Sunday, June 24, 2012

Your Mileage May Vary

Did you know that you can improve your gas mileage by lowering your speed to 55 MPH? Of course you did. Last night, I had this idea for a blog post, so I went searching for some websites that would give me a good source for this "tale" I heard my driver's ed teacher tell me so many decades ago.

Coming back from a great vacation, I find that some of these tips for more efficient driving are a ver sensible way to approach my desire to craft my 12-step program for over-committers anonymous. All tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Observe the Speed Limit While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph.
One of the causes of emotional burnout is that I'm working too much and too fast to be present in what I'm doing. Life is flying at great speed. I want to strangle people who tell me to "enjoy my children now, because it all goes too fast." It goes fast, because I'm packing too much into my work that I can't stop working even after the work day ends. I really don't want to be constantly checking email because I *think* there's something important I might miss. The truth is that I allow work at home so that I keep busy enough that I can't possibly think about... 
Really? That again? It's not really that present in my thoughts 24/7. I've spent most of my life training to be busy enough that I barely think about it any more. I realize it's going to take some time to change the cycle to be NOT working all the time. Slowing down will fill my time with better quality work. 
That 10 minutes I come across in between meetings? Maybe a few Sun Salutations or Downward Dog.

Remove Excess Weight Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Apparently, gravity sucks for cars and bodies alike. This post isn't going to tangentially rant about my weight issues. But, there it is; the perfect analogy. I should take the Dr. Oz RealAge test for another reminder of what I already know.
Avoid Excessive Idling Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.
At the end of the work day, I need to stop working. (duh!) It's actually a little more than that. I need to figure out a way to know that I've reached the end of 10 hours of commitment to work, and use the rest of my waking hours for joyful things. Not that I don't get joy out of my work. Clearly, I just need to know when to work at work; be satisfied that I did a fair amount of work at work, and use the four hours left in my day to tend to things that bring me peace; things I never seem to find time to do. Cleaning my house before it becomes a critical mess, exercise, other domestic things, reading my Celtic book library, enjoying friends.... why shouldn't I allow more time for these things?
Use Cruise Control Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas. 
I know this sounds a little anal - but my cruise control should be a schedule in which I don't allow distractions at work. Oh, and saying "no, I wish I could, but I don't have time" a little more.
Use Overdrive Gears When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
I honestly don't know what this means for driving techniques. I'm going to interpret this analogy to my over-committer's anonymous 12-step program by saying that I've got to trust that work will be fine when I'm not there.

Over-committing is really such a silly thing to do. And yet, it's amazing how much of it I allow. I think I need to find a sponsor.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. Now if only I would actually take some of that advice instead of just intending to.