Thursday, June 14, 2007

Optimization Game

50 mpg! Do I hear 51? 52? I have a new mini-obsession, training myself to drive my new Prius to optimize its gas mileage. It has a real-time display of current gas mileage as well as a histogram of the last 30 minutes of mileage on its very space-age multi-function display. Also steering-wheel-mounted controls for audio and climate (HOTAS!) and an MP3-CD player! And a HUD! And hover engines! And it runs on sugar water! Well it has most of that anyway. It's all very 21st century to me (my last car was a 1998 Camry).

The optimization bit is really working. I haven't kept a daily record, but on my 20 mile, 25 minute drive to work, I started out a week ago (new) getting 48 mpg and now I routinely get 50 and sometimes 51. It's mostly being smoother on the gas and brakes, not getting faster than I need to get, taking advantage of terrain (coasting whenever possible), stuff like that. Sometimes traffic hurts me, as does the A/C if I have to run it (not much recently - it's been cool for June). The savings in doing 51 vs. 48 mpg on a 20 mile trip is not significant - but I still like this optimization game, as well as whatever small contribution the Prius makes to the environment by burning less fuel.

Oh yeah, the picture. My other car is an F-4 Phantom. With an A-10 Warthog nose sticking out of it. Covered with tarps. At an air museum.

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