Increase gas mileage = fish more!

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Posted by Kerry Grissett on September 14, 2005 at 20:42:37:

I know this isn't really a fishing related post. Well, it isn't directly related to fishing, or is it?

With the price of gas going up so high and having to drive over 100 miles a day, I started looking for ways to lower my cost. One thought was to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, but that seemed like a big trade off since it would take several years even at $3 a gallon to recoup the cost of even a cheap car with gas savings.

So, I thought I would give slowing down a try. My 1991 Nissan Pathfinder was getting 17 to 18 miles a gallon driving fast (yes I was speeding a lot) to make the commute shorter. I started driving 50 mph, anticipating stops, accelerating slowly and smoothly, coasting down hills, etc. I already kept my tires at optimum inflation and checked them on a regular (daily/weekly) basis.

MPG improved from 17-18 mpg to 25 mpg (a 39-47% increase) and saved me about $100+/- a month depending on gas prices.

Alex tried the same thing with his Ford F-150 and went from about 14 mpg to 25+ mpg, a whopping 78-82% increase! I am jealous as his truck is larger and has a bigger motor, yet got a bigger improvement in mpg by percentage.

I am not saying that everyone will gain as much improvement in mpg as we did because your present driving style and speed have a lot to do with the percentage of improvement you will see. Also, 50 mph may not be the best speed for your vehicle to optimize mpg.

My "theory" (for automatic transmissions) is to find out the slowest speed at which your vehicle will shift into over-drive or the highest gear. Now find the speed at which you can maintain speed without having the transmission shifting often into a lower gear. Also, remember that as you gain speed, especially over 50 or 55 mph, your wind resistance will go up exponentially and lower your mpg.

For manual transmissions, find the speed at which your engine does not "lug" in the highest gear nor force you to have to shift down frequently for hills. For both transmissions, your route may encounter hills which require a shift down. My route is relatively flat, thankfully.

Cruise control can be helpful to some folks, especially if you have trouble maintaining a consistent speed without it, but if your cc is like mine, I still have to anticipate some smaller hills and put my foot on the accelerator slightly before I get to the hill or the truck will shift to a lower gear. I simply have a pitiful cruise control. (smile)

I won't even mention the savings you will get from improved tire wear, longer brake life, etc.

Ok, how does this relate to fishing? With the savings you can achieve from slowing down, you might have more money/gas to go fishing.

Good luck and good fishin'



There was a cost to this slowing down. I have to leave about 20 minutes earlier than I used to for the 50+ miles to work. However, I am much more relaxed during the drive.

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