Our Radical Gas-Saving Tip: Drive 55 (or whatever the speed limit is)

Memorial Day Weekend is coming and -- in spite of crazy high gas prices --
more Americans than ever are planning to get away by car. But hey, it doesn't have to cost as much as you think.

As you probably know, there are lots of ways to save gas (checked your tires lately?), but the easiest and most effective way is to slow down -- even just a little bit.

It got my attention when I read the other day that jets are slowing down to save money -- it works for them, too. But how much can you save, really?The Union of Concerned Scientists tells us that dropping from 70 to 60 mph improves fuel efficiency by an average of 17.2 percent. Dropping from 75 to 55 improves fuel efficiency by 30.6 percent!

Put another way, in a family sedan, every 10 mph you drive over 60 is like paying 54 cents per gallon more for gas you bought at $3.25 a gallon. That extra cost is even higher if you're buying more expensive gas, and for big SUVs and other less-efficient vehicles. (If you want to know when flying is a better choice than driving as carbon emissions go, take this quiz.)

And the time you save by going easy on the accelerator may not add up to as much as you thought. On a 300-mile trip, driving 65 instead of 70 mph would cost you only 20 minutes -- but save money and spew less carbon.

This Memorial Day Weekend, the Sierra Club is asking people to Pledge to Drive 55 -- or whatever the speed limit is where you're going -- since going even 5 mph above the speed limit makes a difference. Poor Sammy Hagar can't do it, but I bet you can.

More on Driving 55 in TreeHugger:
55 MPH: It's time to bring it back.
Survey: Should America go back to 55 MPH?
Discuss in the Forums

Image credit::Flickr, I can't drive...55!!!

Tags: Energy Efficiency