Saturday, May 3, 2008

Slow Down America !!!!!

Yesterday I had to go to Busch Gardens for an interview for the supervisor position I applied for in the Culinary Dept. It is 12 miles to Busch Gardens from where we are staying. In the 75 minutes that I was gone, there were three accidents on I-64 that I saw....either on the way there or on the way home. People drive like maniacs on this road and several people have told us that they prefer the back roads to driving on this route. Luckily the first accident was just past the BG exit so I could drive up the shoulder and still get off the road for my appointment.
Since buying our truck and 5th wheel we had researched what was the ideal speed to drive at for optimum miles per gallon. I think I may have talked about this in a previous post but it is worth repeating. When I leave for work in the morning, I set the cruise at 58 m.p.h. and it takes me 15 minutes to get there. Although the speed LIMIT is 65 on this route, it doesn't mean that we should automatically drive at 70 or more. DUH ! Kind of like the "supersize" concept that fast food has created....if we make it bigger then they will "want" to buy it and we'll make more money..This is true ! Research shows that by giving someone a bigger size they will eat 45% more food than if they were given a smaller portion and could get more. So, back to fuel efficiency....As a rule of thumb, fuel consumption increases approximately .08 MPG for every 1 MPH above 55 MPH. In other words, increasing vehicle speed from 65 MPH to 70 MPH will increase fuel consumption by .4 MPG. Not earth shattering but think about it on a global scale (or at least in the US...wouldn't want to slow the folks down on the Autobahn where the recommended speed is 81)....This would save a significant amount of gasoline. I know the difference it makes when we go 57 vs 60 in the big truck...we drop from 10 m.p.g to 8 and need to find a truck stop a whole lot quicker than if we'd gone slower.
To get an idea of how these measures add up, just look at the airline industry. High fuel prices are killing them. And so, little things can mean a lot. For example Southwest Airlines has started flying slightly slower. It projects that it will save $42 million in fuel this year by extending each flight by one to three minutes. On one Northwest Airlines flight from Paris to Minneapolis last week, flying at an average speed of 532 miles an hour instead of the usual 542 m.p.h., the airline saved 162 gallons of fuel, worth $535. Slowing down added a mere eight minutes to a nine-hour flight!

BESIDES SLOWING DOWN, airlines have lightened their loads. US Airways has replaced heavy meal carts with models that are 12 pounds lighter, saving $1.7 million a year in fuel. The airline also tossed the glassware in first class in favor of less jet-set but lighter plastic cups. Carriers also are pulling magazine racks, trash compactors and ovens.

American Airlines capped electrical outlets in the lavatories and cut the power converters from the wall. It took out phones in seat backs and removed the heavy telephone wiring that was folded inside -- saving the airline millions of dollars a year.

JetBlue's aircraft are 1,079 pounds lighter after removing extra trash bins, flight kits, supplies and seats -- "all the little things that, when combined, make a decent difference," JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said. The weight loss will save the carrier roughly $16,000 for a three-hour flight.

How much junk is in your trunk ? I know that a man, here in the campground, gave Linda a TV that he was going to get rid of and guess where we're carrying it ? Yep, in the car...gotta find a new home for that.
So, remember when the national speed limit was 55. There was good reason for that....slow down a life and save money too !!

**Thanks to RV Travel for the tidbits on the airline industry.

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