Seemingly hopeless commute..

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by dlister70, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. dlister70

    dlister70 Active Member

    I live roughly 1.5 miles from work, and during that short drive I have to stop at 6 stop signs. So the engine is cold, and there is only one stretch of .5 miles or less where I can coast. I do ok on longer drives, but the drive to work is dragging down my average mpg something fierce. :) Accelerating from all those stops is particularly fuel draining.

    There is an alternate route I could take that would make it more like 2 miles, but still has 5 stop signs.

    I'm not sure what I can do to squeeze more mpg out of this commute.. I've actually taken to driving my 2nd vehicle to work so I don't "ruin" the average on my new car, but that's kind of silly. I bought the new car to drive it.. :)

    The vehicle is a 2012 Mazda 3 Automatic with Skyactiv.
  2. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I don't have have too much advice for you except for the following:

    • Approach the stop signs slowly so you're at least only stopping once per stop sign.
    • Also get a block-heater installed on your car. That will decrease the warm-up time which will also decrease the fuel economy hit from the engine while it is warming up. At least on the drive to work you can have a warm engine from the start.
    • Fabricate a grill block, again to help the engine get up to operating temperature sooner.
    • Air the tires up to max sidewall pressure. I'd imagine you're probably already doing this.
    • I'll have to mention the "Ride a bicycle" suggestion, but you'd have to make that decision on your own.

    To decide if that alternate 2 mile route is worth it or not, you'd have to compare your fuel consumption on the 1.5 mile route to the 2.0 mile route. Don't compare the MPG, but look at how much fuel was actually consumed on the trip.

    On the plus side though, driving 3 miles a day, for 5 days a week is a whole 60 or so miles a month. I know even in my WRX I should be able to get at least 15mpg on that short trip. In other words, using 4 gallons of fuel a month for commuting ain't that bad, but it will have an effect on your overall fuel economy.
  3. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    Can you walk or cycle - it's only 1.5 miles ;)
  4. xcel

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

    Hi Dlister:

    That is a tough one and while you may be able to boost your FE by 20% on the commute, due to the short distance, it is not going to save you much.

    For example, let's say you are receiving 25 mpg on your commute today. 20 in mid-winter. At 60 miles per month, that is 3 gallons (at 20 mpg) or less. If you were to up that to let's say 35 mpg. That is 1.7 gallons with the difference costing you $5.20 per month. Fortunately that is not a lot to have to overcome.

    Every ounce of fuel and $ spent for it is precious so I would never give up but fortunately you are in a position that even if you just put the basics on the table, it is not a large burden on the world supply or your pocketbook.

    Justin's comment about gliding to a stop sign and attempting to do so as if nobody is in front to force a multiple stop/start is one of the best for the type of commute you are describing. A timer on a block heater would help as well but make sure its on a timer as you will be spending almost as much on electricity as you are on fuel per month just heating up some cold aluminum every morning.

    Do not shut your ICE off at any of the signs but maybe once during your commute at the light if you get caught behind a red will not hurt.

    I love the Mazda CX-5 but with your commute, that $17,500 after tax credit smart ED is what I would be considering for my next vehicle :)

  5. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    When I lived 1.5 miles from work, I usually cycled, but that was almost too short to bother with the bike, so some days I walked. On rainy or snowy days, a car went. After I changed jobs, moved, and lived 3.5 miles from work, I gave up walking.
  6. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Changing from driving to biking my 1.5 commute most days has upped my CRV mpg from the high teens to the mid 20s. But money savings, not so much. Still have to change oil annually, and now I have to get bike maintenance and buy lights and reflective gear.

    So, I bike commute for lots of reasons, including better mpg and gas savings, but it does not save money for me.
  7. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Don't worry about it. You already have a shorter commute and drive less and use gas than a heck of a lot of people. You need to look at the bigger picture and the MPG.
  8. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I would probably walk it unless it was mined or zombie-infested or something. 1.5 miles twice a day just sounds like good exercise.
  9. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    I'd second walking. I do three loops daily when I'm in the office that are at least 1.5 mile loops. Total time when moving fairly swiftly is about 22 minutes. It'd also boil down to about 200 calories, if you're of the health minded type ;).
  10. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    One more vote on walking or cycling.
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well, we don't know that their other driving is, but I do think that thanks to Big Pharma desire to exploit the aging population MB should change the Smart ED's name to Smart E or something.
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member


    This sort of post always brings out the Troll in me: yes, another vote for walking.

    My weekday walk to a commuter train is about 1.6 kilometers (about 5/8 of 1.5 miles). That takes me 15~20 minutes. You'd be looking at around 30 minutes for your walk. Look on it as an opportunity?
  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    It could be a high-crime area.

    Or it could be like the retail area one mile from me. Many of the businesses there are not accessible by sidewalk or marked paths. The main roads that cut through them don't have a single lit pedestrian crossing. Hell, the area has three hotels and obviously they don't expect people to want to walk from the hotels to retail. OK, it's not entirely surprising in a low-density area with freezing winters, of course, but annoying nonetheless.
  14. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    The mines would worry me ; zombies not so much. I deal with those guys every day.

    I'd vote for cycling, or possibly walking if there is snow or ice on the street. I used to have a 1.2 mile commute, and that's how I did it then.
  15. commuter

    commuter Member

    There are some environments which I would definitely NOT want to walk through. An armoured car would seem to be most appropriate. I am guessing that there are valid considerations behind using a car for a 1.5 mile commute. This particular commute sounds absolutely ideally suited to a small plug in electric vehicle.
  16. dlister70

    dlister70 Active Member

    Haha, I figured I might get a few "just walk" responses.. I guess I should have clarified that I leave for work at 4:45am most mornings, and in my neighborhood, that is no time to be walking. There aren't even street lights, let alone sidewalks, and I've seen the folks that are on the streets when I'm driving to work, and I don't have any desire to try to walk past them. :)

    Daytime walks I'm ok with, but if its dark, I'm driving.

    That being said, I tried to squeeze as much as I could out of the route (short of turning off the engine and coasting) and managed 25.6mpg from my driveway to the parking space at work for a distance of 1.6 miles. I agree with the above poster who rationalized that even if I could squeeze 35mpg out of the trip, the savings would be minimal given the distance. I guess it should be noted that I drive home for lunch everyday too.. so the distance is double per day.

    A plug in prius would have been an awesome commuter for me, but I couldn't get over how much more fun the mazda 3 skyactiv was to drive. :) 25.6mpg I can live with.. I'll balance it out with 40+mpg drives when I actually go any distance.

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