Before I get into what this is about, it’s very important that I make it clear that the results I’m presenting here are not final, by any means. The calculations I’m doing are rough and not refined, at all. Consider this more of a “fuzzy” impression rather than an actual result. But these basic calculations still present some interesting findings.
I’ve been waiting a long time to start this post and, originally, I thought it would only be a single post. However, the mathematics to present very specific findings requires some thought and, simply put, I am not proficient in maths.
Consider this a very high-level observation, perhaps more similar to looking at a city from space, as opposed to viewing a house on a specific street.
My final goal, which is not presented here, is to provide calculations that show the amount of fuel, and money, I’ve saved with the savings based on the price of gas at each refueling. That’s not here. Instead, for this post, I’m only working with grand totals and an average for fuel price. And the values that I’ve presented for a couple of “what if my MPG had been lower” scenarios are based on the number of miles that I drove. A true representation of the number of fill-ups would need to account for the fact that I can’t put more than 17 gallons in my car, so if my MPG dropped, I’d actually have more fill-ups.
Back in December my commute to work changed from about 15-20 minutes one way to one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. This significant addition of mileage drove me (no pun intended) to make minor modifications to my vehicle and driving habits to improve my fuel economy. In the beginning I used my vehicle’s built-in Instant MPG data to adjust my coasting and acceleration.
This small move did show an improvement in fuel economy but the digital guage isn’t well placed for frequent checks. I decided to purchase something that was much more obvious as it could be mounted directly onto my dash.
I’ve been using an Auto Meter 9105 ecometer Fuel Consumption Gauge, which costs around $100, and connects directly to the OBD-II port of my vehicle. Not only does it present the data in a much easier format to quickly glance at but I’ve also discovered that the referesh of the data is much faster than that of the built-in guage.
I’d prefer that the display could be dimmed significantly but otherwise it’s nearly perfect. If I’m applying several basic hypermiling habits I can indeed improve fuel economy. My vehicle’s highest MPG rating (highway) is 29 MPG but I’ve been able to achieve 30.29 MPG once and most of the time I hit between 26 and 28 MPG unless I’ve had a lot of in-city driving in my car. I have more MPG data from this year that I may share in a later post.
The guage by itself does nothing to improve fuel economy but it provides the ability to make driving decisions quickly, potentially saving fuel.
Updated 04/18/2018: This device worked great the entire time that I used it. The only reason I stopped using it was because I unintentionally allowed the cable to slip behind the parking break, where it became crimped and shorted (fortunately this didn’t damage the car but I was lucky). But despite no longer having the device I’m left with a much better, innate sense of how to drive my vehicle more efficiently.
I used a dashcam, phone charger and bluetooth adapter in the car for a while but I grew tired of having to manually unplug those devices when not in use or when I turned the car off. Unfortunately, in my 2008 Chevrolet Impala the vehicle would continue to provide power to any plugged in accessories even when the engine was off. Most of these devices are low power but even a dashcam, given enough time, could eventually drain the vehicle batter, especially if the car wasn’t being used for several days.
Re-wiring the electrical system and messing with fuses is beyond my experience so I decided to see if I could find an automotive power strip that would have a built-in power switch and sure enough I was able to find the perfect device.
The EUGIZMO Cigarette Lighter Splitter only costs about $16, offers three DC outlets, four USB power ports, a large power switch for the unit and also a very good visual indicator to show whether or not it is on.
I chose to mount this upside-down, just below the vehicle’s built-in DC power ports. This placement moves most of the power adapters and cables out of the way; whenever I turn the car on or off it’s very easy to just reach down and hit the large power button.
At first affixing the unit beneath the dash was a bit of the problem as the first type of velcro that I had used simply wasn’t holding and it would often come loose during the day. Eventually I ended up using some VELCRO Exterme Outdoor Strips and it hasn’t come loose since.
Updated 04/18/2018: The splitter and power button continue to work perfectly. In addition, the VELCRO has held; it hasn’t come loose yet.