Saturday, March 24, 2012

34 MPG in a Chevy Traverse

Okay, in all fairness I stacked the deck in my favor.  My commute to work includes a ten mile stretch of flat, slightly downhill highway.  Last week on my way to work, I set the cruise for 55 MPH to see what would happen.  At the halfway point I was up to 34 MPG.  By the time I exited the highway, my average increased to 34.7 MPG.

The Chevy Traverse is a 5,000 pound crossover, just over 17 feet long, that can tow it's own weight while carrying eight people.  The EPA fuel economy numbers are 16/24 for city and highway driving, which falls in the range of what we've been averaging.  It is no Prius.

But I was able to break into the low 30s on a flat road going just under the speed limit.  And it illustrates a point on how to get better fuel economy when gas prices skyrocket in the $4 range.  Drive slower.

For every 5 miles an hour slower you drive, you can increase your fuel economy 10-20%.  If gas is at $4 a gallon, that's like paying $3.60 or even $3.20 a gallon.  Speed junkie that I am, it's hard to do.  But the result is worth it, and unless I'm driving across country, it doesn't take more than a minute longer to get where I'm going.

The other way to save on gas is to drive less.  Combine trips, stick close to home, walk or bike more.  Instead of driving one place, going home, then driving somewhere else, plan errands that are in the same area.  No, you don't get better gas mileage, but you use less gas, which equates to the same thing.  Cutting your trips in half is like doubling your gas mileage.

Bottom line, you don't have to buy a hybrid or be a hyper-miler to save at the pump.