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What Is Economic Speed?

Jennifer Leigh
Jennifer Leigh

Economic speed is the optimal rate of speed that a vehicle can go to obtain the best financial results. This depends on such factors as the price of gas, the gas mileage, and the engine power of the vehicle. Other considerations include the conditions of the road and how busy or congested the road is at the time of driving. There are calculations that can be done to determine the economic speed in different situations and with various vehicles. When an individual is trying to get the most money out of his or her car, finding out the economic speed is a helpful tool.

When a vehicle is going fast, its overall economic speed is generally reduced because it uses more gas in the process. This means that it is costing more money to drive the vehicle than it would if it were going at a slower rate due to the cost of gas. Fast driving also puts more wear and tear on a vehicle than slower driving does. If a vehicle goes too slow, however, the economic speed is reduced as well because it is costing time to get to a destination that could have been used to make money.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Bad road conditions contribute to a lower economic speed because they cause the driver to use more gas to navigate them, as well as placing more wear and tear on the vehicle. This is difficult to calculate, however, because it is hard to determine the exact conditions of a road over a period of time. Traffic also reduces economic speed because when a vehicle is constantly braking and accelerating, additional gas is used in the process of driving.

Basic economic speed can be calculated by filling a vehicle with gas and recording the number of miles that the vehicle has on it. At this point, the driver can drive to a destination going the speed that he or she wishes to test. Once the vehicle's tank is half-empty, it should be refilled and the mileage recorded once again. The first mileage can then be subtracted from the second mileage and divided by the amount of gas, in gallons, that it took to fill the car up the second time. This is the miles per gallon (MPG) for driving that speed, so the test can be performed again at a different speed to see which is the best economic speed for the vehicle.

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