Energy Efficient Driving

or aka: Windows Down or Windows Up
I had a gig in Corpus Christi and decided to drive there from Dallas. It seemed cheaper than flying and we were trying to economize. Besides, on the map, it was only about three inches, which is apparently equivalent to seven hours (who knew?). That’s seven long hours of nothing to see. Between Dallas and Corpus Christi, it’s just flat and ugly (like my sister Karla). And, I didn’t even get out of Dallas County before I got pulled over by a State Trooper. He was in an unmarked car with the lights in the grille, so I didn’t even realize it was a cop until he “lit me up.” Which sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Trust me, being lit up is not fun. I escaped with a warning and my heart beating out of my chest and we made it to Corpus Christ in time for the most awesome show and fun evening ever. So far, everything was going pretty well. But, the next morning, before we even got out of town, my air conditioning quit working in my car. We had to drive seven hours with the windows down on an 85 mph toll road. The irony here is, driving to save in expenses cost us dearly in the end.

So, windows down v.s. windows up. Apparently, there is a decrease in fuel efficiency of over 20% when driving at speeds of more than 55 mph with the windows rolled down. We weren’t using the air conditioner, so we were not burning more energy. But, if we had a working air conditioner, cooling the air through the compressor (which was shot) would only have decreased the fuel efficiency by about 10%, rather than 20%+.

I have a heavy S.U.V., not an aerodynamic vehicle. So, having the windows open at 85mph surely created even more of a decrease in fuel efficiency than a more aerodynamic car. The ideal situation for fuel efficiency would have been to leave the a/c off and the windows up. But we would have roasted alive. It wasn’t a pretty sight, two females complaining and sweating for 7 hours. Arguing whether windows down v.s. windows up is even an option when the thermometer is reading a whopping 114 degrees in my car.

I lost 10 lbs on that trip. Not from sweating, but from all of the complaining. My travel companion did so much complaining that she didn’t have a voice when we got home. And she wasn’t very happy about it, but her boyfriend couldn’t have been more thrilled. I believe his exact words were “Yay! No voice. You’re the perfect woman.” I only went a few days without a/c before I got it fixed. Having the windows down at speeds of 25-35 mph did noticeably save in fuel economy. Or, maybe it was my weight loss that contributed to the difference.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist / Sweaty Betty

Windows Down v.s. Windows Up – Comedy Defensive Driving