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Old 01-24-2014, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
Should I turn here...?
 
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Delivery Driver's Problems ('96 Civic CX ... seeking advice)

I mainly looking for suggestions in driving style...

I drive a (new-to-me) '96 Honda Civic CX (hatch)-- no mods except cruise control.

2-3 days/week, I have a (34 mile roundtrip) part-city, part-highway commute. 4 days/week, I deliver pizzas. Average of about 320 miles/week

So I'm stuck in city driving for the majority of my driving, which is terrible for my gas mileage.

Over my last two or three tanks, I've gotten an average of 34mpg. Which isn't too bad, I guess. It is a very stop-and-go driving situation. But I want more, ideally 40 or over.

That 34mpg is just driving normally. I'm not a lead foot, and I generally try to take the most time-efficient routes (that is, whichever one involves the fewest stops. This tank, I'm experimenting with shutting the engine off at stoplights that I know I'll have to wait at (there are several timed lights in town that are 30sec reds), and coasting in neutral whenever possible. I'm due to fill up either tomorrow or sunday, so we'll see what difference (if any) that's made.

Other tips for city driving? I'm conflicted that EOC may not be safe (legal?), though there are consistent streets that I drive where it would work beautifully. Thoughts on EOC safety?

I'd be up for inexpensive aero mods, but do they really make an appreciable difference in city driving (<35mph)? Also, they couldn't be too extreme, as my car still has to look presentable for delivering pizzas. (I'm pretty positive that my boss doesn't want his pizzas delivered in a spaceship held together by duct tape...)

---------------
Notes:

I do not have a ScangaugeII-- $170 is WAY out of my budget. I set aside $20/month for parts/maintenance and such for our two cars-- so maybe in a couple of years (IF the cars don't break)....

I'm a new member here. First post ftw!

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Old 01-24-2014, 02:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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"Ultragauge" is 60-70 bucks. If you are not already the most efficient driver (we all have room to improve especially if we don't have any data) it will pay for it self and quickly if you are driving a lot. If the car does break it can really pay for it self by helping you diagnose problems. I'm short on cash too so anything I do to the car has to pay for itself, on board instantaneous fuel consumption info of some sort is very worth the investment.

If you drive 200 miles per week, and go from 35 to 40mpg you go from 5.7 gallons to 5 gallons. at 3.50 per that's 19.95 down to 17.5 or saving $2.45 per week. that means it's paid off in 28 weeks at only 200 miles per week. This is a very conservative estimate as you stated you drive more than that, and breaking over 40mpg in a civic with a instantaneous fuel consumption display is child's play. (when I had my civic I had to try to get less than 40mpg even in the winter driving in the city) but that was only after I trained myself using a fuel consumption display.


EOC is safe especially in a light car with an attentive driver. If you don't have power steering the only thing that changes when the engine is off is braking pressure after the vac is depleted, and in the case where you are using lots of braking applications (which would use up available vacuum) you could use DFCO. As for legal, do your own math on the risks, it would be pretty hard for a cop to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. There are lots of discussions on proper bump start and EOC technique. My personal preference is some sort of kill switch as I don't like the risk of locking up the steering and the extra manipulations of the ignition mechanism.

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Old 01-24-2014, 03:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Bestclimb has some great advice.

Don't put off the gauge - start looking on eBay for used ones, too. It'll pay for itself. Not getting one is effectively putting off savings. (And fun!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 96CX View Post
So I'm stuck in city driving for the majority of my driving, which is terrible for my gas mileage.
Aggressively efficient driving will have your city mileage ABOVE typical highway numbers. But it would require a fair amount of engine off stuff for that to happen.

Quote:
I've gotten an average of 34mpg. Which isn't too bad, I guess. It is a very stop-and-go driving situation. But I want more, ideally 40 or over.
Completely realistic & attainable.

Quote:
This tank, I'm experimenting ... I'm due to fill up either tomorrow or sunday, so we'll see what difference (if any) that's made.
Please report back.

Quote:
Other tips for city driving? I'm conflicted that EOC may not be safe... Thoughts on EOC safety?
Depends on the driver's ability, depends on the car. You lose power assist in the steering -- is that a problem in a Civic CX (does it even have power steering)? I won't EOC some vehicles that have unusually heavy un-assisted steering.

As bestclimb said, you retain power assisted brakes for 1-3 pedal applications until you deplete the vacuum. After that, you have to press noticeably harder on the pedal for the same braking force. Or, just restart the engine.

I'd be reluctant to use the key for regularly killing the engine. If you're doing to do this, wire a kill switch to the shifter for a couple of bucks. http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...our-24263.html

Quote:
I'd be up for inexpensive aero mods, but do they really make an appreciable difference in city driving (<35mph)?
Do a partial grille block first: helps aero AND retaining heat in the engine bay. Monitor your coolant temps though.

Quote:
Also, they couldn't be too extreme, as my car still has to look presentable for delivering pizzas. (I'm pretty positive that my boss doesn't want his pizzas delivered in a spaceship held together by duct tape...)
That's just silly. Who's going to turn away the piping hot pizza at their door because they think the delivery vehicle looks funny? Not me!!

I often think of the pizza guys & taxi drivers in town. I'd love to do ride-alongs with some of them to give pointers on saving fuel. ( http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ion-23772.html )

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Old 01-24-2014, 04:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you have an Android phone, get a Bluetooth Elm237 device for $12 on Ebay. This will be just as good as an Ultragauge or Scangauge. The downside is if you use your phone for navigation, then the gauges won't be visible. Next best option then would be an UltraGauge.

