Friday, September 30, 2011

Update on the Corolla Duct Tape Experiment!

I am about halfway through the first tank of gas in the "cover the holes in the bumper with duct tape to see if it improves mileage" experiment.

So far, there are indications that there is indeed some improvement to my fuel economy.

Normally, when the fuel gauge gets down to the halfway mark, is I have gone 250 miles, it's probably going to be a pretty good mileage number when I get to the refueling point.

Yesterday, the fuel gauge got to the midpoint, and when I checked I had driven 262 miles, about 4.8% farther! Of course, there are all sorts of variables at work here: was the needle really in the middle of the tank? Was it moments before adjusting down again? Was it because I drafted behind a tractor trailer on my way home two days ago?

Clearly, the experiment must go on for more than one tank. I have behaved somewhat erratically so far on this first experimental tank of gas, as truly I did draft behind a tractor trailer going home on Wednesday- but I was going much faster than I would have ordinarily driven (~70-75 miles per hour) in order to maintain the draft. And yesterday on my way home, I did several jackrabbit starts to try to beat other cars to the next intersection (hey, I felt that I was in a hurry and thus more important than everyone else!).

So, overall, my driving habits so far for this tank aren't really representative of my overall driving style. Well, that may be a lie. I frequently have one or two spasms each tank where I floor it for no good reason.

But the experiment will proceed. I am curious to discover if this "4.8%" increased distance on half a tank will equate to a "4.8%" increase in overall fuel economy. I don't think there's a correlation that strong, but if there is, my mileage may be pushing 40 mpg on a regular basis, rather than the normal 37.5-38 mpg.

Time will tell.

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