"No, it's Bad on Gas"

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by lamebums, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    So, yeah, I figured I'd introduce myself here... the thread title is basically the story of my driving life.

    When I was a little kid, I'd always seen $1 a gallon of gas, and I figured, well, when I start driving, it's money I need to drive, but no big problem...right? Well, $1 became $3.15 and suddenly it's a big obstacle to driving places.

    The bottom line basically became "No, it's Bad on Gas" whenever people wanted me to do something, drive somewhere, or...you get the idea.

    Ever since I started paying for my gas, I started adopting these tactics:

    Driving slower - I rarely go more than 60, usually to the sound of my buddies griping and saying "Pick up the pace"
    Turning the car off downhill - with hills like these, that's just begging me to get some unbelievable gas mileage. The only problem is when I have to drive back up that hill...that hurts.
    I don't take off like a jackrabbit, I coast as long as possible (I hate braking), and I stick it in neutral whenever possible (I drive a five speed).
    In the rain I'll drive on the right line to stay out of the grooves.
    I don't turn the A/C on, run the fans, or burn headlights unless absolutely necessary. In fact I'm usually one of the last cars on the road to turn my headlights on... my night vision isn't bad, anyway.
    I have a golf bag - but you can bet it's only in the trunk when I'm actually headed to/from the golf course. Same with all other junk. If it's not important, it's not in the car.
    And, I regularly clean out the fuel injectors to maximize mileage.

    I'm notorious among my friends for trying to find way to get better gas mileage, and I will deliberately avoid situations where I have to floor it.

    Unfortunately, my daily commute is almost entirely driving on hills like the one I posted. The best I get is mid 30's (although driving on I-71 between Cincinnati and Columbus, I got 47 miles to the gallon...) because of those **** hills, and cold starts aren't helping either.

    I figure: what can I do to get that higher? (I drive a 2000 Toyota Echo, five speed, everything's stock, though.)

    I hate driving back up that hill. Imagine doing it for 15 minutes, up and down, up and down, the entire way. Yeah.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
  2. Skwyre7

    Skwyre7 Well-Known Member

    Welcome! You're in good company here. I've got a couple of thoughts. On the headlight issue, it's my opinion that headlights aren't always for your vision assistance, but for other drivers assistance in seeing you. Regarding those hills, try DWL. Don't forget to pump up your tires to the max sidewall pressure, if you haven't already. That will give you a nice little mileage bump. ;)

    Kudos for not letting your friends affect your driving style! And again, welcome.

    HCHCIN Well-Known Member


    Welcome from a fellow Tri-Stater, just seven exits up 71 from the river! Whenever I round the bend and come down that hill from being out of town, I know I'm home.

    If only the readership of this website understood the true power of that hill you're showing. I think it's a steady five mile climb from the river valley to a plateau, in nutty traffic, accelerating from 55 at the river to 65+ at the top. Another bad one is the climb from the river up 71 to Cross County. Kills my state-of-charge and FE every time.

    Skywyre mentioned Driving With Load (DWL), which means to lock in your instantaneous FE (or foot position, if you don't have an FE meter) for the length of the hill -- you'll slow as you climb, and speed up going down the other side. It's very hard to do on long hills, especially on the interstate when you want to avoid impeding other drivers. Works really well on smaller hills. Practice makes perfect.

    Pump up the tires and invest in a Scangauge-II. There might still be a group-buy going on around here somewhere. Check the SG-II area of the forums.

    Just remember -- in hypermiling, as in life, for every uphill there is a downhill...
  4. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    welcome! and congrats to you for sticking up for yourself, even with pressure from friends. i get the same stuff from my hubby, who says i drive too slow.

    that hill looks like a killer. duluth, minnesota has an entrance like that, and i always dread getting out of there when i visit that area.

    one more thing that might help is an engine block heater, and not so much for helping the car start, as most people think, but starting out with warm fluids in the system. it's made a big difference in my drive to work.
  5. xcel

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

    Hi Lamebums:

    ___Welcome to CleanMPG and you are in good company. A 2000 Echo w/ a stick? Oh what a wonderful hypermiling vehicle and when you have completed the Hypermiling Boot camp, 47 will be your new floor, not your personal best ;) With a little DWB and some P&G thrown in, I think we can say you will have your friends impressed with all the G’s heading their way ;)

    ___Do press up your tires to at least max sidewall and on the next change, some Mobil1 synthetic would be nice for your ride too. Read the articles and with a little practice, oh boy are you going to have fun rising to the top of the heap in short order. I sure wish I had a 2000 Echo with a stick to play around with for a few days :D

    ___Good Luck

  6. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    Wayne, I should bring you my wife's Echo to see what you can do with it - I know she used to average 44-45 mpg when she first got it on a 30mi all interstate commute! I'm sure she stayed @ the speed limit, 70.

