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On August 4th, I participated in the Honda CRV Challenge (cleanmpg thread here) against Houston's KPRC Local 2 Investigates Amy Davis.  We both drove brand new 2008 Hondas from the Houston station to downtown Austin and back to Houston by taking Highway 290.  Temperatures were well over 100 degrees.  It was 102 in the car mid-afternoon cooling to a chilly 94 degrees.  I made poor John holding a hot camera suffer in the heat.  Pictures of me sweating profusely were taken, and I'm not embarrassed to post them.  :o)  After a delicious lunch at Moonshine Bar and Grill in Downtown Austin, we headed back hoping to pick up some more miles per gallon (MPG).  Tropical Storm Edouard had other plans in mind.  The storm was supposed to hit Houston the next day, and winds were picking up.  High winds, especially crosswinds, can decrease your fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.  I can't get a break anywhere. 

The cleanmpg thread will have more technical details, but yes, I did break the 40 miles per gallon mark.  On the segment home, I pulled 42.3 miles per gallon.  Note in the picture below that I only used a little over half a tank of gas for the entire trip.  I lost 0.2 at the 2 toll way plazas on Beltway 8.  Below are some fun pics of me sweating like crazy, pics of me with Amy Davis and my photographer, John Barone.  More to come when I've had some sleep. 

Segment to air on Houston's KPRC Local 2 Investigates on Friday, August 8, 2008.

A few things that could have increased my MPG:

  • Lighter car - I had an additional passenger with heavy camera equipment
  • A car with a few more miles on it - cars break in after 10k miles
  • Tires that have been broken in - they were brand new.
  • No wind resistance from Tropical Storm Eduardo
  • Manual instead of automatic transmission

EPA for the 2008 Honda CRV says: 20 city/ 27 highway

Final numbers: Amy Davis - 26 mpg vs. Jennie Chen - 42.3 mpg!

Some of my personal tips:

  • Try to not be on the gas or the brake.  I'm only on the gas if I'm accelerating.
  •  Air up your tires to the sidewall pressure. This is what is on the tires itself.
  • Get an alignment if your car needs it. It probably does.
  • No jackrabbit starts, no racing, no flooring it, and no peeling out.
  • Learn to look ahead on the road. Don't just look at the next light coming up. Look at all the lights coming up. This is true for any type of driving. When you are aware of what is coming up, then you can properly set up your car.
  • Try to find a route that requires less stops and less left turns. Left turns waste more gas.
  •  No drive thrus and no idling. Your car wastes more gas "warming up" than you save getting it up to optimal temp.
  • Avoid driving in traffic or during rush hour. Driving when there are less cars on the road will not only give you more space to drive efficiently, but it's also safer than having to deal with crowds of impatient people zipping through lanes and speeding.
  •  Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Speed limit or slower.