The one question that every car owner wants to know the answer to – does driving slow really save gas? There are two answers to this question. Find out in this Buzzle write-up.
Between 40 mph and 50 mph is considered the ideal speed to drive at, so that your car consumes optimum gas.
How Does it Really Help?
When you drive at a speed above 50 mph, the engine consumes more fuel to go faster.
Movies like Gone in 60 Seconds, and Fast and Furious (the entire series) may inspire you to drive fast and aggressive. Doing so will not only get us a speeding ticket, but will also increases the amount of gas consumed by our cars. Driving slower does save fuel, but driving too slow does not. In fact, when we drive too slow, gas consumption increases. When you drive too fast, your car’s gas consumption increases from anywhere between 5-33%. A car’s gas consumption always depends on the way it is driven; the better you drive, better will be its fuel economy.
This article gives you the reasons why we save money when we drive slow, and also why driving too slow is bad for fuel economy.
Speed and Fuel Economy
When you drive like a NASCAR driver, especially on the freeway, you need to hit the brakes more often to prevent colliding into other cars. You also need to down-shift (in manual transmission cars), so depressing the clutch in such circumstances is unavoidable. Therefore, more gas goes into your engine, and gets burnt.
The common belief is that when you are driving on the highway, you get a better gas mileage than in the city. But, many people think that the faster you drive, lesser gas will be consumed. Now this is true only to up to a certain speed. The faster you drive on the highway, more is the aerodynamic drag, due to which the car needs more power to overcome this resistance. Subsequently, your car consumes more gas on the highway if you are not driving at the specified optimum speed of 40-60 mph.
When you drive fast, apart from the thrill and adrenaline rush you experience, you also increase the probability of an accident, and in the process may also end up ruining your car.
According to the U.S Environment Protection Agency (EPA), people save at least 20% more fuel by driving between 40 mph and 50 mph, than those who drive rash, fast, and aggressive.
Driving slow, i.e., at a moderate speed averaging between 40 mph and 50 mph, saves fuel. This moderate speed differs with each car model, so to avoid confusion and controversies regarding speed, it is safe to say that driving within the speed limit is good for the car. How?
When you drive your car at a moderate and regulated speed, you are not pushing the engine of the car to perform. Due to this, engine requires lesser gas, and the parts in the car’s engine undergo lesser wear and tear. The wheels do not wear out quickly, neither do your brakes, and clutch. The piston rings, catalytic converter, cylinder walls, oil and air filter, compressor belt, etc., remain in good condition when you drive slower. Driving slower requires one to change his driving style. So, instead of flooring the accelerator, one tends to gently depress it. When you drive slower, you don’t have to brake hard, or accelerate fast too, therefore, obtain better mileage, and also save money on car maintenance.
Driving Too Slow
- 1st gear speed should be between 0 and 10 mph.
- 2nd gear speed should be between 10 mph and 20 mph.
- 3rd gear speed should be between 20 mph and 30 mph.
- 4th gear speed should be between 30 mph and 40 mph.
- 5th gear speed should be above 40 mph.
We know what driving too fast does to a car, but did you know that driving too slow is also bad for a car? If you are driving at 20 mph in a 50 mph zone, your car is going to probably consume the same or more amount of gas, what’s more, you are going to reach late at your intended destination.
Also, while driving too slowly, you are going to use the heater or air conditioner for a longer period of time (since you will be spending more time in the car), this eventually will require more power from the engine resulting in more gas consumption. Another factor while driving too slowly that can affect gas consumption is driving in the appropriate gear (in case of manual shift). The adjoining section illustrates the desirable speed ranges for manual transmission.
The best way to save gas is to drive within the specified speed limit, or the speed mentioned in the owner’s manual. Driving in the right gear (in case of manual transmission) at the right speed, is the best thing one can do to save money on gas.
When it comes to driving, everyone has a different theory which they stick to. Some theories are spot on, but some are just myths and superstitions. Whenever in doubt, open the owner’s manual and read through it, as it gives you all the information you need about the car model that you own. Always drive carefully, in a moderate speed, and save fuel.