    I'm quite sure it's capable of 55-60+ with some practice and hard work!
  7. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    With hills that long (That is actually a picture of I-71/75, but I-275, which I commute on, is the same, except up, down, up down...), I actually put it in neutral. The engine burns roughly .4 gallons per hour while in neutral, so at 60mph, that's roughly, what, 140 mpg's... Sometimes when I'm feeling risky I'll turn the car off altogether, and then pop the clutch to get it started at the bottom of the hill. I'm paranoid about my battery so I won't do it at night, but meh...

    I'm putting a scangauge in the pipeline. I have some Christmas money that still hasn't arrived so... I'll work on that.

    The tires - I've been meaning to check the pressure, but I'm going to inflate them as far as I can get away with (a buddy of mine over-inflated a cheap Hankook tire, and he had a blowout... lucky he was going 55 and not 80 like everyone else...) Unfortunately, it's impossible to hypermile in a Cressida...but that's another story for another day.

    I actually don't drive on this hill very often - I drive on I-275 between the 75 interchange in Erlanger and Fort Thomas, which, unfortunately, is worse. Same hills, 2+ miles in length each time, except the flow of traffic is easily doing 75-80.

    Eh, what articles? You're going to have to point me in the right direction (I may find it by the time you read this but yeah...)

    Heh...give a Prius for it's money. I'd be impressed.

    See, theres 'another buddy of mine who drives a Cressida (two buddies have them, one an 89 and the other, a 91, but same generation and same ****ty gas mileage). Both are cheap bastards, one is just cheap and usually has his gas light on but drives 80 and then complains about gas, the other actually attempts to hypermile but only gets about 26-ish. Thing is, I'm going to laugh at the former's reaction when I say "60 miles to the gallon"... :D
  8. johnf514

    johnf514 Zoom? Try Glide!

    Welcome to the site, Lameburns! :D

    Here are our "articles" --> Clicky!
  9. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    I just started using fas, so far it seems to be pretty easy to do, but I don't get to more than 50 mph on my commute. Just like you i'm worried about doing it at night, so I only do it for a little ways and then pop start to get the lights back up to full power.
  10. desdemona

    desdemona Well-Known Member

    Actually take out the twisties in the road and it looks a bit like Albuquerque. Though I tend to have a pretty set of coasts going to work and then a bunch of DWLs going home. I have gotten as much as 56 mpg but then paid for it in spades going home!!

    I don't think the headlights are so much for you. I am not a headlight during the day person (except on a cloudy rainy day). But I wouldn't sacrifice your safety.

    OTOH, I don't do a lot of things now as it is "bad on gas". For instance, no more Starbucks. (I used to do this once a week.) I also try and get a bunch of chores together. It does wreck havoc for a day but isn't as hard on it in the long run.

    Oh and welcome to CleanMPG!!

  11. FocusGuy77

    FocusGuy77 Guy with Focus

    You need lights at the appropriate times so the dolts will see you. I stick to just parking lights in light rain and at twilight for as long as I can. Those bulbs are 15 watts/piece, I'm using 90 watts then. Headlights add 50 or 55 watts each, thereby more than doubling the electric load. Also, when I turn my key back to IG-1 for a coasting FAS, my headlights cut out anyway, and I don't want to confuse those around me with flashing headlights. If a cop saw that, he might pull me over for warning drivers of a cop's presence! (Yes, that's illegal) No thanks.
  12. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    gaw 50-55. No wonder my battery is draining. I wonder what the taillights take, I can probably switch some of them to led, but I have no idea what to do about the headlights.
  13. Daox

    Daox Well-Known Member

    Here is a pic out of a 1996 Tercel's service manual. It shows the wattage of the different lights. I'd have to say that most cars have comparable numbers as lights are... well, just lights. As you can see, headlights are the huge ones. Everything else is pretty small or not used much.

  14. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles


    What the hills take. they return in spades. :)
  15. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    Yeah, that would make sense. I've killed enough batteries in my lifetime (one was enough) to ever let it even chance of happening again.

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