I like to think of myself as a caring individual of this planet. I am trying to leave as little destruction of the environment as possible during my stay here and for the most part I think I’m doing an ok job. Of course, I drive a Jeep Wrangler, which is not exactly the most eco-friendly vehicle one can choose, but like I said, I do an “ok” job.

I noticed shortly after purchasing my Jeep that there was an indicator on the dashboard that showed when I was driving in an ecologically friendly fashion. A little “Eco On” light would blink on and off when my driving habits were where they should be and it didn’t take long for me to figure out where the “sweet spot” was to get that light to be on as much as possible, for example, the light never came on over 72 MPH and it would not come back on until you slowed down to 65 MPH. When commuting back and forth to the office, I would drive at 70 MPH on the Thruway and watch others whizz by me, knowing that I was doing my part to make a smaller impact on the environment. I didn’t feel smug.

The past weekend we had to get down to the Philly area pretty quick, so I kind of shunned the Eco indicator on the dashboard and, thankfully, was able to turn the indicator off so I wasn’t constantly reminded of my temporary driving habits. I felt some guilt but I did my best with it.

Imagine my surprise when the fuel-use indicator showed that I gained a greater MPG rating than when I was trying to drive with the Eco On indicator illuminated. Instead of averaging around 18.5 MPG, I was able to hit a little over 20 MPG and that was be driving faster than usual.

Thinking that there must have been some helpful hills and the like, I decided to experiment again yesterday during my normal commute to the office and sure enough, when ignoring the Eco indicator on the dashboard, I was able to achieve a higher MPG rating.

What’s up with that?

I don’t think I’m missing anything here in determining that a higher MPG means a touch less of an impact to the environment, so why the discrepancy? No clue. Earl says that the Eco light is a gimmick. I’m starting to wonder that myself.

There’s too many gimmicks in the world.