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Does Technology or the Economy Affect Our Driving Patterns?

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Technology is moving at such a fast rate these days, it’s hard to keep up. With the creation of hybrid vehicles, there has been a huge shift from car owners concerned solely with powerhouse engines that purr when you rev them to owners concerned about their carbon footprint.

I have a close friend who made this transition. He was the type of guy who hated driving, but loved his truck, which literally sucked gas like a vacuum. Then, his power driven pedal-to-the-metal mentality was thrown out the door for an environmentally friendly Prius. I was literally floored when I heard this. Not only is he proud of his contribution to the environment, but he also can’t get enough out of scaring me half to death when he sneaks up behind me. I swear you can’t hear these new electric cars, even when they are right behind you.

The other day, he finally convinced me to go on a ride with him and I witnessed something that baffled my mind. We were going below the speed limit on the freeway and of course this prompted me to ask him what the heck he was doing. He said, “It’s like a video game. You watch the meter gauge and try to keep it in the optimal miles per gallon range.” I didn’t even know how to respond. This new car had completely changed his driving style, and I felt like I didn’t even know who he was anymore.

This really got me thinking. Are our driving behaviors molded by new technologies or are we just trying to save a few bucks? I personally don’t want to obsess about my MPG, and find it too much work to stay within the optimal MPG range, especially since I don’t drive a hybrid.

As gas prices continue to rise, do you think people will actually change their driving patterns, or are we just doing what we must to survive in such harsh times?

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  • Bret Bodas, October 27, 2011, 13:33
     Master

    I had a Volvo 850 with an on board computer that showed my average MPG and actual MPG. Paying attention to these changed my driving habits quite a bit, just like your friend. Of course, the expensive gas prices were also a factor. Cruise control helped to keep from rapid acceleration/deceleration and to keep a steady speed, all of which helped to achieve better gas mileage.

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