“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Saving the world ..... again

As mentioned in a previous post, I've restarted my efforts to reduce fuel consumption in the LR3 by driving techniques. When I got the vehicle, I attempted to do so but had little success. Now, however, I've carried it to the next level, the most extreme to which I can safely and practically go. I've managed to get my average m.p.g. to slightly above 19.5 in my five tank moving average.

As I've opined over the last couple of posts, the fossil fuel situation is far too dire for such measures alone to save the day. And I've posted earlier estimates of how much fuel might be saved. But if I assume that what I'm doing now more accurately represents what can be done by the average driver than the extremes I achieved in the Grand Cherokee, what does that indicate can be accomplished?

My current three tank moving average of miles per gallon is at 19.55. The LR3 is rated by the EPA at 14 city, 18 highway. I estimate that 60% of my mileage is highway, 40% city, so the blended average mileage should be 0.4*14+0.6*18=16.4 m.p.g. I exceed this by about 3.15 m.p.g., or 19.2%.

As before, based on the complaints I hear and read, I assume that very few people are getting the mileage estimated for their vehicle by the EPA. I'll guess at 90%. I exceed this estimated average by 119.2/90=1.324, or 32.4%, so I use 1/1.324 or .755 (75.5%)as much fuel as the average person would in my vehicle driving my routes. If everyone did this and achieved the same results, it would be a reduction of 24.5% in transportation fuel usage in the personal vehicle sector.

According to this wonderful web site two thirds of U.S. oil use is in the transportation sector. I have read (I can't find sources right now) that half of transportation fuel use is in private (as opposed to commercial) vehicles. And about 19.5 gallons of gasoline comes from each of the 21 million barrels of oil we use daily. So of the 409,500,000 gallons of gasoline used each day, 24.5% or right at 100 million gallons could be saved. This is the gasoline from 5,145,000 barrels of oil.

Of course, the other 22 or so gallons of product from a barrel of oil aren't thrown away when gasoline is refined, so we wouldn't save that many barrels, but I estimate that well over two million barrels per day could be saved, 10% of our consumption and about 15% of our imports. Obviously, we won't achieve the chimeric goal of energy independence by these measures, but they could buy us some time. A side benefit would be the reduction of our trade deficit by over $4 billion per month.

As I've often pointed out in these articles, these savings won't come free, the payment will be in hours of time spent on the road instead of at work or with family, friends, etc. That price will seem more and more worth paying as scarcity increases and prices rise.

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