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Old 01-11-2010, 10:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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which is better route--short/slow or long/fast?

Had to go to a mall yesterday. Google maps gave two different possible routes--one was mostly via major highways, total 19 miles distance, takes ~30 minutes estimated driving time. The other was across towns, smaller roads, total 11.5 miles distance, takes ~30 minutes driving time.

Which route would use the least fuel if driving "normally" (since I didn't see all your hyper mile hints until today)? If driven hypermiling style? Does it matter what car/mpg etc one is driving? We're driving a manual transmission Toyota Matrix, mid-powered version (sorry forget which model that is).

I've tried to do a little research to figure this out but really couldn't get very far--are all cars really so much less efficient at lower speeds? How much gas is burned at idle?

If this is a common question, just point me to the previous thread, and thanks so much for your help!

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Old 01-11-2010, 10:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Forgot to add, sorry if this is in the wrong forum, I'm a newbie and this was my best guess.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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generally short and slow are both good formulas for saving gas. Of course it depends on course, driver, technique, vehicle.

Assuming a small stick shift, and patient technique I would take the shorter city route.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I can say with confidence that the shorter trip will take less fuel to get there for both a ecodriver and normal driver.

19 miles @ 28 mpg (the highway epa rating for the 2.4l engine) means .68 gallons used.

11.5 miles @ 21 mpg (the city epa rating for the 2.4l engine) means .54 galons used.

Now, if you are an ecodriver and use some of our techniques, you can EASILY beat 29 mpg in city driving. So, all roads lead to short and slow.


BTW, welcome to the site. The Matrix is a great car, I just replaced mine this summer.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Do you have instrumentation? If so try both and see for yourself. But as others have said, the shorter route often is your best bet.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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No instrumentation--didn't even know it existed (outside of Priusii -pl?) until today. Now it's on my wish list. We've mostly tried to improve mpg by decreasing miles driven.

Doing the math, as suggested above but with my averages, I get
short: 11.5 miles at 27mpg city = .43 gal
long: 19 miles at 36mpg highway = .52 gal
so it does look like shorter is better. But I'm still wondering at the equal driving time aspect and wondering if that needs to be accounted for. What rate of travel does city mpg assume, I wonder?

Thanks for everyones thoughts. And yes, we think the Matrix is a great car, though I don't like the styling of the newest model.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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first thought: fewest dead stops.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My short/slow route to work nets about the same MPG (and travel time) as the longer/faster route. Overall, less fuel is consumed on the short/slow route.
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvit View Post
first thought: fewest dead stops.
Good point. My shortest commute route to work has more stop LIGHTS, but less stop SIGNS than the longer routes. If you time the stoplights right, you never have to get 0MPG. YMMV.
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Quote:
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Just 'cuz you can't do it, don't mean it can't be done...
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The presence of traffic is the single most complicating factor of hypermiling. I know what I'm going to do, it's contending with whatever the hell all these other people are going to do that makes things hard.

Last edited by Mustang Dave; 01-12-2010 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I can take two different ways to work. The first way is 26.6 miles and is a little hilly but nothing outrageous, and goes through 3 towns. The second way is 25.6 miles with extreme hills and gets me 2-4 mpg less. So the first way is better for overall fuel use, but the first way also contains 15 miles of one of the most beat up roads in the county, plus the whole road is a major deer crossing. But if it's icy, the hills and blind intersections on the second route make for a lot of accidents and the speed bumps on the highway tear up the car too. So it's a toss up pretty much.

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