Posts Tagged ‘car’

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Break Transit Summary: Car (with Parents)

December 9, 2007

12-9.jpgThis is the final post of a 4-part series evaluating my varied travel experiences over a week holiday.

After a delicious Thanksgiving holiday I headed home from St. Louis with my parents in my dad’s 2005 GMC Yukon. In my ideal world we would have taken my mother’s 2003 Toyota Prius which gets about 40 mpg. However as my aunt had made my mom a sizable piece of furniture for her birthday we needed the Yukon’s trunk space and so settled with the painful 17 mpg highway. To be completely honest, we probably would have taken the Yukon anyway, even though it costs $120 more in gas and releases 1236lbs in extra CO2 roundtrip. My dad prefers the Yukon’s roominess. I must admit it’s pretty easy to fall asleep in the backseat, but I abhor driving this behemoth.

This was easily the “worst” leg of my journey environmentally. But it fascinating to learn just how “green” the Prius really is when compared to the current kings of the road. My efficiency data came from www.fueleconomy.gov; a site I highly recommend for anyone considering a car purchase. Besides showing the EPA’s estimate of gas usage, they display information graphically and with “real-life” assessments such as “how much does it cost to drive 25 miles?” Nearly all makes and models from 1985-present are included. Surprisingly, the figures were recently recalculated to reflect more accurately driving speeds and climate, which has caused most of the ratings to go down. Go see how your car compares!

Other posts in this series:

Car

Bus

Train

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Break Transit Summary: Car

November 17, 2007

Although I successfully drove 6 hours and change from college to home, there were a few missteps along the way. I realized I should evaluate my trips this week based on my earlier advice in posts here and here. Here is the first installment of that summary:

Yesterday I drove myself from my school in the rural mid-Atlantic to my home in central Ohio, a journey of about 360 miles over the Appalachian Mountains and rolling hills of southern Ohio. Although I did post on a rideboard, I failed to gain any passengers for the trip. Ohioans do not form a large percentage of the student body, nor was my early morning departure conducive to the schedules of most students.

At the first gas station I checked the air in my tires against the ratings printed along the rim. Finding them vastly under-inflated, splurged 75 cents for the air pump along with my tank of gas and a candy bar. BAD IDEA. It was only after driving about 200 miles that I spoke with my mother who informed me that the psi rating on the tire is the maximum limit, and that tires should only be inflated to the amount listed on the edge of the driver’s side door. As my tires were somewhat overinflated I was lucky to not have suffered a blowout.

Contrary to my own advice, I found it very difficult to resist going at least a few miles over the speed limit. On a 6 hour journey each extra mph equals about 5-6 minutes saved travel time. This coupled with the high speed limits on interstate freeways meant I was certainly not optimizing my gas mileage. However, I calculated that my miles per gallon for the trip was 28.7, which is higher than the highway rating for my ’98 Chevy, so it’s hard to feel horrible about that time saved.

Although my driving habits may not be perfect, I do feel pretty good about the condition in which I left my room. I brought my valuables home to avoid theft, which was easy given that I don’t own many expensive things. I also turned off my power strips to avoid phantom drain during the next week. The only item left on was the mini-fridge, but we needed to keep the butter and a few other items cold during our absence.

Today I travel by bus to Chicago. It’s my first trip using a commercial bus line, so I’m curious to see how it fares in terms of comfort and convenience.