In the light of rocketing fuel prices, my concerns for the planet and more importantly (;)) my wallet, and my inability to do without my vehicle to get around, I have become very interested in driving to save fuel.
There was a little thing on the radio recently about hypermiling, but this stuff seems more suited to automatics with cruise control. Since I drive a bog-standard British manual with no cruise control, I turned to the British government’s lame-ass eco-driving tips, that have at least started me changing up a gear before I get to 2,500 revs, and not exceeding 2,500 revs in 5th gear (which is about 60 mph) when I can help it. It seems to be working: my 50 liter tank usually takes me 450 miles, but since I’ve been accelerating slower I’ve already got 460 miles from one tank and will get about another 10 (and I’ve only been doing this for half a tank too - and my ex has been practicing to drive on the car, which means it’s been revved to shit on that tank too).
But there are a few things I’d like definitive answers for.
1. If moving at speed, does the car in neutral use more or less gas than the car decelerating?
If I’m stationary and put the car into neutral, the tickover engine speed is 750 rpm.
If I’m cruising at 50mph and slip the car into neutral, it does 1,000 rmp (presumably as a result of the computer noting the road speed and pre-empting a change into a lower gear).
If I’m cruising at 50mph in 5th gear, the engine is doing 2,000 rpm. If I take my foot off the gas, it’s still doing 2,000 revs, which decreases proportionally with my slowly reducing road speed.
Several dopers have opined in the past that modern fuel injection systems actually put less gas through the engine when you take your foot off the gas than they do at tickover - but presumably there must still be some fuel. I’m guessing this is because the wheels keep the engine rotating, wheras at idle, more fuel is required to keep the engine rotating. So, is this true, and can anyone point me to some evidence that it is indeed so?
2. If I accelerate fast, does it use significantly more gas than accelerating to the same speed slowly?
Scenario #1: I am stationary and I want to be doing 60 mph. I slam my foot down and I get to that speed after 10 seconds, then cruise for a further 10 seconds.
Scenario #2: I take 20 seconds to reach 60 mph.
I have seen the assertion that scenario #1 is more efficient than scenario #2 because you are at cruising speed faster, but it seems counterintuitive. Does slamming the foot down on the accelerator increase the amount of gas going into the engine by multiples of a gentler accelerator position? Eco-driving and hypermiling definitely think so. Are there any figures available?
3. Does turning my car off then on again waste gas?
So I’m stopped at lights. I turn my engine off completely to save gas, then restart when traffic begins to move again.
I’ve heard that starting it up again will likely waste more gas than I saved with the engine off.
Does it in fact use a lot of gas to get a modern engine started? If it does, is there a cutoff point were I could estimate that the amount of gas wasted by engine restart would be less than the savings made by leaving it on tickover (see point 1!). (I drove a 1980s VW Passat that had this as a shortcut feature on the steering column, but I’ve never seen it since.)
Lots of questions, but they’ve been bugging me for a while, and in particular when this subject comes up in pub conversations, everyone seems to have a vehemently-held opinion, but no evidence to back it up.