Monday, June 30, 2008

Humor: GraphJam.com

Thanks to Rob for turning me on to this site! 

funny-graphs-meat-pudding

funny-graphs-dark-tunnel

...

Enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Welcome Triangle Area Hypermilers!

I ran across WRAL's Golo (Go Local) community this morning and discovered a recent post about hypermiling in the Triangle.  If any of you find this blog, then I'd like to say hi!  You might see me on I-40 or around Chapel Hill in my silver 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, bare foot on the gas pedal, cruising along at or just below the speed limit, windows usually open.  I have a "55mpg" Euro-sticker on the back of my car.  If you read this and see me, wave to say hi or give me a quick double-honk to let me know you "get it".

Get your own MPG Euro-sticker

Regardless of what you're driving, hypermiling can help you save a lot of gas (and money!).  If you're still learning about hypermiling, read through my collection of hypermiling posts to get started.  If you have tips to share, please post comments so we can all learn to be more efficient drivers.

Be efficient to each other!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Be Kind to SUVs

Today's hypermiling tip is more of an "act locally, think globally" type of idea.  It's simple - when you see a big honkin' SUV waiting to turn out into traffic, by all means slow down and let them out!  While they're idling, they're guzzling valuable gas.  So help them out by getting them back on their way faster.  I know it's tempting to laugh at their misery and coast on by, but think about the big picture.  By helping them get to where they're going faster, they're using less gas.  Using less gas will help lower demand and maybe lower prices.  Every bit helps!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The $120 LED Light Bulb

What uses just 8 watts, replaces a 60 watt incandescent bulb, puts out 800 lumens, and lasts 40 times longer than a conventional bulb?

geobulb

Meet GeoBulb!  Those funky metal fingers are actually heat sinks to keep the bulb cool.  It contains no scary mercury (unlike CFLs) and can be used in any indoor light fixture - even those on dimmers.

I'm not entirely sure I'd pay $120 for a light bulb, but the thought of never having to buy another bulb for the next 50-60 years while using 3/20 the power of each current light bulb I own has a certain appeal.  What do you think?  Is it worth the coin?

The GeoBulb is available from C.Crane or ComputerGear

Via MetaEfficient

New Podcast: Quick and Dirty Tips for Living Green

I just found  new podcast from the Quick and Dirty series on living green.  Q&D also does the wildly popular podcasts Money Girl, Grammar Gal, Mighty Mommy, etc.  "Make-It-Green Girl" is now 'casting on simple tips to make your life more eco-friendly.  As of today, there are 7 episodes available on iTunes, so you can easily catch up from the beginning.

The first episode I listened to was MIGG's tips on saving at the pump.  I really liked her analogy to riding a bike and how thinking about driving in the same way you'd think about riding a bike can help you drive more efficiently.  Her initial set of tips was pretty high level, but she promises more green driving tips are coming.

Keep an eye on this podcast... it's going to be very popular!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Punish The Pump" Punishes the Ignorant

I received an e-mail from my local Honda dealer today advertising a "Punish the Pump" special maintenance program.  Apparently, this service will help you maximize your MPG.  For just $199.95, you get:

  • Air Induction Service
  • Multi-Point Inspection
  • Air Filter Replacement
  • Tire Rotation with Nitrogen Service
  • Complimentary Roadside Assistance
  • Standard Oil Change

I buy that the filter replacement and tire rotation & nitrogen are good things, but I take serious issue with the what the rest of this service offering implies.  First off, I'll admit I don't know what an "air induction service" is and I'm too lazy to search the web for it right now, so we'll just ignore that point.  Going down the line, the rest of this reads like a fairly standard oil change you can get for $25 at nearly any oil change station.

Nitrogen in your tires is supposed to be a good thing.  I got mine done for free at the place I regularly get my oil changes.  A rotation is going to help with wear and tear, but you really also need to get them balanced and aligned.  That's not included in this service and will set you back another $60-$100 depending on where you get it done (shop around).

A standard oil change isn't really going to help.  Follow master hypermiler Wayne Gerdes' advice and get the lowest viscosity synthetic your engine can stand.  Change your oil often.

You can change your own air filter for about $45.

You've already read my tips on how to really improve your mileage.  Don't be fooled into thinking you can just pay your mechanic to lower your monthly gas bill.  The single best thing you can do to lower your gas bill and still drive your own car is simply drive the speed limit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

100 Tips and Resources for Hypermiling

Here's a lengthy list of resources for learning about hypermiling and how to drive more efficiently.  Nearly all of these apply to any type of car.  There are also links to articles on hybrids, car maintenance for fuel efficiency, expert blogs, and best cars for hypermiling.  If you're even curious, this is a great place to start.

Read:  The Ultimate Guide to Hypermiling: 100 Driving and Car Tips and Resources

Hypermiling story on NPR

Although our local NPR station passed up a great opportunity to interview me for a hypermiling story (wink), NPR recently discussed hypermiling on Morning Edition.  Their story focused a bit too much on the "extreme" side of the practice, in my opinion, but I'm happy to have the publicity for driving efficiently.  I actually had not heard the "one shoe trick" before / driving with the shoe off your accelerator foot so you can feather the gas pedal slightly better.  I will certainly try that on my commute home today.  Interestingly, the "extremist" they interviewed also drives a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid - though he could do much better than the 50mpg per tank he claims.

I've said it over and over, and I'll repeat it again - you don't need a hybrid to improve your mileage, just a brain and some patience.

I also found a link to a related NPR story on "Zen Driving" with a list of reader-supplied tips for driving efficiently.  Great stuff!

Have you tried hypermiling?  Are you making any changes in your driving habits in response to high gas prices (or for any other reason)? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hypermiling Tip - "Ridge Riding"

"Ridge Riding" means positioning your car within a lane to ride outside the grooves worn in the road from 99.99% of all the other drivers out there.  This is helpful on rainy days because it gets your car out of the puddles in the grooves, reducing the drag from the water and improving your fuel efficiency.  The technique is credited to Wayne Gerdes, the guy I blogged about yesterday.

As always, take these tips at your own risk.  While I advocate driving efficiently, I never advocate driving dangerously.

Monday, June 2, 2008

King of the Hypermilers

I came across this story while reading a thread on fuel efficiency at Facebook.  Wayne Gerdes gets 59mpg in a regular Honda Accord!  I'm in awe, and clearly I have some more practicing to do!

Read:  This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk.  (Mother Jones)