Versa 1.6 from CT

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by robj80, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    Hello I'm Rob. I have been lurking this forum for a long time. I never bothered to register before but I have been looking into getting a scan gauge so decided to register and contribute what I can in hope of adding something to this forum and finding a good deal on the scan gauge.

    I recently bought a Versa 1.6. It has AC, ABS, and I added a radio. This has been one of the greatest and wisest purchases in my life thus far. I am coming from an infiniti g20 that I turbo charged. I was getting good MPG from that if I stayed very light on the throttle. But average was 28mpg in the summer (high of 34 once) and 25 or so in the winter. Gas in my area went up to $4.75 at one point and ironically that year I put 40k miles on the car. It was an expensive year for me. The Versa now has 26k miles, has never gotten less then 34mpg (even this winter) and has a record high of just shy of 42mpg. The insurance is cheaper then my infiniti too so this car is paying for itself. I drive rather quickly too with the AC compressor running constantly either because AC or defrost is on. I wonder what this car could do in the hands of an experienced gas sipper pilot.

    If you haven't noticed by above I drive alot. I live 39 miles away from work and half the week I need to start my commute by driving 5 miles in the wrong direction to drop my daughter off at daycare. I average 100 miles of driving a day. So as you can see mpgs are important to me. I do care about the environment and I care about my wallet too. There are reasons I live so far from work that if you're really interested I can PM you about so please no one tell me to just move closer to work because it's not an option.

    So hello to you all!
  2. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Welcome to CleanMPG!
    If you have been lurking a while, you probably read "Beating the EPA". If you haven't read it recently, click here - - and read it.
    How far you can push the Versa 1.6 depends on which transmission you have.
    Here are the EPA numbers - published and unadjusted - for a Versa 1.6:
    4AT - 26 city / 33 hwy / 28 combined, unadjusted - 32.9 city / 46.5 hwy / 37.9 combined
    5MT - 26 city / 34 hwy / 29 combined, unadjusted - 33.1 city / 47.3 hwy / 38.3 combined
    Cars with manual transmissions have more flexibility in pushing fuel economy beyond the EPA numbers. The stick has the following advantages:
    - You can bump start and save wear & tear on the starter and battery
    - You can FAS (the AT in the Versa is not flat towable)
    - You can shift to any gear you want rather than fake-shifting an automatic and coaxing the computer to select the gear you really want.

    If the 34mpg you mentioned above includes any city driving at all, then you are already beating the EPA. The SG will enable further refinement of techniques and the fuel savings will pay for the SG just as the lower insurance and fuel costs are paying for the Versa. Congratulations on your acheivements and welcome to the group.
  3. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Welcome, Rob. A good hypermiler can get 150-175% of EPA combined mileage out of most cars, so that's about a 57 mpg target for your Versa. Certainly you should be able to exceed your EPA highway estimate mpg on a regular basis.

    The secret is to slow down. My Sentra SE-R gets 26 mpg on 400 mile highway trips to SoCal at 72 mph. It gets 33-34 mpg at 62 mph, and 38 mpg at 55 mph.
  4. Chalupa102

    Chalupa102 Cycling more to drive less

    Welcome to the forums, Rob. You will definitely learn a lot here. Where are you at in CT? I live about 10min from the CT border.
  5. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    thanks for the info. But what do unadjusted numbers mean? I drive a 5mt and the 34 is mixed driving.

    I definitely need to slow down if I want really good FE. I average 75mph on the highway and find myself cruising at 80 often. This is usually in the slow lane as people are always riding my tail when I go under 80.

    Hope to learn alot. I'm not trying to break any records. Just want to keep up my good FE and save a few pennies on gas. I live just south of Hartford but I work all the way down by LI sound.
  6. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    If you slow down you'll save much more than a few pennies. I used to drive my MT Subaru at 75-80mph and got 24mpg. Slowing to 50-60 and using P&G yields 34-35mpg on highway trips.

    Airing up the tires to the sidewall max rating will also help.

    I live in eastern CT and have been going 50-60mph in the Subaru and around 50mph in the Insight-I for the past 3 years, no problems. On I-95, I-90, I-91, I-84, SR9, and I-395. When traffic is heavy, clustering slows it down; in light traffic they have lots of room to switch lanes and go by. I stay in the right lane, moving to the right side of it when traffic comes up from astern (ridge riding), and use hazard flashers for semis (and occasionally for a straight truck or car that seems clueless), when they are way behind me so they have a chance to switch lanes.

