Here’s a partial solution to our gas pains |

Here’s a partial solution to our gas pains

Looking for relief? Think we have some magic pill? What the heck are we talking about? We’re talking about the big, fat bloated number that comes up on the gas pump every time you fill up.

So what’s the scoop?

The scoop is that with one simple relaxing exercise you can reduce your dependence on foreign oil and keep some extra bucks in your wallet. Our Canadian friends have conveniently provided all the details on how to perform this amazing procedure. Just don’t push so hard on the gas pedal.

That’s right, speed kills your gas mileage (speed also kills other things). The Ministry of Transportation and Highways in British Columbia, Canada regularly measures vehicle fuel consumption at various speeds to determine the cost to operate vehicles per mile. Let’s take the typical 6-cylinder family sedan on a 200-mile run (about a tank full) and see what it costs to refill the tank driving at different speeds.

Speed cost to drive: 200 miles at $3 per gallon. 35 mph ($26), 45 ($27), 55 ($29), 65 ($35), 75 ($50) and 85 ($83)

(Albert Porter, a professional traffic engineer, resident of Grass Valley and advisor to CCAT was responsible for the homework on the above data.)

For some of us the table tells the whole story, but for others there is nothing like an example in good old words.

Take the typical freeway trip of 200 miles where everyone likes to drive at 75 mph and compare that to driving closer to 65 mph. Well, first of all you would get to your destination 20 minutes later at 65 mph than at 75 mph, but you would have $15 more in your wallet after filling the tank. So $15 for 20 minutes is like earning $45 per hour. Where else can you earn $45 per hour just to watch the scenery go by?

But there is more. By slowing down there will be fewer accidents; a no better example is the reduction of accidents on Highway 49 due to the CHP’s recent and aggressive enforcement of the speed limit.

According to the National Safety Council, in 2002, exceeding the posted speed limit or driving at an unsafe speed was the most common error in fatal crashes. Every 10 mph traveled over 50 mph doubles the risk of death if a crash occurs. For example, at 80 mph the chances of dying if involved in a crash are eight times greater than at 50 mph. On a 10-mile trip, this increased risk results in only four minutes of reduced travel time. The dangers of speeding far outweigh the travel time saved.

To summarize, there are major upsides to slowing down:

1) it is economical;

2) it is safer.

Slowing down is just plain smart for all of us and is painless.


Grant Cattaneo on behalf of CCAT’s Steering Committee.

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