Economy Drive

Journal

Economy Drive

By careful driving and not going anywhere at the weekends this month, I managed to string a tank of petrol out for nearly four weeks. That’s a whole 27 days of journeys to and from work, with the lunchtime trips to the tennis centre a couple of times weekly thrown in for good measure. I reckon I could have gotten another day out of it, too, but I’ve yet to endure the embarrassment of running out of fuel and it’s a streak I’d like to perpetuate.

After watching an episode of Top Gear where Clarkson managed to drive an Audi from London to Edinburgh and back on one tank of fuel, I thought I’d see if I could apply the same techniques and improve my mpg. Smooth acceleration and minimal use of the brakes are key, along with keeping the revs nice and low.

Our Honda Jazz has a ridiculously low first gear, which I imagine was designed for when the car is fully laiden. When there’s just me in it that low first gear gets you off from a standing start like a shot. I’ve burned RX 8’s, Porshe’s, you name it, off the line. Granted they usually fly past me once I go for second gear unless I let it rev pretty high in first, but it’s fun while it lasts!

Due to that, it’s quite hard to resist the temptation to blast away from the lights, squandering untold mpg in the process. A month or so ago I discovered that pushing the little knob on the speedometer cycles through the trip counter to a miles-per-gallon-o-meter, giving instant feedback on how my right foot is affecting my wallet. The challenge of keeping the number in the mid to high 40’s actually makes econical driving quite good fun, comparitively. I mean, if I had to wait until the fuel ran out and then check the trip counter to calculate how far I’d gone on one tank then that would be pretty dull. Watching it rise and fall as I drive gives instant feedback on how’s my driving?

This whole thing ties in quite nicely with Budget Month, which hasn’t really been as much of a challenge as first appeared. It has showed how needlessly extravagant we normally are, though – something we knew anyway, but in the final analysis I didn’t really miss a whole lot of the stuff we cut out this month. I’m taking the lessons learned from Budget Month (i.e. a new found appreciation for pasta) and, along with my economy driving, hopefully we can cut down on unnecessary waste and expense in future without really thinking about it.