Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Full Of Gas. No, Not THAT Kind!

Now that the price of gas is hovering close to $4.00 a gallon around here and over that in other locations, I have actually started paying attention to how many miles per gallon I am getting. Two years ago, we bought a cute, little, red Ford Escape Hybrid. We started looking because I wanted a small, red SUV and we narrowed it down to the Ford Escape or a Jeep Liberty. The Jeep had a really cheap looking dashboard, and when I found out I could get the Escape in a Hybrid, I was hooked. I would save the environment! I would decrease our dependence on foreign oil!

Here's a picture of my little truck. I went kayaking last week. OK, I'm lying but you were impressed for a minute, now weren't you? (disclaimer - that's not actually my truck. In case you didn't know that already.)



The first few times I drove it, it was rather disconcerting when it went to electric power and the engine went completely silent. I would think "Oh, my truck has died...wait that's the electric power." And then the next time it happened "Oh, my truck has died..wait that's the electric power." After this happened approximately 4,291 times, I would remember that it was going to electric power.

I didn't fully understand that the electric power would only engage when you were going about 25-30 mph and, once I realized this, I thought it was not saving me much gas. I quit paying attention to it and assumed I was getting roughly the same mileage I got with my Ford Contour.

Until this week. I, like most women, drive until the gas tank has approximately two teaspoons of gas in it because why should I waste time pumping gas when I could be doing something much more worthwhile like shopping for shoes?

So, I was keeping an eye on it and knew that I could go exactly 25 more miles until I ran out. Plenty of time! When I filled it up, the gauge was still on, so I knew that I could go for about 47o miles now. And I just happened to be watching the gas pump so I knew exactly how much gas went in - a little over 13 gallons. Although the stats for the Escape say it has a 15 gallon gas tank, most people agree it is closer to 13 or 14.

So, I thought huh. 13 gallons. 470 miles. Now, those of you who know me that I am not a mathematical genius. I am just slightly less than genius mode in math. OK, I am a math moron. I admit it. But I can do 10%. So, I thought, wow if that was 10 gallons I would be getting 47 miles per gallon. Hmmm. Get out the calculator. 470/13 is 36 miles per gallon. I am getting MUCH better mileage than I realized. I didn't keep track of my gas mileage with my Ford Contour because gas was so much cheaper but, after doing some research, it was about 20-30 mpg.

And, according to my friend Google, I can get even better gas mileage. It should apparently be running in electric mode even more and I can force it to do this with a few tricks. I will definitely be trying some of the ideas on this site: http://www.hybridcars.com/gas-saving-tips/maximizing-mileage-ford-escape-hybrid.html

I am also going to think about altering the routes I drive so I can drive slower and at a continuous speed. This gas situation is making all of us rethink our lifestyles a little, isn't it?

Here's a few web sites that might help you conserve even more:

http://lifehacker.com/395538/easy-ways-to-save-money-on-gas

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/fueleconomy/articles/106842/article.html

Find out where to get the cheapest gas in town.

http://www.gasbuddy.com/

http://www.gaspricewatch.com/new/default_V3.asp

So, what are you doing to conserve gas? Does anyone else have a hybrid? Anyone think of buying one?

Check out my Herald-Leader blog post today: Hit The Road!

6 comments:

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I need that car.

Gas is killing me.

Bobbi said...

I thought I was the only one who knew how many miles I could go AFTER the gauge reads empty!

charing said...

I need a car like yours. I think I have a 16 gallon tank and average 250 miles.

Anonymous said...

I rode my bike this morning to farmers market on squires and richmond road. I was so cool..saving my gas and not driving my car. I had my bike helmet on and my backpack on for the goods. The only problem was when I arrived at the market no one was there. Oh well, I enjoyed the ride just the same. vj

Alice said...

I'm due for a new car pretty soon and really want to investigate something like that. Thanks for all the links and info.

Rachel said...

I envy you. I have a pretty fuel-efficient car, but I'd love a hybrid. I've been trying to cut down on my driving, but it's pretty hard. Everything is so spread out here.