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.