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Old 07-11-2009, 08:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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change habits, change car

A while back I spent a lot of time and effort modding my Ford Ranger to squeeze the extra mile or two out of every gallon. After a long period of writing down gas mileage figures etc.etc. hypermiling when possible, and other stuff, I came to the conclusion that I may have incresed my mpg's by about 1 mpg. Hardly worth it, when considering the amount of time and effort that went into all my mods. I noticed the best changes came from habit changes rather than modifications. Less foot on the pedal, more coasting when slowing down, slower speeds overall. I've done a fair bit of research on my particular Ford Ranger, (the gas guzzling 4 liter unfortuately) paired with the gas guzzling auto trans. It gets pretty bad gas mileage to begin with according to epa figures. Of course...these figures were flawed to begin with. No stop and go driving, no highway driving, no bumps in the road, no turns. No slamming on the brakes, or speeding up quickly. In other words, no kind of driving of any sort that would be normal day to day stuff. On top of that they haven't adjusted the figures yet, to their newer figures. The old figures were based on driving styles that hadn't been updated since 1968! So, assume the new figures are 10-15% worse. So, my crappy Ford Ranger is getting a terrible 17-19 mpg if I'm lucky. After all my mods, I think the best I ever did was 20 mpg.
So I decided to change habits, and when I've got the money, eventually change the vehicle. Now, I ride my bike (bicycle) a few times a week. I ride to work on my motorcycle about once a week, or twice if I'm lucky. I combine trips wherever possible. I decided to sell the Ranger, unfortunately, the market is flooded with used cars right now, and no one can afford to buy anyway. So it's stays at home whenever it can. I quit smoking recently, and I figure that can actually save a little bit of the planet. No more CO2 from my mouth...no more driving out to buy smokes, when I run out, and less tobbacco grown, transported etc.etc. I eat less meat now, more veggies. Also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases. I use CFL's in the house. Less waste equals less landfills, equals, more use of exisitng products, it's a long shot, but it equals better mpg's for the planet.
So, I changed some habits, and even though I'm not getting that much better mpg's, the planet is getting slightly better mpg's, and I'm ok with that. When I get the chance I will sell the Ford Ranger, and get something better on gas. In the meantime, I'll keep changing and manipulating my habits to lead a greener lifestyle, and reduce worldwide mpg's!

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Old 07-11-2009, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like you've really thought stuff out. Nice job! I agree, habits are by far the easiest and cheapest way to both increase mileage and reduce consumption of any resource.
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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+1. Habits are the hardest and most satisfying to change, especially since most of the ones you want to change are bad ones that feel good now with detrimental long-term consequences.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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+1 on driver habits. I beat the '08 EPA by 58% to 70% just by changing my driving, and no mods to the vehicles other than inflating the tires to max sidewall.

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