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Speeding Cuts Your Efficiency By 30 Percent

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On: Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 5:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

Speeding Cuts Your Efficiency By 30 Percent

Many people love speeding. Some of them don't even really think of it as speeding; they find a speed that feels comfortable for the size and feel of the road, and do it. Sometimes it's five miles per hour over the speed limit; sometimes it's 20. Some folks aren't comfortable unless they're going as fast as they possibly can. 

A new study reveals that those types might want to ease up on the accelerator, at least if money is of any consideration. Speeding, it turns out, wastes around 30 percent of your gas. The study wasn't funded by the National Association of Police Organizations, either, but by Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports monitored fuel economy in five different cars—three Ford Fusion models, a Honda Accord, and a Toyota RAV4. It compared the fuel economies when traveling at 55, 65, and 75 mph. In every instance, fuel economy dropped significantly in the faster bracket, anywhere from four mpg to eight mpg per 10 additional mph of speed. The most drastic difference between 55 mph and 75 mph was in the Ford Fusion Titanium 2.0 4-cylinder, which lost 32 percent (13 mpg). The Honda Accord LX 4-cylinder lost more mpg (14), but a lower percentage (29 percent) due to its higher fuel economy.

Based on those tests, Consumer Reports (CR) estimates that travelling 200 miles at 75 instead of 55 wastes 1½ to 2 gallons and costs you about $5 to $7. Of course, it also saves you an hour, and most people's time is worth more than minimum wage. CR further extrapolates that for every 1,000 miles at 75 mph, you're increasing your carbon footprint by 7 to 10 gallons and throwing away about $30.

Of course, the test isn't all that practical in the real world. While 55 mph is the speed limit on many roads, some roads have 65, 75, even 80-mph speed limits. On those roads, going 55 mph is likely to be impractical given the pace of traffic behind and around you.

As one commenter points out, those numbers would likely continue to go down if CR tested at 45 mph, 35, etc. And again, eventually you get to a speed that's just too slow for the average road.

While CR's tests don't apply universally to every real-world driving situation, they do provide another tangible deterrent for speeding. If the speed limit says "55 mph," you may want to save some cash and adhere to it.


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