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Is There an Optimal Driving Speed that Saves Gas—and Money?

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I don’t think anyone really enjoys filling up the gas tank. It feels like you are just standing around when you could be getting somewhere. If you get gas on your hands or shoes, you smell like it all day. And on top of all this, you actually have to pay for it. With gas prices over $4 a gallon (up to $6 in some states), we are all too painfully aware that gas isn’t cheap.

Of course, there are many things you can do to spend less at the pump. The US Department of Energy has some tips to help you save fuel, which include removing roof cargo and the extra stuff in your trunk, using cruise control, and even turning off your engine while waiting in the drive-through line. You could also reduce how much you drive by carpooling or working from home. Finally—and this is the important one—you could just drive slower. Every car gets better gas mileage at 50 miles per hour than at 70.

But that gives us an interesting problem to solve: What commuting speed saves you the most money?

Here is the dilemma: If you drive fast, it takes more gas, which costs more money. If you drive slower, it takes less gas, so you will save money. But you will also sacrifice time—time you could spend on the clock at work, earning money. There should be some optimal driving speed at which the total cost (gasoline plus missed work) is minimized. This minimum cost will depend on the fuel efficiency of your car and how much you earn per hour.

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Photograph: Joshua Beaven/Getty Images

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.wired.com/story/is-there-an-optimal-driving-speed-that-saves-gas-and-money/?utm_source=pocket_discover

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