Get a gauge before doing a grill block to keep an eye on engine temps. The temp needle on your car isn't precise enough to know when it's running a little hot and the cooling fan is kicking on.

Do you have a manual transmission? I get the same MPG regardless of stop and go or steady highway driving because I let a gap develop ahead of me, and I coast while traffic is slowing, and accelerate slightly when it picks up. Basically, I drive the average speed of traffic and don't worry if people cut into that gap. This strategy might not work as well in cities other than Portland due to other drivers being more aggressive. In Portland, people tend to move out of my lane about as often as they move into it, so I barely loose any time by leaving a gap.

Install the free Gasbuddy app to locate the cheapest stations to fill up.

I'm impressed that you budget $20 a month for repairs. Most people with modest funds blow everything and they create an emergency when something unexpected happens. Keep up the good work! Maintaining a reasonable budget will reduce a lot of financial stress and eliminate a large area of conflict in relationships.
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Last edited by redpoint5; 01-24-2014 at 04:30 PM..
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
Should I turn here...?
 
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Wow! Lots of help here!

Bestclimb: Yes, I do want one. I ran the math, and if it gains me 5mpg, it'll pay for itself in about 6-7 months. (Gas in my area is currently $3.20ish/gal). I'm still reluctant to put out the cash for one, though. I only just bought the car two months ago, and I'm still getting used to it...the clutch is WAY different than my '67 VW, and it's just a different vehicle all around. I do want to put a few more tanks-worth of miles on it so as to establish a baseline of what I can do just by the seat of my pants, that way I can better know what kind of gain I'm actually shooting for. This tank is looking like better mileage than the last two, based on eyeballing the gas gauge-- we'll see for sure when I fill up this weekend.

MetroMPG: I'm really happy with the fact that you all think >40mpg is attainable. That's encouraging.
The CX has no power steering, which is nice. I think I could probably do a kill switch-- though I do want to experiment with bump-starting first, and get that skill down. It sounds like it'd be within the budget, which, as I mentioned earlier is super-tight (thankfully by choice, and not necessity). Also, this CX is the nicest/newest vehicle I've ever owned in my life, so I kinda don't want to mess it up. :P
The customers aren't as worried about the looks of the car as my boss is. I'm pretty sure he wants his delivery fleet to look reasonably clean/in repair/not jerry-rigged/etc. Otherwise, I'd be driving my '67 rusty VW surf wagon for delivering pizzas...

Redpoint5: I don't have a smart phone. I barely have a cell phone, and that's only because it's required as a pizza delivery driver. If I did, I'd be all over that suggestion. Yes, I have a manual trans; it was a must-have when I was looking for a car. They're just so much better all around (plus more reliable).
I'm in a pretty small/rural city (20k pop), so the only two (4) lane traffic is the highway through town. A lot of the lights are sensored and a few are timed. I'm always plotting how to hit the lights right and mentally calculating which route(s) will be least impeded.

Re: grill blocks-- hotter engines are more efficient? I've heard this elsewhere, but haven't thought about it much. Does it kill efficiency if/when the cooling fan comes on?

Re: EOC-- I noticed the other day when I was coasting into my parking spot at home, that when I switch the key off, the speedo falls to zero. Then I noticed that the odometer ALSO stopped moving. The speedo/odo functioned normally when I switched the key on (but engine still off) while rolling. Is this normal? Or only in newer cars with electronic instrumentation? Also, this means that any miles I EOC (like into my parking spot) without the key on aren't counted toward my mileage... :S

Also, as an aside, I wish I had a tach (which I guess I would if I bought a scangauge, huh? ;P). I'm stuck with the super basic gauge package though-- speed/temp/fuel + idiot lights.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you switch the key back to run after stopping the engine, you should get your speedometer/odo back. Kill switch avoids this temporary glitch altogether.

Yup: the faster you get the engine up to operating temp, the better. In the really cold weather, your engine may not even get there without a block!
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Running hotter is more fuel efficient, but the vehicle isn't designed to run much hotter than it already is. Things will prematurely wear or fail when running hotter than the designed temp; likely 180-220 degrees. My fan comes on at 215 degrees. It's not efficient to run the fan because the electric power comes from the alternator, which is not efficient.

The Ultragauge is only $61-$70, so that is a more affordable way to go for instrumentation.

As an aside, there are many alternative phone providers besides the big 3 that have much better contract-free rates. My wife has a smart phone with unlimited talk/text/data for $25/mo through Republic Wireless. Other providers allow you to bring a used device and activate it on their network for very affordable monthly rates (Boost, Virgin, StraightTalk).

If you want to know about saving money, especially on recurring bills, I'm a bit of an expert. PM me if you want to know what I do to save on things like insurance, internet, etc.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Redpoint.... out of curiosity, do you participate at the MMM forum on money matters?
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Redpoint.... out of curiosity, do you participate at the MMM forum on money matters?
No, but I have read through several of Mr. Money Mustache's excellent blogs. I just tend to have the habits of a frugal person by nature. Perhaps it was my modest upbringing, or just my rational tendencies. A person can often make more money per hour of "work" by spending a little extra time to be more frugal and shop around. The reason I'm on ecomodder is to be frugal with my fuel and learn how things work.

I'd participate on MMM, but I'm already spending time here, Slickdeals, Fatwallet, Priuschat, and various other forums... I'll see if I can fit it in
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Your Republic phone comment is what got me wondering. I've read ... and still read ... but don't participate at MMM.

/END THREAD JACK!

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