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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 31, 1922

The common practice of waiting to shift gears on hills until the car has almost come to a stop is one of the causes of waste of small amounts of gasoline.  In ascending a hill don't wait until the last second to shift into a lower gear.  If you do you will not only lose speed and overtax your engine but you will also consume more gasoline.

According to the Bureau of Public Roads these facts were shown by tests conducted by Professor T. R. Agg of Iowa State College in co-operation with the Bureau under the auspices of the National Research Council.

The tests were made to discover the effect of various kinds of highway surfacing material and different grades on gasoline consumption.  The conclusion with reference to faulty driving is merely incidental to the tests, but it is one which will mean a small saving to every man who drives a car.

The vehicles were equipped with a device which makes a continuous record of the speed at every instant.

In the test with a four-ton truck on one trip the gears were shifted at a speed of 10 miles an hour and on the other at a speed of 5 miles an hour.  At the higher speed the gasoline consumption was at the rate of 4.2 miles per gallon, and in the other case it was 3.5 miles per gallon.  The tests showed very clearly the economy of the early shift.

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