Today’s Solutions: November 28, 2022

Many of us take the speed limits on the side of the road as, well, more of a suggestion than a hard line never to cross. Whether on the highway or in midtown, many of us feel we’re losing time or just plain bored if we’re not in the fast lane. Gas prices are rising, though, and even when we think getting somewhere faster is more cost effective we are actually spending more. 

The trick to this could be paying attention to the speed limits which reduces how much you pay at the pump. 

A solution to many problems

Driving slower is obviously safer, as, according to the US Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of traffic fatalities in 2020 involved speeding. It is also better for the climate. Driving at just the speed limit you’ve reached the optimal rate of gas consumption, and anything over that burns gas at an accelerated rate. The German Environmental Agency found that if all their motorists drove at 60 mph or slower, it would reduce as many carbon emissions as if they had taken a million cars off the road. 

With gas prices increasing due to the dire situation in Eastern Europe, however, maybe consider driving slower just to endure the energy shortage and support the ban on Russian gas. 

Optimal fuel efficiency 

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory examined the gas consumption of a range of US cars, from hybrids to diesel-powered vehicles. They found that the average car achieves maximum fuel efficiency between 40 to 50 mph. After that, a speeding car loses about 15 percent gas mileage for every 10 additional miles per hour. You could save 75 cents a gallon on a five-dollar gallon of gas on the highway, where most motorists drive between 50 and 80 mph, just by going 10 miles slower.

If you hear your engine revving, instead of just purring, you’re decreasing your fuel efficiency and burning more than you need to cover the same amount of ground. Once you’ve made yourself into a slower driver, you start to account for the drive time better, and you don’t really get where you need to go any slower. You do, however, save more money.

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