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Hypermiling Myself to Divorce Court

Hypermiling Myself to Divorce Court

Know what’s super-fun? Scrutinizing your husband’s every move while he’s driving–from the way he accelerates to his stops and turns–and everything in between. Your husband will love it too, trust me.

Normally, I am not a back-seat driver. I swear. When someone else is driving, they are driving. As far as I am concerned, I am relieved of any responsibility for looking out for pedestrians, wondering if the gas tank is on empty, or where the heck it is we are going and how we’re going to get there.

Something happened to change my attitude, though. It was the long Fourth of July weekend, and since I have a fairly long commute to work my husband is kind enough drive me around in my car on off days.

Oh, and did I mention the car in question is a Prius? With gas around $4.50 a gallon in my neck of the woods, I have become somewhat obsessed about monitoring my gas mileage. I have a digital screen that tells me exactly how many miles per gallon I am getting at any given moment, and my average mpg, which is the number I am really focused on. I read all these articles on the Web about people in hybrid cars getting 60 or 70 miles per gallon, but I’ve never been able to get it above 51.4.

My mileage hovers just above 50 most of the time, but after my husband had been driving the Prius for a few days I noticed it had gone down to 49.6! Can you believe it? Now if you don’t have a hybrid, or maybe even if you do, you’re probably thinking: “Whoa! Chill out. That’s some pretty dang good gas mileage you’re getting either way.” Which is true, but did I mention the part about being slightly obsessed?

So anyway, on Sunday, coming back from a scoping mission for materials to build a fence in our front yard, I was like: “Honey, try not to deccelerate so much going into that turn” and “Sweetie, you’re not getting your best gas mileage at that speed.” And like any man being told how to drive by anyone, let alone his wife, he took it really well. I believe his exact words were, “Fine, you drive then” or “Shut up and let me drive.” Something like that, I can’t really remember.

So then the workweek comes. I’m commuting to work like normal and by Tuesday night it has become abundantly clear that I am not going to get my mpg back up over 50 by the time I get home. So I’m thinking maybe it wasn’t my husband’s fault after all. I am thinking it was the heat wave. With the AC cranked up, it’s definitely going to bring down my average. Ooops. My bad. I might want to apologize for being all high and mighty, and at the very least I am definitely going to stop telling my husband how to drive.

Saving the Earth (and my marriage) one hypermile at a time.

Read more: Life, Shades of Green, Transportation, , , ,

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Jana Ballinger

Jana Ballinger has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and copy editor for daily newspapers. She lives in a vintage house in Northern California with her husband and an orange cat.

4 comments

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3:41PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Good article, thanks.

12:51AM PDT on May 21, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:44AM PST on Dec 9, 2010

I found, also, that my Prius got worse gas mileage when my husband drove. However, I decided that when I drove, I was in the car by myself, and when he drove, we were always in the car together, increasing the weight we're hauling around. At least that theory keeps me from micromanaging his driving...

10:45AM PDT on Jul 11, 2008

Are you a new Hybrid owner? We went through that phase last year, and my in-laws did it with their Hybrid SUV (they went so far as to contact Ford to find out what was wrong with the vehicle; the VP sent someone out to check the vehicle and drive around with them, the end result being an education in how to drive the vehicle so it's more efficient).

With new tires, our 1G Prius improved mileage by 3MPG (to just over 46MPG).

For the past few months, however, we've had the dash screen turned off. In it's place is the portable GPS, which I'm currently obsessing over when we're both in the car, alternating with the live traffic report on the iPhone and the physical maps--it keeps me busy and my husband sane, unless I make too many changes in route over a 5 minute period. :)

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