Calculate the Savings

Drive a Homemade Hybrid and you'll save. Save gas. Save money. Save the atmosphere. Save the world. How much will you save? Try it and see.

First, figure out how many miles you get on a tank normally by re-setting the trip odometer when you fill the tank. Then try out the 10-second rule between fillups. (Practice other good driving habits, too!) I would normally get 190 miles on a tank on my 13-year-old Saturn. When I kicked the idling habit, I would get around 220 miles on a tank of gas. That's 30 miles more per tank! About 14%. Other times I would get different results, but never less than a 10% savings.

I drive about 10,000 miles per year. If I can now do this on 10% less gas, I figure I will burn 60 fewer gallons of gas. A gallon of gas, when burned, emits 20 lbs of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So my Homemade Hybrid keeps 1200 pounds of CO2 from joining the greenhouse each year.

If everyone I knew made 1000 fewer lbs of greenhouse gasses this year... If everyone in the country did it... everyone in the world...

And with gas at nearly $3 a gallon, I've just saved almost $200 on gas this year.

Check my math... Let me know what your own results are... comments, please!


Anonymous said...

How many times in the past year have you been rear-ended or honked at because you are starting your car at a traffic light?

What cost savings are you getting replacing $150 starters twice as often? I'll bet the manufacturing process for a new starter uses more fossil fuel then you save by shuting your car off.

Anonymous said...

I've not yet tried not idling, but see the Canadian study at

In part, it says:

"Perhaps you're concerned that continually shutting off and restarting the vehicle is hard on the engine. But studies show that frequent restarting has little impact on engine parts such as the battery and starter motor. The wear on components that restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to the cost of driving – money that you'll likely recover several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling."

So, if the starter and battery wear cost $10 per year, the savings in the example is $190 a year.

As far as the environmental cost of battery and starter, we'd have to know that cost before we can compare to the environmental savings from not idling.

If a car is working properly and the driver's attentive, I wouldn't think starting when needed would be a problem.

- HH driver said...

How many times have I been honked at in the past year? About twice.

How many times have I been rear-ended? None, of course... usually the cars behind me are stopped. I have never been in a situation where cars are speeding up to a single car sitting at a red light about to turn green.

mrs. id said...

I do have to admit that my starter went out about a year after I got this idea. I sheepishly admitted to my mechanic what I had been doing. He looked at me, puzzled, and said "Your car has 120,000 miles on it. It's just a coincidence." He seemed to be of the opinion that starter wear on a warm engine is negligible, as are all my mechanics, who believe it is better for your engine not to idle. (Ask yours about your car.)

Nonetheless, I started using my hyper-gravity drive more often after that.

Sluggo said...

Nicely designed page. I do have to wonder about this: you said "I would normally get 190 miles on a tank on my 13-year-old Saturn." -- my Saturn will be 15 in March and I routinely get over 300 per tank (35-42 mpg). I just wonder why that difference. -Sluggopyle

Anonymous said...

I heard an interesting information: Car polution:
- manufacturing a new car = 90%
- car itself in it's lifetime = 10%

And information about polution in general:
- Traffic = cca 1%
- Other (Industry,....)= cca 99%

Correct me if i am wrong.

mrs. id said...

To Sluggo: Where do you live? I live at the bottom of a hill and do mostly city driving. I asked the Saturn mechanic about my low mileage, and he attributed it to the hills.

Mrs said...

Anonymous, I'd correct you if I knew who you were. What does cca mean? Statistically, traffic provides waaay more than 1% of emmissions!

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, passenger cars are the biggest offenders by far in the transportation sector, accounting for more than a third of emissions. This being America, trucks come in a close second.

Anonymous said...

My 1993 Saturn gets about 35mpg highway and 20 city. Crazy! But I'll try this, thanks. Lots of people commenting on this site are so negative. I agree with the ones wo say lobbying is more important than us saving a little here and there. It's hard to go it alone. We desperately need climate leadership or else all these people who think melting Glaciers is perfectly normal can feel liek they're right.

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