Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tank 130 - 5 September 07

This morning I pumped in 11.550 gallons at my local Costco, after
driving 427.1 miles. This made for average fuel economy of "just" 36.98
mpg for this tank. A seemingly considerable letdown after my previous
tank where I achieved, on paper, fuel economy of 42.01 mpg.

Should I be saddened by this huge dropoff in fuel economy? I think not!
This is still higher than my overall mileage (since we bought the car),
and historically, me fuel economy is always lower the tank AFTER I
manage to get a high mileage number.

The big question is: how can I consistently achieve fuel economy numbers
that are higher than, say, 39 mpg? Conceivably, I drive about the same
way each time I am in the car. Really, this may not be so.

In addition to driving to and form work on the interstate, the Mighty
Corolla is also used around town on the weekends, usually in heavy
traffic with much idling and waiting around at stoplights and in slow
traffic. This has a sapping effect on fuel economy. If a tank of gas
stretches over two such weekends, I must make my commute that much more
efficient to make up for it.

Likewise, some trips home are in very heavy traffic which also messes up
my mileage number.

It seems that many factors are out of my control.

I don't have any data that tracks the number of weekends covered by a
particular tank of gas, but I suppose I can figure this out, since I
have the dates of every time I have ever put gas in the car, and can
easily figure out weekends if I put in a little time. But I am feeling
lazy right now and don't want to do that.

But I will continue to drive as smartly as possible, staying within the
reasonable flow of traffic on my journeys. It's important to not stick
out like the obvious grandma driver as to not impede traffic flow too
much-- I think that would mess things up more overall if I drove just to
look out for my own fuel economy numbers!

Last September, I had tanks ranging from 36 to 37.55 miles per gallon.
My goal is to beat that this year, and I am confident I can do that.

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