What about Gas Mileage?

Observations

I was monitoring a discussion of mpg at xterraownersclub.com. I think folks are generally grateful to be getting 20 mpg in something as awesome as an Xterra (a little more in the 2nd generation), but everyone wants to save these days. One guy pointed out that he generally gets in the low 20s mpg and has gotten as high as 26 in his X using so-called “hyper-miling” techniques, most of which are just common sense things like accelerating slowly, driving slower, and coasting and timing lights.

On our fishing trip I tried to follow a few of these rules, including holding a constant throttle on hills instead of using the cruise control and drafting behind M’s F-250. I got 16.4 mpg pulling Dad’s 18′ boat and that included a lot of fire lane driving and a tiny bit of off-roading. Excellent.

Now that got me to thinking that all of these mileage quick-fixes you hear about are kind of like fad diets and diet pills. Everyone wants to buy a hydrogen generator or a hybrid or nitrogen for his tires or whatever quick fix to save a few gallons of gas when most all of those things will not save you money, even in the long run. If you want to actually save money, you have to not be in a hurry all the time; you have to do simple things like drive the vehicle you already have, slow down, drive shorter routes that may take longer, and carpool.

Footnote: Also, it may help to find a fuel station that sells ethanol free gas. Usually you can find one that sells 93 octane ethanol free (I need 92 octane or more for the supercharged Xterra), but here and there you will find a hidden treasure — the ethanol free gas station.

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