Hypermiling: How to Save
Big on Gas
Gas prices are soaring over $4 a gallon in much of the United
States, and there's no telling just how high the prices will
go. In response, the Department of Transportation reported
its largest decrease in driving ever from March 2007 to March
2008, with 11 billion fewer miles driven.
Stop-and-go traffic is one of the worst scenarios for
gas mileage. Avoid it whenever you can.
For many, driving for pleasure is simply no longer an option
but what if you could squeeze more mileage out of each
gallon? To the tune of 50 to 90 miles per gallon? Driving
would become a lot more manageable financially, no?
Well, believe it or not, it is possible. And it's being done
right now by dedicated hypermilers across the country.
What is Hypermiling?
Hypermiling is a strategy to improve mileage and reduce emissions
just by modifying your driving habits.
When Joshua Zumbrun, a Washington Post writer, tried out
the techniques he achieved 75.6 miles per gallon in his 2001
Honda Insight (which had an estimated 57 mpg in the city).
Not too shabby.
"Anybody can be a hypermiler. It doesn't matter if you're
in a Dodge Durango getting 10 mpg today. You can get 15 mpg
tomorrow," Wayne Gerdes, dubbed "America's greatest
hypermiler," told the Washington Post. "It's going
to save fuel. And this country needs that."
How to Use Hypermiling Techniques
While not all hypermiling techniques are safe or advisable,
according to experts (such as over-inflating your tires, which,
though fuel efficient, can compromise their traction), there
are plenty of tips that can maximize your fuel economy.
Using cruise control on the highway can improve your
fuel efficiency by up to 14 percent!
Get your oil changed on time. The longer you
wait, the thicker your oil gets, which makes it harder
to move through the engine.
Take the best route. Sometimes a longer route
is more fuel-friendly if it has good driving conditions.
Avoid routes with big hills or lots of stop-and-start
Use cruise control on the highway. This cuts
down on unnecessary fuel changes that guzzle gas. One
Edmunds.com test even found that using cruise control
when you're going 70 mph can give you nearly 14 percent
Accelerate slowly. When you start driving from
a green light, press the accelerator down no more than
one inch (unless you have to). Accelerating slowly, along
with stopping gradually, can cut your gas usage by 35
percent, according to Edmunds.com.
Stop gradually. As we said above, stopping gradually
at red lights and stop signs can save your gas big time.
As soon as you see a yellow light or stop sign, take your
foot off the accelerator and coast.
Don't speed. For every 5 mph above 55, you can
lose up to 10 percent of your fuel economy, according
to auto expert Pat Goss in the Washington Post.
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