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Old 12-11-2012, 02:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Commute Vs Trip MPG

I've just been reminded of an odd quirk in my fuel logs, I get better fuel economy on my daily commute than I do on trips, by 5% or more.

I think this is due to a combination of things, including:
My commute is mostly highway driving anyway.
After decades of living in the mountains, I know every curve and grade of the highway, rain, hail or shine. A trip is often on unfamiliar roads.
I drive slower on my commute, knowing it will only make a few minutes difference (a 75 kph average takes only 7 minutes longer than a 95 kph average) . Adding too much extra time to a 5 or 6 hour trip may get me lynched.
A trip normally means a heavier load (people & luggage).


How do the two compare for others? Is my experience really that far outside the norm?

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Old 12-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nope, not at all!!! I've noticed the same thing, and suspect for the same reasons you've listed above.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with you summation. but have a different take.
For 13 yrs I was self employed and traveled to see my clients. most were local but when there was freeway travel I always tried to get the best mpg.
Around town (or less than 30 minutes drive) I really didnt try hard, just drove conservative.
When I would take my longer repeat trips, I would always try to increase the coasting points from my last trip. One 5 hour trip involved two mountian ranges and I kept pushing the limits on my coasting and drifting.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The fam needs to travel fast with AC on our long haul trips, for me it's like 36 vs 55 mpg in the summer, per the SGII in the Civic, almost 50% difference (or 30%, depending which belongs in the denominator). Speed is a real MPG killer, but we're talking about a 10-hour haul here across interstates with 75 MPG PSL (well, part of the way) with fidgety tots in the back seat. I would swear there's something about the pavement or prevailing winds as well.

If anything your mere 5% loss on trips is admirable, if not enviable.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christofoo View Post
If anything your mere 5% loss on trips is admirable, if not enviable.
That 5% figure is really only from my most recent trip (950 km) for a family wedding, where I was trying to balance economy and comfort. Most of my trips are shorter (< half a tank) and it's hard to separate trip/commute mileage accurately, except to know it's worse.

When I've made that long trip in the past, I've taken the motorway. It's further distance, but shorter time at a constant 110 kph.

This time I took an inland route, through little country towns I've never visited before, with minimal traffic in between, where I could do 5 or 10 under the 100kph limit, EOC where practical, without bothering too many people ... and still got worse MPG.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My (freeway) road trip MPG is also generally lower than my commuting MPG. That's not uncommon on ecomodder.com.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am glad I wasn't the only one...I was beginning to think there was something wrong with how I was doing things.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Same here. In my situation, driving a 2011 Subaru Forester AWD with Manual Trans I get about 32-33mpg on my daily commute to/from work and about 28-30mpg driving steady state 65-70 miles per hour on the freeway.

I take advantage of every slowdown to coast in neutral and there ain't much of that on a freeway trip. As well, my Forester is not aerodynamic at all so higher speeds kill efficieny. My daily commute speeds range from 35mph to about 60mph max. Commute MPG is also helped by the fact that the Forester is fairly light.

Interestingly, I also have a V8 Lexus LS430 (auto trans of course) which is exactly the opposite. On the highway I can get about 26-28 mpg doing 65-75mph but daily commuting will only get me 22-24mpg. This car is VERY aerodynamic but is also very, very heavy compared with the Forester. Weight is not much of an issue once you've got your vehicle up to speed (freeway driving) but is a very big issue in getting it up to speed (commute-type driving).

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