Etiquette for high gas prices

June 2, 2008
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It seems like more people are driving below the speed limit now that gas has become expensive.

Particularly on interstates, it isnâ??t uncommon to come upon congestion only to realize that somebody, for no apparent reason, is puttering along and holding up traffic. Sometimes these drivers stake out the fast lane. Often, theyâ??re driving gas-guzzlers.

Driving slower certainly saves gas. However, driving even the speed limit can raise ire of other drivers. Someone tried to run an driver off the road when the editor was testing gas mileage at 65 mph.

It should be pointed out that itâ??s perfectly legal to drive below the speed limit on interstates so long as minimum speeds are maintained.

Are you seeing the same thing? What is appropriate etiquette for driving in a time of high gas prices?
  • Maybe we should tell these same people that they are burning more gas by driving through the local McDonalds or Burger King drive thru than the few pennies they are conserving just from driving the speed limit or lower. I am all for driving safe speeds, but not at the risk of holding up others who wish to drive faster. 85MPH on a 65MPH may be a bit excessive, but 70-75MPH is not unreasonable for some drivers. Those wanting to go slow should stay in the slow lane and keep in mind the gas they waste with other activities.
  • Why do you assume that someone who drives the speed limit goes to drive through restaurants? I don't follow your connection....
  • How is it not unreasonable to drive well over the posted speed limit? And, no, we're not frequenting fast-food drive-throughs; we're just trying to get to and from home without getting killed by some impatient, road-raged driver.
  • I have started driving slower on the interstate because of gas prices and am driving my husband crazy! I do pay attention to the traffic around me and adjust as necessary so as not to cause problems for others. If there is room to get around me, feel free to use the other lane! I also avoid drive thru lines and idiling when not necessary, as I am trying to do my part to help out. Wish others could do the same.
  • If you want to drive slower, stay to the right. But be careful to get over for merging traffic.

    If you are driving at or below the speed limit in the high speed lane, you are likely to get pulled over if not run over. It is illegal to run a constant speed in the high speed lane, it is for passing only. If you are trying to run a moving chicane, then you should get pulled over. It is dangerous and stupid.
  • I used to be the pedal to the metal, road-rage-ish driver; never violent, just internally stressed out with all of the idiot slow drivers in the passing lane. The idiot used to be a few other choice words that aren't safe for this forum but in light of the recent gas prices I have become the idiot driver. I will mention though, that I tend to stay out of the passing lane. Here is my math; I commute 30 miles one way to work and about 26 of that is on the interstate. 80 mph = 19.5 minutes; 75 mph = 20.8 minutes and 65 mph = 24 minutes. Traffic is not that heavy between 6:30 and 7:00am so I am afforded the ability to go 80 mph. However, it is not likely that I can make it the entire 26 miles without getting behind a slow group at breaks the 80 mph pace and turning the 19.5 minutes into 20 to 25 minutes. Therefore I get frustrated by slowing and speeding up and you might as well forget cruise control.

    Now I drive 65 mph and get to set the cruise control because everyone is speeding by. Much like Driving slower says I still pay attention to surrounding traffic so that I am not causing a problem. The travel time is a non-issue; the stress of slowing and speeding is gone and I am saving a bit of gas mileage. Although the savings doesn't appear to be much.
  • Since when did the speed limit become a guideline and people who actually follow the LAW become the bad guys? Maybe the proper etiquette, regardless of the cost of gas is for all the speedsters to SLOW DOWN and obey traffic laws.
  • Proper etiquette, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the speed limit, but more to do with approaching traffic. If you are in the passing lane, then you should be passing someone or going faster than anyone behind you.

    If you are in the merge lane, you should adjust your speed or change lanes to allow traffic to enter. Lead, follow or get out of the way, end of story.
  • It's an old misnomer that lower speeds equate to better gas milage. It really depends on the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Some vehicles are designed much better than others when it comes to getting through the air. The real gas milage buster is having to slow down and speed-up. Ideally, the best way to get the best gas milage out of your vehicle on the interstate is to maintain a constant speed. Lowering your cruising speed by even 10MPH is not going to make much difference unless you're driving a non-aerodynamic vehicle such as a bus, van or truck. Of course, as far as etiquitte goes, most commenters have it right, stay out of the left lane except for passing! This allows everyone the savings they will get by not having to slow down so much to get through slower traffic.
  • If the speed limit is 65 mph and you are going 80 mph then YOU are BREAKING the law and a far greater menace to those sharing the road with you (much less your vehicle) than the driver going under the speed limit. To be upset with the law abiding driver in the passing lane only for the time it takes to pass a vehicle going say 60 mph is insane at best and incredibly self absorbed at least. Please slow down for the sake of saving a life which is far more precious than saving gas.

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