Do Flags Make Any Difference To Fuel Economy?

Flag crop Renault Fluence ZE Better Place in the rain with flagsEvery year many Israelis celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut by adorning their cars with flags. Like most I assumed these would have some kind of deleterious effect on fuel economy and one tweeter even told me they increased fuel use by 8%.

As usual I put two of these flags on my car this year. Any difference they make to my car would be exactly the same on a petrol car, it’s just the absolute efficiency of my car is much easier to measure. If my range is 120km in normal use including freeway driving at fast speeds, an 8% reduction would drop that range by 8% which is 10km.

Well it didn’t I drove to Jerusalem and back twice with the flags in place and noticed no measurable increase in electricity usage. I drove at Israel’s legal limit (ahem) of 110km wherever possible. A straight drive from my home to Gina Sakarov switching station in Jerusalem had me arriving there with 30% battery. That’s absolutely the same as I usually experience without flags.

Overall, for the couple of weeks I’ve had the flags on the car, I can see no significant increase in electricity use.

I’m sure they make some difference, but it’s sub 1% and very hard to measure, even on an electric car as sensitive to this kind of thing as mine. Rain actually makes more of a difference.

Renault Fluence ZE Better Place in the rain with flags

About Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian's interests include electric cars, world peace and an end to world hunger. Besides blogging here, Brian of London now writes at the Times of Israel. Brian of London also hosted Shire Network News

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Israeli Driver Master Class – Yom Ha’atzmaut Edition | Israellycool
23 April 2013 at 9:04pm
[...] from flying flags on Yon Ha’atzmaut, for the past couple of years a new fab ...

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  • Jim from Iowa

    Brian, I would be interested to know the effect on fuel economy if you drove the same route with your head stuck out the window. I bet there would be some real drag there.

    • sams

      Why would you ever drive with your head out of the window ?

      My dad did it once because of a broken windshield, but not exactly the most safe and fun way to travel, plus there is the question of the “stoning birtheight” of Palestinians and I wouldn’t want Brian to lose his face for an experiment.

      • Jim from Iowa

        I think Brian is just dedicated enough to the scientific method and having a strong desire to satisfy his intellectual curiosity to do it. I never thought about the stone throwing aspect, but I think it’s well worth it for Brian to take that risk to advance this scientific discovery.

  • mrzee

    How much of an effect do you notice driving in the rain?

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