No, I don’t drive a Prius, though I wish I did… My Accord works just fine.

At the request of my brother Matthew, I will describe my recent hypermiling endeavors. I learned about hypermiling in mid June, and tried it out immediately on a drive down to Waco (about 100mi from me). I was amazed at the gas mileage I was able to achieve by doing some simple things. On my first attempt for a whole tank, I was able to beat the EPA’s estimate for fuel economy by 10%. That meant that instead of getting just under 28mpg, I was getting a little over 30mpg.

The real fun has come now that I have started to really learn the techniques. I was recently able to achieve 38mpg for my entire trip to Alabama and back (1400mi). This is a huge accomplishment for me, considering my car should only get 30mpg on the highway. I was able to increase my mileage by 30%!! So, if you had a car that could normally get 40mpg, you could easily (in my estimation) get 52mpg… and so on, ad nauseaum…

The techniques can be found online in several places. A technical description can be found here, and a more easily readable description can be found here. The main techniques that I have found helpful are:

1) driving slower. Instead of driving 80mph I drive the speed limit OR LOWER. They say 55mph is the best for your vehicle’s fuel economy, however this IS NOT ALWAYS possible due to traffic. Be careful. You should drive in the right-hand lane if you are hypermiling, to avoid causing road rage.

2) coasting more. I now coast as much as possible, only using the accelerator when necessary. My car is not harmed by sliding the transmission into neutral, but yours might be so check it out first. Coasting in neutral down a big hill can really save some gas. Putting the car into neutral may not be legal in your area…. However, even a gentle slope can allow you to stay at the proper speed while coasting. Once you have mastered that…

3) turn the engine off. At red lights, in the parking lot, etc. Maybe even while coasting downhill or up to a redlight… be careful and only do it if you know it is legal and not harmful to you.

4) turn off the A/C. In Texas, you can’t do it much in the summer. But if you turn you’re A/C off every five minutes or so, you can still save gas. A/C can cost you 10% of your fuel efficiency.

5) Pulse and Glide. I’m still working on this one. The idea is to accelerate up to speed, then shift into neutral and glide back to about 10mph slower. Then accelerate back up to speed and repeat. Only attempt this when you are not going to cause traffic behind you to become enraged. I was able to coast about 1/4mi on flat highway last week each time.

6) the really good guys buy a device called a scangauge and track their Fuel efficiency like crazy. I’m not quite there yet. Mainly, because I don’t have the cash after buying a new camcorder.

That’s it, you too can get better fuel efficiency, and perhaps even emit less carbon!! It saves money too!! Win – win situation!!

One comment on “Hypermiling Basics

  • Interesting write up on hypermiling. I can ‘testify’ that the Scangauge is well worth the $$ invested. Pretty much any vehicle can get better numbers than the old EPA – it’s up to the driver.

    Cheers,

    Keith
    http://www.100mpg.ca

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