    I get far less fuss from other traffic than I expected. Others have suggested that it's much harder for traffic to get by someone going just a few mph slower than they are than it is to get by someone going say 55mph. Or that they can't be bothered to stick around and mess with you.

    Takes a while to get used to going slower. And to get used to keeping track of traffic astern. When doing P&G, it helps to try to time your pulses so that you are at the end of a pulse (top speed in your range) as a pack of traffic comes up to you, and maybe to adjust your minimum speed upwards (say to 55mph rather than 50mph) when traffic is behind you. When nobody is behind you, you're free to do whatever you want.

    BTW, legal minimum on 65mph highways in CT is 40mph, so 50-60mph is perfectly legal in a 65mph zone. AFAIK there is no minimum in 55mph zones in CT.
  7. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    I only drive route 15 and only at peak hours. The speed limit is actually 55 and there is a 40mph minimum per the signs. I should be able to get much better MPG's by driving slower but actually did no higher then 60 for one tank and did not see a difference. I know I am a fool for just doing one tank as there are so many other variable. I should have stuck with it to get true mileage. Ironically my worst tank of 34mpg was 100% highway. I think this car is a true oddity. It doesn't seem to follow any of the rules for good FE. Though that 100% highway trip was with luggage another adult, a baby and some luggage. So that is probably why. This car does not like hills. This trip was through the mountains of PA.

    I do not P&G, and I can not drive at the lower end of the speed limits. I can't bring myself to do it for one thing and another is my departure times and arrival times are crucial for me. I have everything down to the minute. I leave my house at 7:30, get to day care at 7:40, on my way to work at 7:50, hit west rock tunnel by 8:10 (this is how I know if I'm running late), then work by 8:30. Changing from 75 down to 60 would ad 2 hours and 10 minutes to my weekly time behind the wheel. Over a year that is 112 hours and 40 minutes. My numbers are not 100% because it doesn't take into account traffic, side trips, vacation days etc. . .

    I know everyone is going to say "get up earlier", or "move closer to work". Moving is not an option since I am upside down on a mortgage due to the economy and getting up early is very difficult with a 4 year old who thinks she is a teenager and doesn't like to get out of bed. And no there isn't a mom there to assist in the morning. But a few mornings she is with her mother and those days I do tend to drive a bit slower.

    Maybe being a member here I can learn to drive slower, rearrange my time, but for right now it seems impossible. But that is another reason I joined, I need help and admitting it is the first step :)
  8. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Maybe this will help you - Words of wisdom.

    "(O)ver a 10 mile commute, you will waste 25% more gas (which also means you spend 25% more money), and increase your risk of death by 160%, all to save 2 minutes."
  9. Gairwyn

    Gairwyn think green

    "...Changing from 75 down to 60 would ad 2 hours and 10 minutes to my weekly time behind the wheel."

    Conversely, you can think of it this way: 2 hrs & 10 minutes=130 minutes. I assume you work 5 days/wk, so 130 divided by 5=26 minutes per day Divide that by 2= 13 minutes extra each way. It might not be impossible to figure out a way to provide yourself with an extra 13-15 minutes for your ride.

    I frequently visit my family just south of Hartford. I always take Route 15 and the Berlin Turnpike. My trip from Stratford to Newington always takes less than an hour traveling between 55-58 on Route 15 and going no faster than 50 mph on the turnpike where the limit is 50 (an older portion of route 15 that has several stoplights).

    A few nights ago there was an accident in the West Rock tunnel. Thank goodness it didn't look too bad. They probably weren't speeding too much. If they had been, it might have been much worse.

    I hope you can find a way to try driving slower. If not for the sake of improving your mpg's, for safety's sake. You have a little one who depends on you for a lot more than just getting her to places on time.
    Good luck.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  10. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    EPA Unadjusted numbers are what they actually measure on the dynamometer when they test the cars. Those numbers are adjusted down to the published numbers you see on the window sticker. When the lower 2008 EPA numbers were introduced, the lower numbers represented a new formula applied to the same numbers they measured. And the lower numbers represent how too many cars are used today - higher speeds, air conditioning use, and prolonged idling and slow traffic. I use the unadajusted numbers as a goal and then try to beat those numbers. Even my brother with his 2008 HHR is beating the unadjusted EPA numbers at times, using the instant MPG gage in the dash cluster to fine tune the pedal position to seek out hang time and shoot for 50mpg on highway stretches. I suggested he call it "50 at 50" (mpg at mph) and keep that as his goal, although it's tough to reach and maintain it. You mentioned that you are not trying to break any records, but rather save on fuel consts. That is a good approach because fierce competition and focus on breaking records will lead to frustration and surrender when you can't break the next record. Slow and steady wins the race, as you master the various techniques and allow them to become part of your "normal driving". That is what my brother does - shoots for 50mpg but takes the 42-46mpg that results. Much better than the 30 on the sticker!
  11. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    Good read. I understand the risk and percentage of driving a few mph faster. As far as gas saving go any an all will be wiped out money wise for being late to work or having to pay extra because I am late to pick up my daughter. I should definitely be slowing down. I'm sure the encouragement I get here will assist.

