Monthly Archives: August 2008

Sealth to the Rescue

I don’t want to go overboard here, but when the ferry Elwha crapped out in the San Juans this morning, there was a boat available to replace it … without screwing up any other routes … just like it’s supposed to work.

The San Juans had to scale down from a 144-car boat to a 90-car boat, but at least there was a ferry sitting at Eagle Harbor waiting to fill in.

I read somewhere that the Elwha was being towed to Anacortes, but Washington State Ferries said it made it under its own power. The 200 people and 100 cars got off just fine, although a little late.

The ferries system said the Elwha is out of service until later this week while repairs to its propulsion-control cooling system are made.

HYPERMILING: Is Gas Still Expensive?

When I pulled up to the gas pump today, I imagined the person before me doing a mental sprint over their bank balance. Eight dollars to spare. (Maybe they just filled up a gas can for the lawnmower, but you never know.)

When I filled up, disappointment. I’d seen it coming. Only 32.6 mpg. Still better that the old days of 28. I think three things were at work here. 1.) More city driving brought the number down. (Don’t assume you’ll always get the same mpg. The mix of city/highway driving matters.) 2.) There was one day when I was in a hurry (Again, I know. You can scold me.) and I didn’t drive conservatively. 3.) I’m pretty sure my alignment is a tad off, I know my tires need to be rotated and I need an oil change. I’m hoping the oil change and tire rotation will help me out. (And that the tire rotation fixes the alignment issue so I don’t have to pay for a regular alignment.)

Oh, and the question? Yes, gas has dropped in price, but it’s still plenty expensive.

HYPERMILING: The Gas Pedal Has Had Enough!


That’s right, Nissan is developing the “ECO pedal”:

Nissan Motor Co said on Monday it has developed an accelerator pedal that can push back on the driver’s foot when it detects excess pressure and poor fuel efficiency.

The article goes on to say the company claims it can improve fuel efficiency 5-10 percent. Apparently it will also come with a real-time fuel use gauge, which to me sounds similar to the major function of the ScanGaugue.

The ECO pedal makes me immediately think of an egg. Let me explain.

I have a free ECO pedal. It’s called my foot.

Instead of relying on my car’s computer, I let the ol’ soggy noodle do the work. Admittedly, sometimes it fails. But here’s my tip for gentler acceleration and improved MPG ratings.I got the idea from tips I’d read about driving in the snow, in which people suggest treating the brake pedal like you’ve got an egg between the pedal and your foot. Nice and gentle. With hypermiling, think of the gas pedal the same way. In fact, I’ve taken to lightly resting my foot on the gas, and leaning into it slightly just with my big toe.