Want to Save Gas? Follow That Truck!

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Xin Lu of Wise Bread points out some uncommon wisdom: Driving behind large trucks, and taking advantage of something called "drafting," can save you up to 10 percent on gas.

The science behind drafting, she explains, is closely related to why driving slower saves you energy. "Basically, you have less air resistance in front of your car if a big truck has already passed through the air and your car is in the tunnel or 'slipstream' behind it," she writes. "A truck also blocks some of the air rushing at you."


The daredevils on Discovery's Mythbusters demonstrated that if you followed a big rig by 100 feet, you could decrease your fuel consumption by 11 percent. The intrepid duo pushed the envelope further by following a truck at only 10 feet--a dangerous maneuver we don't recommend viewers try at home!--and managed to decreased their gas consumption by 40 percent. ::WiseBread

Difficulty level:Advanced

Editor's note: Over at TreeHugger, we note that drafting isn't for the faint of heart; it's a dangerous undertaking. "At 100 feet you have 1.25 seconds to respond if the truck slams on the brakes, (keep off that cell phone) and at ten feet you have .124 seconds. The reccommended distance at 55 miles per hour is 150 feet." Conclusion: Drafting may work for the daredevils at Mythbusters, but for the rest of us, there are probably better ways to save fuel.