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Car maintenance/longetivity driving route optimization - distance vs time

This thought just came to mind recently. Wonder if there are studies or opinions on this matter:

For some journey from A to B, there are multiple routes 1, 2, etc. and one route is shorter distance than the other but negated by the fact that the shorter distance requires longer driving time.

For simplicity, let’s assume we don’t have as much of a case where route 1 is steep slope driving vs flat terrain driving of route 2 (there could be some but let’s assume it’s not that significant). Nor one having a whole lot more traffic lights or street driving than the other. Kinda generalizing here.

So I was wondering under such circumstances, is taking the shorter distance long time route better for the car or the longer distance shorter time one? Or would they end up being the same due to the pros & cons? Better for car in terms of vehicle parts wear, fuel consumption, etc. Obviously mileage wise, the shorter distance is better, and time wise we know which is better, but those other factors I just mentioned aren’t as clear cut.

For another perspective to the question, assuming the time difference between routes and distance difference both are not a big factor, and one is not in a hurry or low on gas, nor does one have a preference to a particular route, nor is one route having tolls. Thus making no clear cut decision to pick a particular route off the bat, is it generally better to pick the slightly shorter distance route or the slightly faster route?

I tend to go for shorter distance to save on mileage, but I wonder if that’s not really all that ideal.

Since the difference in wear and gas used is miniscule, there are no studies to my knowledge that are published. The main considerations are the value of your time and amount of wear on the DRIVER! that’s incurred. I usually make my decisions based on avoiding traffic jams. A little extra gas used is immaterial. A longer drive without stopping also saves on brakes.

I used to take a taxi home from the airport after a trip and one driver took a route that was shorter and through a residential neighborhood. I asked him why and his reply was that by driving way over 100,000 miles a year he actually save a bit on gas. However he said he would never take a route that would take longer for his passengers.

I just got back from vacation, two weeks in Florida visiting the grand kids.
so ?
so, I spent every single day using the GPS on my phone to navigate this unfamiliar territory. And it would often show a choice of routes and the difference in times for each.
In every case I’d choose the route that was . . easiest for . .ME !

    • mentally !
      I like less turn-by-turn changes, less stop and go. The more straight line, like get on the highway instead of through towns, the better.
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I’ll generally take the least time route or the interstate route unless I’m trying to avoid a city or something like Chicago. I don’t think the car really cares where its going but stop and go, big hills, etc. would be harder on the car than straight driving. I don’t understand the low on fuel issue though. There really is not much of an excuse for being low on fuel especially on a trip. You never let it get below 1/2 tank. Like I said before you can never tell when you are going to be in a major traffic issue and being stopped and need that extra fuel. We ended up in about a 70 mile and 3 hour detour on the toll way with cars lined up for miles, no gas stations, and no way out.

I have to drive to a plant 5 miles away, 6 stoplights or signs on the long route, but 45mph for 2/3 4 lane vs 25mph 2 lane and 10 stop signs or lights. Probably about the same amount of time, maybe even a minute or 2 longer, but a much more enjoyable drive, my preference.

A relation to Mr. Gift?

Back when GPS navigation was new, I chose the “shortest route” option. It took me through the worst possible neighborhood(s) you could imagine. That was the LAST time I ever chose the shortest route…

I tried the shortest route option also, instead of 2 lane asphalt highways I was towing my boat back from repair on one lane dirt roads!

From A to B? The trip on the flat surface will be more efficient than the trip up the steep hill.
If you’re going back to A again everything changes.

Seriously, without knowing the exact mileages, the exact elevation changes, the exact car being used, the condition of the car being used, the driving environment of the different routes (one through town, the other on the highway?), whether your MIL is in the trunk, your driving style, and a host of other variables it’s impossible to do anything but offer a wild guess… which might not even be close.

If you like the route you’re using, my recommendation would be to keep using it. :slight_smile: