Yeah, I had a birthday last week (or was it two weeks ago now?) but, while I’m slowing down with age, I’m also slowing down in my vehicle.

I drive a 2003 Toyota RAV4.  Three months ago, in addition to my RAV4, there was a 2003 Chevy S-10 truck and a 2000 Chevy Blazer sitting in our driveway.  Both Chevy vehicles got, on average, less than 20 miles to the gallon.  My RAV4 was averaging just at 24 MPG.

Lisa traded in her pickup for a 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup — 4 cylinder, no 4WD, pretty basic, but a nice truck nonetheless.  She’s averaging high 20s for mileage.

Joe traded in his Blazer for a 2008 Toyota Corolla and is averaging low 30s for mileage.

Where once I had the most practical vehicle, mileage-wise, I now find myself with the one that performs the worse (yet mine still performs quite well).

I’ve recently gone on a campaign to try to improve my mileage and decided to start small.  I set my cruise control for the speed limit, and stay in the slow lane now on my morning and evening commute.  Yesterday, when I filled up, I found I had increased my mileage by 1.8 MPG.  Sure, it’s not a lot but it’s something.  It’s an additional 24 miles per tank of gas which is a round trip to work.

I’ve also been turning off the engine when I sit at the railroad tracks waiting for the freight trains to go by, and do the same while sitting in those long, long, long lines at the wholesale club’s gas station (where I got gas for $3.82/gallon yesterday).  In the old days, it took more gas to start the engine than to let it sit and idle, but with the technology in the engines these days, the opposite is true.  They say that now, if you’re going to idle more than ten seconds, to turn the engine off.  Of course, that’s not practical when you’re sitting at a traffic light or something like that but it’s certainly another way to conserve gas.

Every little bit helps, right?

So what are you all paying for gas these days?  Without the discount club’s “discount” I’m seeing just about $4.02 around here.