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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gas for $1.30 a gallon in Columbia?


       Bet I got your attention on this subject heading.  Stay with me on explaining the heading.  Have you noticed how fast the cost of gas risen in the past few weeks?  It seems like we are at the mercy of the oil companies on what we have to pay at the pump.  So taking things into my own hands a couple of weeks ago I decided to try an experiment to see if I could have more control over what I pay for a gallon of gas.  You say we can't control that?  What follows is my attempt to take some control of the price.
      A few months ago I bought a Toyota Camry that has a fuel saving system called "Eco." I had watched as the Eco light would go on and off depending on how I drove.  When I accelerated quickly the light would go off and then come on when I reached my desired speed.  The rate at which I accelerated determined how long the light would go off.  So I decided to try an experiment and turn the Eco light off and drive for 100 miles with the light off.  I can tell the average gas mileage that I got during that time on my dash.  I averaged 23.1 miles a gallon driving normally with the light off.  Next I reset the trip computer and turned back on the Eco light.  Trying to keep the Eco light on as much as possible I wanted to see what my average gas mileage would be.  Accelerating slowly, maintaining a constant speed and slowing down when I approached a red light I found I could keep the Eco light on about 95% of the time.  I couldn't help but notice how often other drivers would try and pass me when I accelerated at a slower pace.  I usually caught back up to them waiting for the next red light.  Average mileage per gallon this time was 29.7 miles a gallon.  A 29% savings in gas usage.
      So when I filled up at $1.93 a gallon and saving 10 cents by using my credit card that gives me 5% cash back I was at $1.83 a gallon.  By using the Eco light I saved another 53 cents (29% less gas used a gallon) a gallon bringing down the cost of a gallon of gas to $1.30.
      Of course this whole discussion on what a gallon of gas costs is mostly related to the type of vehicle we drive and how we drive.  Drive a Prius and you pay a fraction of what you pay per gallon to drive a Toyota Tundra truck or a GM Denali.  I am always amazed when I see a GM Denali with only one person in the vehicle.  Talk about overkill.

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