Have you heard of "Hypermiling"?
Hypermiling is a method of driving your car in a manner that maximizes mileage, and it can be done in any vehicle regardless of whether it has a hybrid or traditional gasoline powerplant. Hypermiling has become a popular technique among drivers worldwide, especially as concerns over increasing gas prices and environmental issues heighten.
Wikipedia says the term 'hypermiler' originated from hybrid vehicle driving clubs and one man -- Wayne Gerdes -- in particular. As people began comparing fuel efficiency, they noticed that using certain driving techniques could greatly improve their mileage. As real-time mileage displays became more common on cars, drivers were able to refine their driving techniques with immediate feedback in order to greatly exceed the EPA rating for their vehicle. Hypermiling.com looks at it this way: "A ten percent increase in MPG is equivalent to getting one free fillup of gasoline after every 10 fillups." Hard to argue with that example.
Wayne Gerdes isn't a slow driver, he's deliberate. Some say he's the best hypermiler in the world. He says he's managed to get 59 miles per gallon out of his regular 2005 Honda Accord (a car which even Honda expects to get about 34 miles per gallon at best), 127 miles per gallon in a Prius, and 200 miles per gallon out of a Honda Insight hybrid. Impressive.
We found a great story at EcoTrekker
recently that shares 100 tips for Hypermilers. Whether you're trying to
make a difference by helping the environment, or you're aiming to save
a few more dollars at the pump each month, this article provides the
ultimate guide to hypermiling, with tips and resources for smart
Keep in mind, not all hypermiling techniques are considered safe for the average driver to practice at all times, but some of them are quite easy to implement as part of your daily driving habits.
Consider the first six tips out of the hundred in the EcoTrekker Hypermiling article:
- Drive a stick shift: If you're used to driving automatic, switching over to a stick shift might take a little practice, but it's definitely worth it. Once you have more control over the vehicle, you'll be able to master more hypermiling tricks.
- Stop speeding: The harder you press the gas pedal, the more gas you're using. If you're driving over the speed limit, you might save time, but you're definitely wasting gas and money. Slow down a little if you can so that you're driving at or just below the actual speed limit.
- Coast instead of braking: When you see a stop sign up ahead or a traffic light turning yellow, immediately take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you wait until the last possible minute to brake, then you're wasting all the gas you used when you could have been slowing down.
- Cruise Control: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents "you from "creeping" up in speed without realizing it," according to Epistolary.org.
- Put your car in neutral: Coasting with your car in neutral takes the burden off your gas pedal, preventing you from wasting fuel. If you're not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.
- Lighten the load: The heavier your car is, the harder it has to work to propel itself forward. Empty out your trunk and backseat of ice chests, beach chairs, and other items that you're not using to lighten the load.
These are all easy techniques to use every day to help improve your fuel economy. Other techniques become more complicated and might be considered a little obsessive, but heck, when you're hypermiling, every single step you take means pennies in your pocket in saved fuel costs.
The article includes important maintenance suggestions to help ensure your car is running smoothly and efficiently, including such obvious tips as get your oil changed and check your tire pressure. (How many times have we already told you this?)
It also lists ten vehicles considered to be the best for hypermiling, including the traditional Prius and Civic hybrids that many people associate, but also some others with fuel economy figures that might surprise you.
Finally, the article contains lots of links and references to educate readers on how they can become true hypermilers themselves; true stories on how other hypermiles have been able to "use that much less gas, save that much more money, be less addicted to foreign oil, and contribute to a greener planet."
Are you conscious of your average fuel economy? Do you track your mileage and take active steps to improve your gas consumption? Please tell us what you do to help reduce your fuel costs here!