How I Got 72 Miles Per Gallon!

July 3, 2008

Actually it represents a 30% increase in fuel efficiency. My 1993 Honda motorcycle typically gets about 55 mpg. But over the last few weeks I’ve been purposefully thinking about my driving habits and looking for ways to make them more efficient. Well my efforts have paid off. At my last fill-up the calculator said my mileage was 72.29 miles per gallon! Here’s what I’ve been doing. Much of this can easily be applied to 4 wheeled vehicles.

  • The biggest improvement to my fuel efficiency was in finding times on my route where I could put it in neutral and coast. Sometimes the distance is so great that I could actually turn off the engine and roll quietly along. On my way home I can coast an entire mile with the engine off, right into my driveway. Many hybrid cars do this automatically.
  • I’ve been turning the engine off at stoplights & stop signs where I expect more than a 20 second stop.
  • I’ve not been showing off with my motorcycle, revving the engine or taking off at high speeds. Of course I’ve never done that. (I really did buy the motorcycle for the fuel savings. I don’t put hundreds of dollars worth of shiny chrome on it either and it’s actually much quieter than my lawn mower.)
  • I’ve been driving at or below the speed limit. I get it’s optimum mileage at around 45 mph, just after shifting into high gear. I’ve not been worrying about my speed, but rather how hard my engine is working and how much gas I’m feeding it with the throttle. This usually causes me to drive below the speed limit.
  • Watch it on up-hills. If you have ever ridden a bicycle up and down hills you know that you work much harder trying to keep your speed all the way up a hill. The same is true of your car. You’ll use more fuel trying to keep your speed up the hill, so let the car slow down a bit like you would do if riding a bicycle. Watch and listen to how hard your engine is working. Paying attention to even subtle hills on your route can help your fuel economy some. There are lots of hills around here which drain fuel efficiency. Hey, the name of our credit union is “Piedmont”, which means “foot hills”.

Earlier I said that I purchased a vehicle, my motorcycle, to get better fuel economy. But was it really worth it by the time I bought paid the money to buy it? I paid $1,200 for it. By the time I bought a helmet, insurance, registration, and rider safety class I had spent over $1,700. At the time I was driving a 16mpg SUV. Assuming that I could get at least 50mpg out of the bike I calculated that it would pay for itself after about 10,000 miles. Over two years I’ve driven it about 4,000 miles, so it hasn’t paid for itself as quickly as I would have liked. But it sure is fun!

Come to find out there is a name for what I’ve been doing. It’s called hypermiling. Just do a search on the Internet for “hypermilling” and you’ll find loads of information on how to increase your fuel efficiency. Some of it’s not that safe, so pick and choose what ways you can save gas carefully.

In wrapping up I leave you with a home made “Mad Gab” from my college friend Eddie T. … “Dry Foam Say Flea”

1993 Honda VLX 600 Shadow

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Am I losing my mind?

October 16, 2007

On the way back to the credit union this afternoon I saw the Goodyear blimp flying over Danville.   However, when I arrived at the credit union and exclaimed “Hey, did you guys see the blimp?”, it was gone!  Just like that the credit union staff thinks I have lost my mind!  I went outside to take a picture and it was nowhere to be seen, but I swear I could still hear the faint hum of its prop engines in the distance.

I know I’m not the only one who saw it because there were people on the side of the road looking up at it too.  So if anyone else saw it please let me know.  Then I’ll know whether or not I need to schedule a visit to the doctor!


Traveling Overseas?

August 23, 2007

Visiting another country can be a very rewarding and enlightening experience.  Just ask my father-in-law who went to Honduras on a medical missions trip last Spring and plans to go again next year.  With VISA being accepted virtually everywhere it’s very convenient to simply use a debit or credit card and not worry about carrying cash that usually has to be exchanged for local currency anyway.  (You usually pay a fee for that too.)  Recently our credit union had a member who was traveling overseas and was using his debit card for some big purchases.  Every time a Piedmont Card is used overseas we get a phone call from our card processor to find out if the transaction is legitimate or not.  The card is automatically frozen until they hear back from us.  In fact in some countries that have a reputation for being hotbeds of fraud and identity theft, Piedmont cards will not work at all without special attention from us.

So if you are planning an overseas trip and you expect to use your debit card, just give us a call to let us know so we won’t turn your card off when you try and use it.  Of course if your card is lost or stolen you can call a toll free number that can be found on our website, which can be viewed anywhere in the world!