I don’t know about you, but I dread every single time I have to pull into the gas station and fill up my vehicle. From squeezing every last mile out of a tank to using the Gas Buddy app on my iPhone to find the absolute lowest gasoline price near me, gas at $4.00+ per gallon can be a budget killer. While every TV show, newspaper and magazine has various tips on how to save money on gas that everyone tries, there is one thing always on the list that rarely anyone ever sticks to – driving the speed limit.
I will be the first one to admit that I am not very good at, or careful about, sticking to the speed limit on either rural byways or major interstates. Rarely do I look down at the speedometer and find that it matches the number on that black and white sign by the side of the road. But since I have tried all the other tips to save money on gas, I decided that the one last thing I hadn’t really attempted was always driving at the speed limit, regardless of the circumstance. So for the last 7 days, I did exactly that – and was absolutely amazed at what happened.
My truck went nearly 100 more miles on a tank of gas than it normally can.
Trucks are notorious for getting bad gas mileage, and mine is no exception even though it is brand new. (I prefer smaller, higher-MPG cars, but I live in a rural area with mostly dirt roads.) It is rated at 16 MPG city and 20 MPG highway, but I don’t get anywhere near those figures in real life. If the tank is 20 gallons and I am supposed to get around 16 miles per gallon around town, it would make sense that I could reasonably believe I could drive around 320 miles before needing a fill-up. On the highway, that number should be around 400 miles. But in the real world I rarely get above 250 miles per tank of gas, which is a far cry from the figures that I should be getting. I keep my tires inflated correctly, I change my oil regularly, I don’t carry around any unnecessary weight in the back, and I even turn the engine off if I am sitting at a rail crossing waiting for a 3 mile long freight train to pass by. I have done everything by the book to save money on gas, but still I can’t manage to get the MPG up closer to where it should be.
Until I stuck to the speed limit.
For seven long days and nights, I drove right at the speed limit. Little old ladies were frustrated with me this time as I was driving so slow. I took my time getting everywhere, I moved over so people could pass me while saluting me with their middle finger, and I even drove my girlfriend crazy while slowly driving to the store that was closing in just a few minutes. It was a brutal week of testing my patience and my will, but it certainly paid off – the truck hit 350 miles right as the yellow “NO GAS” warning light came on the dashboard. That’s about 100 more miles on a single tank of gas and further than I have ever gone since I bought the truck a year ago.
So if you are still searching for the elusive trick to save yourself some money on gas or just use less of it each month, I recommend you give yourself the same test I gave myself and see if you can stick to the speed limit – no matter what – for an entire week/tank of gas. After a while it becomes a fun game, as you really want to squeeze more miles out of a tank then ever before, and it rewards you handsomely in its tangible results. Give it a shot for a week, what do you have to lose? A few minutes of your life? I would say that’s worth keeping some extra cash in your wallet while burning less fossil fuel!
So. do you stick to the speed limit?
This post was written by David.
I noticed my Tahoe gets even better gas mileage when I go a few miles BELOW the speed limit. When I’m driving (3am-4am & Noon-1pm) there’s not a whole lot of traffic on the highway- so I just set the cruise between 60-65.
I can get nearly 500 Miles per tank of gas this way. It costs me about $100 each time I fill up right now- so I want to make it last as long as possible!
SUV’s are brutal for mileage. We have one and our car blows it away every time. Not the best for saving on fuel.
I’ve been trying to stick to the speed limit and I also try to avoid highly trafficked areas. It works!
Great post! I didn’t know I could save that much in gas! ANd the other thing is, I embarrassingly get speeding tickets a lot. So this tip actually would save me money in two ways — less tickets and better gas mileage!
I stick to the speed limit to save gas but only when the gas tank needle in my dashboard starting nearing empty 🙂
Lol. You could be doing better…
We speed most of the time. We sort of live near a highway where you’re somewhat expected to travel about 20k above the speed limit. We did notice how much gas we saved when we traveled a long distance through a snowstorm this past winter. We certainly know this method works now though will have to tackle our bad habit of constantly running late before we can start using it.
I think most of us speed which is why it is great that David brought this up. We could all use a reality check.
When I drive to and from work I tend to go about 5km over the speed limit. However, when I drive for extended periods of time I seem to drive about 5km less. This, mixed with not having to stop as much gives me about 200km extra a tank. It is great.
I typically drive 10 km’s over or so. I really should break this habit.
My commute is all surface streets and I sincerely try to keep a very steady MPH. I try to stay just under the speed limit to catch all the lights. That is more important to avoid braking. I think I get pretty good mileage since I am on surface streets.
OK – well over here petrol (aka gas stateside) is about £1.45 a litre which is in US gallon terms about $9 a gallon. I suppose we don’t have such big distances to drive but years of this sort of price (and it is fairly common everywhere in Europe) you get used to using a very light right foot….:-)
Very true. The more you have to pay the more conscious you are. Maybe rising the price of gas will make roads safer?!
Well I am poor at saving gas. When I am behind wheel, I have to beat all other drivers on road. 🙂
Lol. Speed demon huh?!
A truck has terrible aerodynamic and lowering your speed has a huge impact. I don’t think you would see that kind of impact with a car. It still a good idea do drive 55 and under though. Good tip.
I usually go about 3 miles over the speed limit, but find I get the best mileage at 55. I set the cruise control whenever possible & that saves a lot. I’m not very good at holding it to a certain speed without it. Also if it’s a windy day & I’m driving our van, I’ll drive 5-10 miles slower to help, unless it’s a tail wind. Our van is just too much like a billboard on the sides to do well in a cross wind. A head wind is not good for mileage either. When at all possible we drive our little Golf. It gets as much as 50 mpg, though that’s diesel. YMMV!
We have the same issue with our SUV. Not the best vehicle for economics but where we live where winters are full of ice and snow, we need it.
Lol. I have been guilty of that too. I used to pay a lot of tickets.
Interesting take. I know I didn’t think of it that way.
I do drive the speed limit, mostly because I prefer not to get speeding tickets and the added cost that comes with them.
Sounds like common sense to me.
I’m that driver everybody hates, I always drive the speed limit. 🙂
Ever since I got a hybrid a few months back and now have a real-time mpg indicator, I have become that driver everyone hates to be behind. 🙂
Lol. That is too funny. My hope would be that all drivers become like you.