    I know the accident you are talking about and I had to change my route home that day to avoid it. Also thanks for showing concern for the safety of my daughter. It's funny to be instructed to slow down as I am the guy in the right lane going a steady 75mph usually that gets honked at and flashed. I must not be driving on the same roads at the same time as you people :). On route 15 I get over when an on ramp comes due to the way it's contructed. When I do that I get yelled at and honked at every morning. I really am the slowest on the road during my commute. Or at least it seems that way.

    Than you for informing me of this. Where can I go so see the unadjusted numbers for multiple vehicles?
  12. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    In this thread - - and open the link "2010 EPA and CAFÉ Fuel Economy Datafile".
    I saved the spreadsheet and sorted it by manufacturer/model for easy reference.

    This spreadsheet explains why so many economy cars of the late '70s and early '80s were rated at around 40mpg highway while that number is so elusive today. My Chevy (3500lbs, 3.5L V6 and 4AT) has unadjusted numbers of 24 city / 41 highway. The equivalent 30 year old midsize GM car - the infamous 1980 Chevy Citation - was rated at 24 city / 38 highway (2700lbs, 2.5L Iron Duck and 4MT). The closest modern match to the original Citation (similar weight, engine size and MT) would be a Cobalt XFE, and it's listed at 33/52 unadjusted. Today's cars really do have better fuel economy, but the numbers on the sticker are now more representative of what the average driver will measure.
  13. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    This may also help:
    Do you actually step into the car, instantly go 75mph to your destination, immediately stop, and step out?? Of course not:
    (a) there are slower segments at both ends which drag down your average speed
    (b) when we think we are going 75mph we actually are not averaging 75mph because we have to slow down frequently for bunches of traffic - I used to drive at 75-80 and could never understand why even on long highway segments I never averaged above 65mph - now I realize that people who accelerate to 75-80mph are unaware when their speed drops (because they are watching traffic, not the speedo!), whereas at 50mph one slows much less frequently and so maintains an average much closer to 50.

    The net result of this is that slowing down won't affect your travel times as much as you think it will based on calculations of 75mph vs 55mph over the distance of your commute.

    Maybe be scientific about it and actually time your commute driving as you currently do and again at a slower speed?? The difference may be a lot smaller than you think. When I commuted 38miles Essex-New Haven, slowing to 50mph cost me only about 5 minutes each way.

    Are you really seeing consistent speeds of 80mph on route 15 during regular commuting hours?? FWIW, I've been driving in CT for 40 years, frequently on route 15 (Merritt Parkway/Wilbur Cross Parkway/Berlin Turnpike) commuting from Westport and Fairfield to New Haven plus many many trips/errands south to NYC or north. Traffic on it is heavy even at non-peak hours, and between that and its twisty narrow roadway STM most traffic on it moves at more like 65mph. I have absolutely no problem doing 50mph on it. At typical commuting hours the flow on SR15 is so heavy it is frequently far slower or even stop and go.

    I'm away until mid-March but would be happy to drive your commute at 50mph with you then if you like. The steepness of the hills on SR15 does make getting good FE more challenging than the gentler hills on I-95.

    I'll also echo the comments above. Traffic engineers assigned a 55mph max limit to SR15 for good safety reasons (that's their job). Since energy goes as the square of the speed, at 75mph we have are carrying nearly twice the energy (86% more to be exact) that we have at 55mph. In an accident, that energy must be dissipated somehow - some of it through the occupants' bodies. Maybe you owe it to your daughter to ensure that you're alive and well to help her get a good start in life??
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  14. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    well aware of gaining speed and time to get to the highway and off the highway to my final destination. If you really want I will figure it down to the very minute but it is pointless. My job is less then one mile from the end of the highway and my house is 1 mile from the onramp. It differs the days I have to drop my daughter off. There really is no reason to get this technical especially just in my introduction thread. I clearly stated my times are not 100% accurate in my previous post. It was a general idea and me crunching the numbers quickly.

