Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running On Empty

The most exciting time we've ever had driving economically.  

Dylan and I were driving back from Eugene to Corvallis.  I was in dire need of gas because the meter was at the last tick.  The estimated miles was calculated to be 34miles.  I remember from Eugene to the Shell near Corvallis was around 30-something miles.  We both thought the same stupid idea.  Could we make it before the gas runs out?  As you may know by now, we like a challenge. 

So off we went.  I was really tired, so I let D take the wheel.  It was a hell of an adventure for the next 40 minutes.  We had to drive around 60mph the whole way and we might not even make it.   So we thought of everything we could to conserve gas.  We closed the windows and sunroof.   We turned off the stereo.  We turned off the headlamps (luckily the sun was still out).  We turned off the A/C (shit. the sun's still out).  It was around 8 o clock so the sun was at perfect eye level, blinding the hell out of us, baking the inside of the oven that we had just created.  But whatever, we are not going to back down.  

Beads of sweat started forming and the temperature was rising.  I looked at the GPS.  16miles to go.  Looked at the estimated miles left: 18 MILES.   okay we're in good shape.  So I turn on the fan to cool off a little bit, you know, so as to not suffocate?  Instantly, the meter jumps down to 15Miles.  I panic and shut the fans off.  What the heck just happened?!  at this point we're yelling and panicking not knowing what to do.  He's yelling at me for turning on the fans, I'm yelling back for him to calm down and focus, it was a mess.  

But wait.  We see a big semi truck coming ahead of us.  We both smiled.  Let's draft that sommabich all the way there!  Cutting out all that headwind+aerodynamics mumbo jumbo would be huge for us.  So the next 11 miles D is trying his hardest to stay as close as he can to that semi.  It gets nerve racking as I look between the GPS and the mileage meter.  7...7,  6....6,  4....3  NOOOO what happened?!  we're so close!  1.2 ....0  a big fat zero shows up on the meter.  and we have 1.2 miles to go.  What does this mean?!  We're panicking even more than before, I'm imagining hiking over a mile for gas.  It was like waiting for a time bomb to explode.  

But it never did.  We coasted in neutral to exit, and slowly drove into the Shell station.  We made it!!  I look over at the data meter thing and was ecstatic.   I had driven nearly 500miles on that one tank.  Record broken!

I usually get around 400 for a tank.  but 496.2! That came out to 36.25 MPG.  (previous record was 462miles from my Davis to Eugene trip on one tank)

Who knew driving economically could be so fun?  The ambition, the panic, the pure joy.  Now I know why "Hypermilers" do what they do.  This can easily turn into an addiction.  Good times ol' chap.  Good times.


Cora L. said...

WOW that's some risky business. Good job though, I'm glad you didn't get stranded!

I didn't realize headlights had anything to do with fuel consumption, I thought they ran off of the battery ?

Henry Tran said...

This reminds me of when we tried to put the car on neutral and use our forward momentum to push ourselves on the straight path to Emerald's place.

Good times.

Chun Lick said...

@hen: haha yea, great for the abs.

@Cora: I think any electrical uses in a car affects fuel consumption (but very minimally). Something about a higher draw from the battery causes the alternator to work harder which puts an increased load on the engine.

Fishy said...

Can you imagine if there was ONE more person? That'll probably mean more weight and that'll probably mean.. *dun dun DUN*