I was over at the San Jose Mercury News when I stumbled upon an article concerning a gas mileage challenge. It seems that one the SJMN reporters owns a Toyota Prius, that he admits he drives over the speed limit most of the time, heading up Hwy #101 towards Brisbane daily. So the challenge was, that if he could increase his gas mileage by 20%, his cohort would buy him a tank of gas.

In the article it states:

I got 59.9 miles a gallon going 60 or under in our Prius, compared to 42 mpg at speeds that would have made me prime bait for the Fab Five, the Highway Patrol’s elite anti-speeding team that has written around 15,000 tickets in less than two years in the South Bay.

Geez, 59.9 mpg – a 30 percent improvement. I drove an extra 117 miles on a tank of gas by merely slowing. That’s like lowering the price at the pump by 20 to 30 cents a gallon – and about 10 mpg better than Prius EPA estimates. 

But it was this one statement that caught my eye:

But multiply a few gallons saved a week by every driver, and maybe there’s no need to drill in the Pacific Ocean.

I read an article some where which stated that the car companies [the Big 3 in the U.S.], had fought congress for years when the politicians wanted to increase the mileage that cars got.  The auto makers claimed that is not what the American public wanted. They wanted big SUV’s and big trucks. Because of this , our thirst for oil continued to increase.

But how about if we went back to the old 55 mph speed limit on our highways? Doesn’t this make sense? If we just reduced our consumption by as little as 5%, wouldn’t this help to lower prices?

What do you think? Should we keep out current speeds, dig for more oil, and keep our fingers crossed? Or is it time to get serious about our driving habits?