Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Braking is an Energy Estimation Problem

As I was driving the other day it occur ed to me that braking is an energy estimation problem.

Every time I touch the brakes I am wasting energy in the form of gas and combustion because I over estimated the amount of energy it would take to move my car from one point to the next.

So I tried an experiment today: Drive from my house to work and count how many times I had to touch my brakes driving my regular speed and route. Then drive the reverse of the route on the way home without touching my brakes, using only the accelerator or lack of the accelerator to control my speed.

Way to work: Touched the brakes 18 times.
Way Home: 7 times.

Things I learned.
1.) Never try this during rush hour on side streets apparently me going 15 miles an hour is reason to lay on the horn. Although I think I had an old guy smile at me.

2.) There is no way that you can go the posted speed limit and not use your brakes.

3.) I get nervous and want to keep up with the crowd when I am going slower.

4.) I bet I could up my realized gas MPG by 20% just by using better speed control. i.e not racing to red lights and not racing off on the turning of a green light.

5.) I am not a very good driver and I have a hard time admitting that.

6.) I have become a very conservative driver, I also have a hard time admitting that.

13 comments:

lauren said...

#3 and #5 - I am completely with you on those.

Kyra said...

This is part of the reasoning behind some of the new designs storing the kinetic energy from stops and using it to restart again. Pretty neat, actually!

Rocketstar said...

That is why I always try to coast into stops and not use the break much. Some folks, like my better half like to push on that gas peddle until they HVAE to step on the brake. "Late Brakers" I call them

Reggie said...

This is why I have cars with manual transmissions. I only break for animals, pedestrians, stop signs and stop lights. Everything else, I just take my foot off the gas.

I do need to work on not rushing to be the first off the line.

Tara said...

Were you driving behind me this morning? LOL. I think that guy felt the same way!

h*dizzle said...

im a #3 and #6!! although at times i can be quite frantic!!!but its ok im from texas and allowed ;)

scargosun said...

I am way too impatient for some of those things but I do try to be more mindful about speeding away from lights.

Spirophita said...

I need a chauffer.

oestrebunny said...

I haven't driven in so long I'll be surprised if I remember how to when the time comes.

Mags said...

Ha...I've tried this before too-used to work when I lived in CT...now it's just suicidal. :)

Mags said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SARAH said...

yeah, check out hyper-miling. some dude drove from chicago to NYC on one tank of gas.

Kristi said...

I prefer changing lanes to using the brakes. Smooth driving yo. As Ricky Bobby would say, "I wanna go fast!"