Today's post comes from guest blogger Andrew Granieri. You may remember Andrew from his great set of posts that outlined the detailing and transformation of the paint on his Porsche 944. As a refresher, Andrew is a student at Miami University, studying Technical & Scientific Communications with a double Minor in Marketing & Entrepreneurship. He enjoys maintaining his 1986 Porsche 944 and joy-riding in his father's 997 whenever possible. Here's what Andrew had to say...
Drivers rejoice! The price of oil recently dropped significantly, but we all know fuel prices are wildly inconsistent day to day, week to week. A poll was posed a couple months ago on this blog, asking drivers if they changed their driving habits in these strange times, when $3.89 is considered a great deal for a gallon of gasoline. I didn’t think of changing my habits much when the poll was created, but now that I commute from Cincinnati to Cleveland on the weekends, I’ve reconsidered. Over the past two months, I’ve experimented with my driving style and found that small changes can in fact, make a profound impact on my mileage as well as my wallet.
I feel I should note that I have always supported the idea of driving a car as it was designed to be driven. While (sigh) slow by today’s standards, my normally-aspirated 944 wasn’t designed with puttering around in mind. In the past 3 years that I’ve owned it, 80% of the time I’ve been behind the wheel was time spent really driving it; shifting at or past 5,000 RPMS (once up to temp, of course!), spirited down-shifts, etc. Perhaps this accounts for my catastrophic ring and pinion failure earlier this year? – nah...
Gas mileage is great for a Porsche
That said, one would think my mileage on the road is about as poor as it is on the track. Not so! I did some rough calculations from last season and found my track mileage to be in the neighborhood of 7-12 mpg, which is pretty bad! However, on the street, as enthusiastic as I am behind the wheel I’ve found I consistently get between 22-27mpg, depending on my city-highway driving ratio. While that mileage doesn’t put a Prius to shame, it’s certainly respectable for a Porsche. But I knew from the way I drove that it was capable of more, and my job in Cleveland gave me the perfect opportunity to try out a few things.
My Oxford apartment is about 260 miles away from downtown Cleveland, which makes for a lot of freeway driving. However, my daily commute to work is from a suburb 40 minutes outside of town, often in stop and go rush hour traffic, so I’m still getting a fair amount of “city” driving in as well. 944’s came with a surprisingly large 21.1 gallon fuel tank, and I fall into the elite (read: poorer than they look) group of people who can say they drive a Porsche and fill up with 87 octane at the pump. I've now gone through several tanks of fuel, with dramatic results, with only one major change to my driving style: throttle control.
The Simple Tip to Decrease Fuel Use in Your Porsche
As hard as it is to resist the urge to drive a bit faster, I've managed a few thousand miles this summer not shifting higher than 3,000 RPMs and surprisingly, the difference in fuel economy has been astounding. Now for some quick and dirty math: if I average my range, mentioned above, of avg. mpg -- 22 and 27, I get 24.5 mpg with my typical driving style. Assuming I drive until the car's almost empty and consume 20 gallons of fuel, the MPG comes out to 490 miles covered -- very respectable, even if it's in part to the large fuel tank. Twice now since I started driving less aggressively, I've put 20.2 and 20.1 gallons in with the odometer at 565 and 540 miles respectively -- that's roughly 28 and 27 mpg!
32 Miles per gallon in a 944
Not bad, you say, but my record -- and this is ASTOUNDING -- a touch under 640 miles and I filled the tank with 20 gallons and some change -- that's close to THIRTY-TWO miles per gallon! I'm convinced I'll never be that lucky with fuel economy, as there were a few extenuating circumstances that week; I'd left Cincinnati for my job in Cleveland job at 2 am, which left me with ZERO traffic to slow down for so my speed and fuel consumption was slow and consistent for the 250 mile drive up and during the week I also was very fortunate to avoid the brunt of rush hour traffic. I have all my receipts to prove fuel purchases, but didn't document the miles and forgot to snap a photo of my dashboard before resetting my odometer -- should I repeat the same feat with as much success as 32 mpg I'll be sure to take a photo, even if it's from my camera phone. I will admit with fuel prices starting to come down, it may be hard for me to continue this thrifty driving style; time will tell.
Give us some feedback
But proving to the world that a 22-year old four-banger can be fuel-efficient wasn't my intent with this writing. I want to ask fellow Porsche owners -- what's the highest MPG you've achieved in your car? I'm also issuing a challenge -- spend a few weeks not riding to the red line, I know these cars were made to be driven, but if you are fortunate enough to say a Porsche is your daily driver, it is worth the patience to investigate your fuel economy -- you might surprise yourself! Post your MPGs in a comment below and don't forget to let us know what you're driving!
This may be followed up with me attempting something similar with my old man's 997 C4S, which I believe averages 19.2 mpg according to the on-board computer – but for me to conduct such a test would require him to willingly relinquish his keys.