Itty Bitty Bonzai #16

November 26th, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Itty Bitty Bonzai

Itty Bitty Bonzai is a collection of tiny tips and tricks for living a life more mindful. Small actions, collectively and compounded, become a powerful force of change.


We’re coming up on December madness, and that means serious travel season in many parts of the world. But with airlines being so . . . *ahem* . . . not nice, a lot of us are opting to drive to our holiday destinations. Here’s a few tips on how to maximize mileage in the coming month – and beyond.

First, get rid of any extra baggage! Tools in the trunk, flotsam and jetsam hiding under the seats . . . I even have an iron in the back of my car (long story). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each extra 100 pounds will reduce gas mileage by 1-2%. And it adds up fast! So clear out.

Then, before you leave for your trip you’ll need to check your tires. We’ve all heard it before, but seriously guys! If everyone kept their tires properly inflated, we would reduce consumption by millions of barrels per year – like, no need to drill in ANWR! So put that funky little tool in your glovebox to good use!

Next you’ll need to take a trip down to your local auto specialist. If your air filter is reusable, you need to clean it; if its replaceable, you need a new one. Dirty filters muck up the air/gas ratio which compromises combustion. You should aim to address the air filter every 12,000 miles or so.

And finally, drive right on the road – especially in stop ‘n go traffic. That means: slow, constant acceleration, which will cut your fuel consumption by ~20%. That’s a lot of savings, so keep the pedal OFF the metal, eh!?

Safe traveling my dears, and happy holiday season!



  • EroSan

    mmm… time to google tips on hypermiling, i guess. ^_^

  • Meghan

    My husband and I are taking the TRAIN this year instead of flying. I’m excited!

  • Courtney

    Always great to see I’m not the only one who knows about these things! I really need to do most of that with my car, though. We’re driving to Orlando for our Honeymoon and having the dealership give her a once over only does so much. :)

  • Sayward

    @ EroSan – Mm-hmm, indeed . . .

    @ Meghan – I love the train! Such a beautiful way to travel. I’m looking forward to my short trip up the California coast later this year. =)

    @ Courtney – Yeah I’m due for a car check-up as well. It’s so great that a little standard maintenance can make such an efficiency difference!

  • Meghan

    I am a little nervous because we aren’t getting a sleeper car and it’s a loooong trip from DC to Portland. But I’m excited too. We’ll see how it goes, I guess. :-)

  • Sayward

    @ Meghan – Wow, that is a *really* long trip! But man, it will be SO gorgeous! Good luck!

  • Meghan

    Yeah, it’s too bad that we’ll be taking it at just about solstice… the days will be super short. We’ll have to try again during the summer. In the summer, the NPS has a park ranger when the train goes through Glacier National Park that talks about stuff! Cool!

  • NevadaHomes