Thursday, September 4, 2008

Problems with Road Rage? You Pay More At The Pump!

Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a big tv watcher. Frugal Dad wrote an article called 10 Truths About Frugal Living that I liked. I agreed with several of his points, this one in particular:

Frugal people don’t watch a lot of television. Strange, but true. We just aren’t big television viewers. Don’t ask us who won American Idol last season, or who got kicked off the island, because we don’t have a clue. Most television shows today are overly sensationalized dramas depicting people living lives free of any responsibilities. The shows are full of plugs for things we don’t really need and have a way of making us more materialistic that we would be without seeing everyone else doing so well.
But there are a few shows I like, things I will watch if I just happen to be in one of those rare moods where I turn on the tv. One of those shows is Mythbusters. For anyone who hasn't seen it the basic premise is that they take a myth or an urban legend and try to prove whether it is true or false. I recently caught an episode about fuel economy and road rage. The idea, which they were able to prove, was that driving angry can increase your fuel mileage significantly - one of their angry drivers used a third more gasoline!

So, how does that apply here?

Well, in addition to trying to come up with nine hundred dollars each month, I am also actively trying to save money. I wrote a few times about gas prices and taking the roads less traveled. I have found that taking a more direct route, which forces me to drive slower (lower speed limits than the expressway) and look at the countryside rather than e-way cement and steel, has increased my gas mileage. The thing is, I can't prove it. It just "feels" that way. The time between tanks has been longer - the amount I am spending is less, but I don't have any hard numbers. Then I saw a nifty post by Christian PF which not only showed not to calculate mileage but also had links to some rather cool tools for doing so. I am thinking of tracking my fuel usage to see if my gut feeling is right. If I want to use the web site to track it all I need to do is remember to jot down the odometer reading on my gas receipts - that's not so hard!

My hypothesis is that driving busy expressways and highways makes me stressed. In addition, while the expressway route is faster, it has more mileage and I drive faster. My leisurely country roads, however, make me more calm, cover less miles and I go slower - even if it does tack on an extra 8 minutes to my drive. I may have to do a couple of test scenarios - a couple tanks the old fast and furious way and a few tanks slow and careful. I have a fairly full tank right now, but we'll see how we do over the next couple of months.

Fuel Up Your Reading on These:

10 Truths About Frugal Living

Christian PF - How to Calculate MPG

Mythbusters - Don't Drive Angry

eZine Articles - Are You Powerless? Road Rage - Find the Way Out

How to Save Gas Money Going to Work.

Passive Family Income - Gas Prices, How They Have Affected Me

Another great photo by Big Grey Mare

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