Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Yesterday fellow-villager Valérie told me that the amount of money spent per month for Diesel by herself and her husband has reached 850 Euro (about 1300 Dollar at present exchange rate).

Quite a lot for a family that is not hauling it in with a shovel. Then I asked her how she is driving and she explains she drives sportingly. Meaning, she accelerates than brakes, braking accelerating, braking accelerating.

Well, I don't drive like this. In fact, you might say I am driving like my own grandfather. This is not due to fear of traffic and speed. I am accelerating smoothly, I brake only when I can't help it, preferring the motor brake by shifting into low gear. When reaching a village where the max. speed is 50 km/h (about 30 miles), I leave the gas pedal and frequently go into idle speed for better gliding.

You might consider this a rather boring driving technique. But it isn't because I am doing all this with a passion. I want to become world champion of low consumption. In case the title will ever be given I am ready to compete.

Last October my wife bought a new car - VW Polo Diesel TDI 1,4/80 HP - and this car is equipped with a kind of computer giving the average consumption of the current trip.

When she comes back from work in Aurillac, 40 km (25 Miles) from here, I frequently check her average consumption. Now it happens more and more often that she uses only 3,9 liter on 100 km or goes 60 1/3 Mile per Gallon!

Splendid, really. Good for the budget. Especially now with one liter of Diesel selling at 1,28 Euro (7,51 US Dollar per Gallon). But what amazes me is how she is doing it. With all my gimmicks I cannot do better and she is just an ordinary driver, like many women. She never goes into idle speed when the road is downhill. Just a careful, reasonable driver without any fuzz and addiction to overtaking whatever appears in front of her.

I would like to know and solve the riddle.

The first photo shows my wife where she gets the keys from the Volkswagen dealer. The lower one is our last homage to my Golf. I bought this car 20 years ago and it was still in top shape, passing the Technical Control with flying colours. When I made an ad in the local paper to sell it for 6OO Euro I got more than 30 phone calls.


  1. volkswagons last forever :) we had one when we first got married- from my husband's uncle- it was over 10 years old at that point and we had it probably another 5. i have never owned a brand new car- but i am a careful driver. i don't do over 55 mph on the highway because you don't get there (wherever) that much faster- you just use more gas. i try to accelerate smoothly and i only drive when necessary- attempting to get any driving done in one day instead of 5. not because gas is so very expensive for me (i get decent mileage for city driving) but because i know that every time i start that engine- i puts carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. i hope by the time we are in the market for another car- we can have a choice. right now, the best we can do in america are hybrids.

  2. Hallo Betmo,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Just a word about the hybrids.

    This solution is only interesting if you drive mostly in the city where you have to brake a lot. The braking contributes to the recharging of the battery.

    If you drive mostly outside the city, such a car would be nearly pointless.

    By the way, in Norway a 100 percent electrical car will be marketed next year. It has a range of about 110 miles and a max. speed of about 60 miles.


  3. well, i doubt we will get the electric car anytime soon- sigh. our country's new motto- by the corporate and for the corporate- so help us god. perhaps with different faces in the white house and in congress next year- we won't be so very far behind. i don't tend towards optimism though :)


  4. Hey, we had electric vehicles back in the 70s in Ca. In the Capital (Sacramento) they were using these cars and getting great results.

    So good, the Car Companies decided against selling them and took the remainders to a car dump and trashed them.

    There's a Documentary but right now I can't remember what it's called and it explains all the specifics.

    Georg, Thanks for popping by and good show on keeping a vehicle so long!

    And we cry about our fuel prices.

    When I was in Germany 89-90 they were paying 7-8$ a gallon then.


  5. Hi Georg,
    I liked the picture of you old Golf. I had similarly kept my bike for 20 years, but the last eight were meaningless as it just stood rusting, till I gave it away. I had kept a car too for 13 years;it too was hardly used after i got another.

    I used to be the heavily accelaratin and breaking kind of reacless driver. But now I am quite like you, except that I don't go into neutral. Good mileages can be best got, I think, by accelarating slowly, changing into higher gears very early and not driving too fast!

  6. heh heh this is great post Don Georg :)

    quoting you: "I want to become world champion of low consumption"... and your skills would be so popular here in California, where the price of gallon is coming close to 4 dollars!!! unbelievable, Gott sei Dank ;) i have a Toyota Echo that gives me 34 miles per galon on the Highway and 27 in the City... that is if i drive more like you and less like your reckless friend... while living in Mexico City i HAD to drive recklessly, NO other way in that city so populated and with such lunatic drives, but here in California, one can drive safely and sloooow, also i guess since i am getting older, i like better now to enjoy the scenery while i drive ;) even when is the same scenery every morning on my way to work...

    and Georg congratulate your wife on her new VW model!! of course she had to have an affection for German engineering, huh? heh heh

    and on your Red old Golf, wow!! love this coincidence 'cause my mother and I, while i was in High School and my 1st years of University in Mexico City, we shared a car just like yours!! rot (red) and all!! and we loved it! :) unfortunately my 1st experience with crashing a car on a BIG truck was with these Golf so it was a total lost :(... after that my mother got herself a Jetta, and i got a "Vocho" as we call them in Mexico city, the original small model of Volkswagen... did you know that in Mexico City at least 95% of the Taxis are Volkswagens (the small ones) not sure of the name of the model in Germany, but the original one that looks like a round cute bug :) and now i even know what Volks Wagen means ;)

    schöner Tag Don Georg!

  7. Hallo Bere,

    Thanks for those friendly comments. You are absolutely right: peaceful driving is only possible in peaceful surroundings.

    When I lived in Paris and had to drive there, my style was different. Had to. And that certainly goes for Mexico City. One must stay alive.

    The Volkswagen Beetle was called Käfer in Germany and Coccinelle here in France.


  8. My first car was a VW and it lasted for over 20 years until the floor rusted and the battery fell out on the road but the engine was still perfect.

    Diesel is expensive but you are lucky to have diesel in Europe because it is better for the engine. We do not have diesel cars in the USA.

    Georg, will you accept my "tag" and tell us about yourself? I would like to know.

    Bon nuit for me and bon jour for you.

  9. Bonjour Patrick,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, I'll do the tagging job. I've just to find out before how to put the URL of another blog on this one.

    I was quite astonished to learn that Diesel cars do not exist in the USA.

    Here in France, Diesel is about 10 Eurocents (about 15 Dollar cents) cheaper than gasoline). Consequently, more than half of all cars are equipped with Diesel engines in spite of the fact that these motors are a bit more expensive.


  10. Bon jour, Georg, when you write a post, there is a little green button at the top of the writing window that will embed a link. Just highlight the words you want to indicate the link, then click on the green button. Another little window will appear. That is where you paste the URL.

  11. Hello Georg
    Thank you for your comming in my blog. And excuse my english very light.
    What did you do in my country CANTAL?
    I wish you have enjoy this wild country. Do you leave yet in cantal?
    so long.