AAA reviews best routes from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach

This is a press release from AAA Carolinas, which details the best routes to Myrtle Beach.

CHARLOTTE (WBTV) – The AAA Carolinas Great Myrtle Beach Road Race showed fuel savings for those following the speed limit, determined the most efficient route and found three congested areas that motorists should avoid if possible.

A  2011 Chrysler 300 M averaged 31 miles per gallon, traveling the most efficient route, following the speed limit rigorously between CLT and MB.  The route was 485 to route 218, to US-74 in Polkton to SC-38 which turns into US-501, then 22 (Conway Bypass to Highway 17.

The EPA estimates for the Chrysler are 18 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway and this trip resulted in a 31 mpg rating.

Three lessons learned, US-74 through Monroe is extremely congested and hurts travel time, traveling through Florence proved confusing and taking 501 into Myrtle Beach is slower than the Conway bypass (SC-22).

"It showed that going the speed limit relieves the worry of getting a ticket, reduces your chance of getting into a wreck and saves fuel," said Tom Crosby, vice president of Communications, AAA Carolinas.

The shortest trip took three hours and 18 minutes while speeding compared with the speed limit route which took three hours and 36 minutes.  Speeding resulted in a time advantage of only 17 minutes.

The quickest route traveling with normal driving behavior was the route that took US-74 after Monroe to US-52 South to Wadesboro, to SC-9 to 38 which turns into US-501 followed by SC-22 (Conway Bypass).

The Department of Energy estimates that for every 5 mph over 60 mph, a vehicles fuel economy is decreased between 7 and 23 percent.

Speeding is a contributing factor in one third of traffic fatalities in North and South Carolina.  This equates to approximately 730 deaths caused by speeders using 2009 figures.

"I had to make a conscious effort to maintain the speed limit," said Whitney Berongi, driver of Route 3 and AAA employee.  "After seeing the gas savings though, I'll continue to focus on slowing down."

In addition to finding the most efficient route, the experiment answered three questions:

• How much longer does it take when obeying the speed limit (Durham and three Charlotte trips)?  The Durham speeders gained 10 minutes, and an average of 9 minutes on the three routes from Charlotte.

• How much gas consumption is reduced by obeying the speed limit (Durham and three Charlotte trips)? Gas consumption showed an improvement over EPA highway estimates in all cases for those following the speed limit.

"These results prove that speeding is never worth the risk," said Crosby.  "Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for people age 3 to 30, and speeding is the greatest single contributor to those fatalities."

"With the summer travel season just around the corner, we hope the results will encourage travelers to slow down to conserve gasoline and avoid speeding tickets and accidents," said Crosby.

 The three routes from Charlotte are listed in detail below:

 Route 1: Take I-485 South to NC-218.  Get on US 74 East through Rockingham to NC-38 South.  Pick up US-501 South near Latta to SC-22 East to US-17.  South on US-17 to the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes.

Speed Limit: Tom Crosby, 2011 Chrysler 300M, MPG City-18, Hwy-27

Normal Driving: Michelle Ragone, 2009 Honda Accord, MPG City-21, Hwy-30

 Route 2: Take I-77 South from Charlotte to SC-9 South near Richburg.  Pick up SC-903 to SC-151 South to US-52 South.  Take I-95 North for a few miles and then South on SC-327.  Head down US-76 East to SC-576 East, followed by US-501 South into US-17 North.  Drive North on US-17 to the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes.

Speed Limit: Clint Kemp, 2008 GMC Acadia, MPG City-16, Hwy-24

Normal Driving: Steve Phillips, 2007 Jeep Commander, MPG City-14, Hwy-18

 Route 3: Head East out of Charlotte on US-74 and pick up US-52 South near Wadesboro.  Pick up SC-9 followed by 38  which turns into 501 South to 22.  Take 22 into 17 and head South on 17 to the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes.

Speed Limit: Whitney Berongi, 2007 Toyota Yaris, MPG City-29, Hwy-35

Normal Driving: Jason Gaskins, 2009 Toyota Camry, MPG City-21, Hwy-31

The route from Durham is detailed below:

Head East on I-40 to I-95 South.  Take I-95 to SC-38, this road becomes US-501 South.  Continue on US-501 South to US-17 North to the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes.

Speed Limit: Camille Roundtree, 2005 Ford Focus, MPG City-22, Hwy-29

Normal Driving: Clarence Russ, 2001 Ford F-250, MPG City-