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Old 03-18-2008, 06:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Drafting on the highway

I know it's not the smartest thing to do, but have any of you done it anyway to see if you can save gas by drafting behind a big rig on the highway? I have done it on several occasions and I don't stay too close, just about 4 or 5 car lengths behind (don't know if this is enough to make a difference) because I want to see if I could bump my mileage up a little bit. I did recently get a 4 cyl. car which already gets about 31 on the highway, but at the rate gas is going up, every bit helps. By the way, I didn't by a Ford or even an American, I bought a 4 door VW GTi which is a direct injected and turbo intercooled and really hard not to get into it because it is so much fun to drive. -Mike
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

You can actually tell where the drafting stops taking effect.

Pull up close, and slowely back off, when the vehical your driving starts to caviatate, your too far back. It is usually about 2+ car lengths. I drive over 400 miles a week to work and back, all crowded highways.

You can feel the car shifting back and forth from the wind sheer once your out of the trucks draft area.

The only issue with this, if you have a real small car, they can't see you behind them if your that close. Not always a good idea, unless you poke over every now and then to let him know your there...

I am also a cyclist. For a bike, it is about 10 - 20 inches from my wheel to the wheel in front of me.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

I remember when as a kid we would go to Florida every year to visit the Grandparents and celebrate my sisters B'day. Dad, who was also a truck driver, used to always have big cars and he would pull up tight going down long stretches of I-75. He claimed it helped.
What was the closest you could get mileage wise in an American sports car? Is the Vdub new?
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

You better damn sure hope they don't have to stop quick. Air brakes on several sets of wheels can have you eating the back of the trailer. It eats into their fuel mileage too. I know a few truckers and I'll warn you that if they get irritated with your little 4 wheel azz back there in the blind spot, a friend will come up and rake you off on the shoulder. Or you'll look in the rear view and see this giant PETERBUILT and suddenly the truck in front starts to slow. Think "toothpaste" lol.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

Dont get a ticket Mike! If any trooper sees you doing that you will get nailed. Watch that stuff man.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

I have only tried it a couple of times guys and I think it is much to dangerous and not really worth any savings. Just wanted to see what it was like to draft off of a big rig. Besides, I hate when they throw treads and you are in the path of them! I like my new GTi because it is so nimble and moves like a little bullet. I will get in more trouble with it just because I forget how fast I am going because the damn thing feels like a 3 series BMW. I looked at some Fords and some other American stuff, but none of them compared to how this thing drives. I mean it will outhandle just about any Mustang out there and it has these cool paddle shifters that actually shift quicker than an automatic. That along with something called launch control which is like having a loose converter where you turn off the traction control and put your foot on the brake and bring the rpms up to about 2,800 and then let off the brake and the thing is already in the boost and you're gone! I can't believe how many cars that I thought could easily take me at a light that I have totally wasted when it turns green. With a chip, the thing will put out 250 horsepower and about 300 ft. lbs. of torque.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

According to Mythbusters, depending how close you are, you can get a 40% mileage boost.
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

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Originally Posted by bassman97 View Post
According to Mythbusters, depending how close you are, you can get a 40% mileage boost.
(This was a real test about 30 years ago at the Salt Flats)

A cyclest (bicycle) in a "draft" behind a large moving wall on the back of a truck got upto the speed of 120 MPH, in less then 3 miles.

It was not a draft, but more of a vacuum, that swooped him along. A top notch cyclist can reach or maintain about 40 MPH without any aid.

Also I would think that energy is not free. I want to know if drafting a large truck with a small car actually cost the truck some milage, cause he is now dragging along part of your cars weight or friction.... I am sure that would Tick off a Trucker....
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

In my Truck towing my race trailer I notice some milage improvements, when ridding along with the trucks in the slow lane. Less wind Resistance as they are getting the air moving. So yes it can improve Fuel economy.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

yes it does help and also increases the mileage to an extent for the lead vehicle as well
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Old 03-18-2008, 04:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

I drove semi for a few years, and let me tell you nothing pi$$ed me off more than tail gaters. Let me asked you what your gonna do when that big ole chunk of rubber comes out from under that trailer, it aint gonna be pretty.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

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Originally Posted by cobratori View Post
I drove semi for a few years, and let me tell you nothing pi$$ed me off more than tail gaters. Let me asked you what your gonna do when that big ole chunk of rubber comes out from under that trailer, it aint gonna be pretty.
I can appreciate you not liking tailgater's, so why are there so many big rig drivers out there tailgating. A big percentage of truckers nowadays drive stupid. They don't want you on their bumper, but they'll sure hang on yours.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

I drive a rig for a living and the reason trucks might get on a person is because we hate to have to slow down. Those rigs weigh a LOT and once you slow down its hard to get it back up to speed. So when a Mrs Dumba$$ on her cell phone darts in front of me on the highway and then slows down because she cant handle talking and driving at the same time, I try and rride out her stupidity by getting a little closer and waiting for her to pull her head out of her a$$ and speed back up. sorry if this doesnt answer your ? just a thought.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

Drafting will help conserve fuel, BUT the consequences can be deadly. You can have my part, I'll save fuel in other ways.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Drafting on the highway

Also, If Mr. Highway Patrolman catches you and you have to go to court and pay a fine how much has that drafting saved you compared to the price of a ticket and maybe lost wages at work if you have to appear in court. You young 'living on the edge' guys can have it. This old man will just drive like an old man, well... sometimes.
Be safe out there.
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