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Old 06-15-2008, 12:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Good in-town mpg a challenge

I have a '02 Chevy Cavalier 2.2l rated at EPA 23/33, and have been trying all of the hypermiling techniques, in an attempt to improve my mileage. The sad thing is I use my car for only very short in-town trips, and it never gets any highway miles.

I have always recorded my mileage and gallon usage, so I have that historical data. Typically, my city mileage has been 18-24 mpg average per tank.

My hypermiling techniques include very conservative acceleration, really watching the throttle, coasting or engine-off down hills, engine-off at long stop lights, going slower than the speed limit, 44 psi in my tires, Lucas gas treatment, new plugs and wires, new oil change, new air filter.

So, here's the results of my first hypermiling (town driving) tank: 22 mpg. Sad, isn't it?

Real depressing. I am going to invest in a locking gas cap.

I received my ScanGaugeII yesterday, and have been having fun with it.

I took the car out for a drive on the little highways out east in the prarie last night, to see what my hypermiling techniques would do in that situation. The highways had a 45 mph speed limit.

I was very surprised, I got 38 mpg!

So, I have concluded that there is not much you can do in town stop-and-go driving that will result in a big mpg payback. I wonder if I should consider having a mechanic go over my engine to see what can be done to improve my city mileage.

Really wish I had hybrid technology in my car for town-driving. A bolt-on solution would be cool - the auto industry should look into this, and engineer some technology that they could sell to us.

So, regarding city driving, what do you all think?

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Old 06-15-2008, 12:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Look into a engine block heater that should help a lot since the car never really gets warmed up and make sure to consolidate as many trip in one outing as possible. Route selection is critical and any chance of delaying to miss rush hour traffic? Where are you located and any chance of using a bike or something for the really short trips?

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Old 06-15-2008, 02:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sometimes the city can suck, but I would say to look into route planning and trying to anticipate lights/traffic. Takes practice and getting used to, but it works.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschoolf View Post

Really wish I had hybrid technology in my car for town-driving. A bolt-on solution would be cool - the auto industry should look into this, and engineer some technology that they could sell to us.
There is a bolt on solution but I think it is around $3k if I recall. Sorry, but I don't remember the company name but what they have is wheel hub electric motors that go on the rear wheels of your gasoline or diesel car.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
Look into a engine block heater that should help a lot since the car never really gets warmed up
Your driving sounds a lot like what I do on a daily basis. I put around 15-20miles on in town with 4-8mile trips. The block heater is a good idea but can be costly to run. I'd suggest a grill block. After installing my partial block I found the Jeep would warm up to full temp in about a mile or so (summer temps anyway). Use to never get all the way up. There easy to do and also a really cheap one time cost.
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FastPlastic View Post
Your driving sounds a lot like what I do on a daily basis. I put around 15-20miles on in town with 4-8mile trips. The block heater is a good idea but can be costly to run. I'd suggest a grill block. After installing my partial block I found the Jeep would warm up to full temp in about a mile or so (summer temps anyway). Use to never get all the way up. There easy to do and also a really cheap one time cost.
I think the fuel saving will easily make up for the electricity unless your rates are really really high. Here's a thread on Block heaters.
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastPlastic View Post
The block heater is a good idea but can be costly to run. I'd suggest a grill block.
I suggest both!

A block heater is only costly to run if used improperly (left plugged in too long), or if your electricity rates are very high. You can max out its heating potential in about 1.5-3 hours. If I use my 350w unit, that's 3.2 cents to 6.4 cents per use at standard Ontario rates.
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had noticed (with ScanGauge) that my MPG really sucks on a cold engine.
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd second Metro's suggestion of doing both the block heater and grill block. I did this for my Matrix which my wife uses to cart around town from place to place to decrease warm up times. It made a noticable difference.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Another thing to consider is a light motor oil, perhaps a 5W20. Because it's less viscous, it reduces internal engine frictional losses from the cold start and luke-warm running. I concur with the block heater idea. Put it on a timer to come on one to two hours before your commute (depending on how fast it can warm the engine) so you won't waste grid juice keeping it hot all night.

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