home is much more
important in maintaining decent fuel economy.

It is clearly critical to have a good view of the road, what's ahead of
you, and traffic conditions around you so that you don't waste precious
gasoline accellerating into a spot where you'll just slam on your
brakes!

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