Is there an optimal driving speed that saves gas and money?

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I do not think so everyone really enjoy filling the gas tank. It feels like you’re just standing there when you could get somewhere. If you get gas on your hands or shoes, you smell it all day long. And on top of that you really have to pay for it. With gas prices over $4 a gallon (up to $6 in some states), we’re all too painfully aware that gas isn’t cheap.

There are, of course, many things you can do to spend less on the pump. The U.S. Department of Energy has some tips to help you conserve fuel, such as removing roof cargo and the extra stuff in your trunk, using cruise control, and even turning off your engine while you wait in the drive-through line. . You can also drive less by carpooling or working from home. Finally – and this is the most important – you can just slow down. Any car will get better gas mileage at 50 miles per hour than at 70.

But that leaves us with an interesting problem to solve: What commute speed saves you the most money?

Here’s the dilemma: if you drive fast, it takes more gas, which costs more money. If you drive slower, you use less gas, so you save money. But you’ll also be sacrificing time — time you could spend on the clock at work, to make money. There must be an optimal driving speed where the total cost (gasoline plus missed work) is kept to a minimum. These minimum costs depend on the fuel consumption of your car and how much you earn per hour.

Fuel consumption and speed

If you start your engine and just idle there, you’re still consuming gasoline. (Electric vehicle drivers, this doesn’t apply to you.) At zero miles per hour, your gas mileage will be 0 miles per gallon (mpg), since you haven’t actually gone anywhere. Increasing the speed to 10 mph will also increase your fuel efficiency as it cannot go below 0 mpg. But it may not be the best gas mileage. Your car is still using gas to run the engine (and the AC and your very loud radio), and you’re not traveling far.

Once you get to much faster speeds, you have a number of other factors ruining your efficiency. One is all the air your car is now pushing against as it moves. Your engine has to work harder so that it can turn your tires and keep the car moving forward despite this resistance. You can see the effect of air resistance if you shift your car from idle to neutral while driving on a flat surface and take your foot off the brake. This interaction with the air will cause the car to slow down.

The magnitude of this backward pushing force, known as air resistance, increases with speed. You can feel this resistance if you stick your hand out the window of a moving car. When the car is moving slowly, you hardly feel that power. At highway speeds, it’s pretty important.

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