    There really isn't any twists and turns from middletown/meriden down to trumbull. I do agree with you it is narrow being only two lanes.

    I am not seeing consistent speeds of 80mph. People around me are going faster and some slower. I found that me going 75ish (added the ish so not to get too technical) in the right lane I do not have to regulate my speed as much. I don't have to slow down for the person in front of me nor do I have to speed up for anyone behind me. I know I don't have to speed up with them behind me but I like keeping safe distances around. I may pass someone going 50mph, hey that might have been you :), but for the most part I am being passed.

    You state you have no problem going 50 but I do. I have no intentions of going under the posted speedlimit and more so will stick with the flow of traffic and even be on the slower side. Which is the way I drive. Maybe it's the times we are on it and directions we are going but my commute seems to differ on average then what you are stating. Then again things do change on a daily and I'm trying to keep it to how I generally see my commute as opposed to getting into details of the flow of traffic on each given day.

    thanks again everyone. And I will state again I'm not trying to break any records. Just enjoying my fuel efficient vehicle and thought I found a forum with people who were the same way. But in no way am I out to set any records, extreme hypermile, or drastically change my driving style. Thank you once again for showing concern for my daughter and I hope not every reply will be having a reference to her.
  15. Gairwyn

    Gairwyn think green

    Maybe an easy way to achieve your goal is to do it incrementally. Instead of driving at 75, bring it down to 70, and see how that goes for you. If it's okay, then bring it down to 65, and see how that works.
  16. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    I second Gairwyn's suggestion. All of us have had trepidation initially about slowing down -- it is natural and definitely a scary thought to many of us at first. An incremental approach is an excellent way to test differences in attitude in the drivers around you, variations in time for your commute, and impact on fuel economy.

    We aren't going to insist that you go for every last inch available from every drop of fuel (though we'll be happy to show you how if you like ;)), but quite honestly the biggest impact in your fuel economy right now is that high speed. It is very difficult to do much about your consumption if you won't go slower. Even 5mph should make a very noticeably positive impact.

    Good luck and be sure to ask plenty of questions! You found the right place for answers -- use what you are comfortable with and remember to be patient as you try new techniques (they take practice).

    Welcome to the community; we are glad to have you. :)
  17. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Hard figure comparison of my family's 3 cars. The left hand highs are P&G results. The following dips are next-to-top-gear mileages. The next highs down to the right hands of the graphs are top gear mpg results at different cruise controlled speeds.
  18. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    You will all be happy to know I did drive slower today. Of course I was late to work.

    I think with a scan gauge and seeing the difference in MPG, as well as organizing my time better I will eventually be driving slower. Most likely not even realizing it as once the gauge is installed I will be paying more attention to the MPG instead of MPH.

    I really need to get a few tanks calculated at a slower mpg as that one tank I did driving slow I didn't get any better mileage has deterred me.

    You are all very informative. Thanks again.
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Robj80:

    ___I think I had better start giving you a wakeup call so you can leave 5-minutes earlier ;)

    ___All kidding aside, you are beginning a trek that will make you a more aware and safer driver for you and your family and it will hopefully last a lifetime! Congratulations on taking the first steps.

    ___Good Luck

  20. robj80

    robj80 traded HP for MPG's

    That would be nice :)! This last tank I decided to give the speed limit a try again. Last time I did this it did not get me positive results. This time I filled at the same pump and filled very slowly. I don't know the reason for that yet but I have read it several times to fill slow. I was able to get 37.9mpg. I did not exceed 65mph on this tank except for a couple of times because of a decline in the road. I am impressed with the results as I usually get a couple mpg less without thinking about how I'm driving.

    I have to say I have never been cut off and brake checked so many times in my life. For some reason going the speedlimit pisses people off. The aggressively pass me, cut right in front of me, then jab their brakes. It's a little scary to tell you the truth. It annoys my passengers too for some reason as they ask why I'm going so slow and such.

    You all are wearing me down and my driving is already adapting. It does take me a bit longer in my daily commute but I am going to try and balance everything. Thanks everyone and when I finally get the scan gauge I'm sure I will do even better. Also if I'm getting almost 38 in the winter then mid 40's in the summer should be a breeze. My goal is 45mpg without any advanced hypermiling techniques.

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