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55 MPH = Optimal Fuel Efficiency

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Samerwriter ran a relatively unscientific study on fuel efficiency where he plugged the ScanGauge into his car and monitored its fuel efficiency against his speed. He confirmed an often stated idea that driving around 55 MPH resulted in the most efficient use of fuel and that efficiency dropped significantly as you approached higher and higher speeds. Despite it’s unscientific nature and the fact that the idea was widely accepted anyway, seeing real life data from a real person, and not some group sponsored by someone else, is pretty eye opening.

(While you’re there, check out his plans to generate more income in 2007, it’s interesting stuff)

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7 Responses to “55 MPH = Optimal Fuel Efficiency”

  1. samerwriter says:

    Thanks for the link! I’m working on a whole series of articles on how to best take advantage of employee stock options, restricted stock units, and stock purchase plan options.

    Well, it’s probably not right to say “how to best take advantage”, but it’s the best way I can figure out how to take advantage of them anyway…

  2. Matthew says:

    There’s nothing really magical about 55 MPH. Since aerodynamic drag scales with the square of velocity, then operating at the lowest RPM in your vehicle’s highest gear is going to yield the most efficient fuel consumption.

    Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle for any considerable distance probably has an intuitive understanding of this idea already.

  3. jim says:

    True, but how often do read about a regular old joe strap a gizmo onto their engine to get some good specific data? Also, I have a pretty good intuitive understanding of how planes fly but that doesn’t make me a pilot – it’s easy to be dismissive of others.

  4. 1mil says:

    Is that why there are all those slow pokes in the fast lane? They should have auto-destruct segmens of the highway that explode if youre not going a minimal speed. Wait um, no. hehe. Just get a hybrid i say!

    your friend in finance and gas efficiency,
    1mil from millionster.com

  5. Yan says:

    It is the most optimal speed unless you are driving over the speed limit. :-)

    The heading really sounds like everyone should be driving 55mph

  6. andy says:

    I drive a 2006 Ford Fusion. My experience has been that faster highway speeds get me better mileage – for example, driving from Denver to Fort Collins on I-25, doing around 75MPH, got me 32MPG. As that is the high end of where my car is rated, I can’t see 55MPH going much over that, although I might have to test it next time. If it turns out to be a 0.4 MPG difference, well, I think I can sacrifice some fuel to end up at my destination 10 minutes earlier. :)

    Within the city, I get between 22-24 MPG, but that’s primarily due to the stop and go nature of city driving, so I can’t really compare that.

  7. Mark says:

    Wow, I guess I’m a baddie when it comes to fuel efficiency – I usually average 110mph on the highway, lol.

    P.S. – that’s because my pos car can’t really go any faster than that :-)


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