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.