McGehee is trying to give the impression that he’s being lulled into submission by a dashboard fuel-economy gauge:
It shows an accumulating average MPG since the last reset, as well as an estimated range on the current fuel level (this after almost ten years without a fuel gauge in the Bronco) and a realtime graph displaying the current MPG based on current fuel consumption and actual motion, with a marker showing where the current average is so you can see whether you’re improving your average or undercutting it.
I famously eschew these things: I figure, not unreasonably, that if I start paying attention to such matters, it will affect my driving, and not in any positive way. This is why I reset the B trip meter every time I gas up and then switch back to the A meter so I don’t have to look at it. (I usually use the A meter for Miles Since Last Oil Change, which is currently about 730.)
Besides, I’m not the only one who doesn’t necessarily benefit by the standard fuel-saving techniques:
I am also finding that my idea of best driving conditions and practices both seems to be about the thriftiest way to drive there is. I wouldn’t have expected this, mainly because my idea of best driving is solely a matter of temperament rather than conscious frugality.
I’ve beaten the EPA numbers on my last three vehicles, by a small margin according to the original stickers, and by a hell of a lot according to the 2008 recalculations. Gwendolyn, say the Feds, should get 17 in the city and 25 on the highway; I think I’ve had two tanks under 20 mpg in the last seven years. Keep in mind that this car is 13 years old and has run nearly 150,000 miles. Then again, I am not known for stinting on maintenance.