This is a new series I’m going to start in the spirit of Green Up the Purchases You Already Make. In the future, however, I’m going to label it GMGWW (Green Moves Good Wallet Waist, I’m cutting out the little words in the acronym, you don’t need them) because the whole title is too long. And because I am in the military, and the military LOVES acronyms. They’re like their own words in a secret, military language.
Anyway, today’s entry is driving the speed limit.
For every 5 miles per hour you go over 60mph, its like spending 20 cents more a gallon for gas.
I always knew that speeding reduced your fuel efficiency, but it wasn’t until I read that fact that I decided to do something about it. I guess I just didn’t realize how bad the reduction in efficiency was before. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn’t afford to spend 60 cents more a gallon just to go 75. It wasn’t worth it.
So I started driving the speed limit. Here in Denver, that means driving a good 10-15 miles slower than just about everyone else on the road, so that limits me to driving only in the right hand lane. If I’m on a three or more lane highway I might venture out into one of the middle lanes, but I always stay close to the right. Occasionally I do get stuck behind someone going slower than the speed limit and I go ahead and pass them on the left, then proceed to go right back into the slow lane, but to be honest, most of the time it doesn’t bother me. I just stay behind them. After all, 55 gives me even better fuel efficiency than 65 does.
I’m going to tell you now what I’ve learned. Driving 75 does not get you there any faster than drivng 65 does. Don’t ask me why this is, I think you might need a physicist to figure it out, but since I started driving the speed limit everywhere, my commute times for places I go on a regular basis (work, school, church, downtown, Buckley AFB, etc) has not changed. Furthermore, I often pay close attention to who passes me up in the beginning of a trip, and within a few miles, without changing my speed, I usually catch back up to them eventually, or pass them.
We all know, of course, that driving faster increases your likelihood of getting into an accident and increases the liklihood of any accident you do get into being a fatal one, but I have also found that speeding increases my stress level. Or, more accurately, I’ve found that going 65 reduces my stress levels (but I assume that my stress level before – when I regularly sped – was actually elevated, so in reality, driving speeding increased my stress level, and going back down to the speed limit brought it back down to more normal levels). Where I used to get a little road ragey at times, I’m pretty chill for most of my driving now, and I have to be when there’s a crying baby in my back seat. And when people pass me now, it seems like the natural thing to do. Almost no one tail gates in the right lanes, and the rare person who does seems so idiotic that its easy to brush it off.
Stress is bad for your health all over, so where ever you can eliminate it, you should. Stress has been shown to make it harder to lose weight, and it also makes it harder for you to sleep, wreaks havoc on your eating habits, and exhausts you so you aren’t as active, all things that are shown to make you gain weight. It also causes acne and wrinkles, not to mention gives you all sorts of health disorders like high blood pressure and ulcers and can ultimately shorten your life.
Of course, you could have a much bigger impact on your wallet and waist line if you chose to bike or walk instead of driving entirely, but when that’s not possible (and it may never be possible for some of you, I understand) the next best thing you can do is drive the speed limit.