Thursday, January 12, 2012

Frugal and Gas Mileage

It was New Year's Eve and we had just taken the kids to see the Fantasy In Lights display in Madison, a very low cost way to say good-bye to 2011.  On the way home we stopped for gas.  As usual my husband hopped back in the car, pulled out his phone and calculated the gas mileage.

"Hmm, you got 27.5 miles to the gallon" he said with a twinge of annoyance.

"Is that a bad thing?" I responded.

"No.  I got 26.3 in my car...have you been hypermiling again?"

"Of course -- I'm trying to save money and resources".

"'re better than me at this".

For an engineer I think that was difficult for him to admit.  And I'm certain that he is hard at work trying to get better gas mileage in his Mazda.  If you are trying to live a frugal life, then I'd urge you to monitor your gas mileage (assuming you drive a car).  Math is not my passion, so I don't really watch this as closely as my husband, but I hope to in the year ahead.  If you've never done this before, here are a few tips on how to calculate gas mileage:

  • fill up your gas tank;
  • set the trip odometer to zero;
  • drive as usual;
  • when it is time for gas fill up, writing down both the gallons put into the car as well as the miles you recorded (the back of the receipt is ideal).
  • set the trip odometer to zero again;
  • then do the math -- divide the miles by the gallons.
Why bother with the math?  Personally, I find that monitoring numbers, data, etc. helps motivate me to be more efficient, more frugal, etc.  It can also help you detect if you need to add air to your tires, get a tune up,  and other routine maintenance.  If you are competitive it is great feedback.  

As for my "hypermiling", check out tomorrow's post for that story.

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