Today, we are going to teach you “hypermiling.”
Experts say you can cut your fuel costs in half, or better. What’s more, anyone can take advantage of hypermiling for virtually no additional cost. And you don’t need to do anything crazy like install an extra fuel tank on your car or property, invest in expensive equipment, or buy a government-subsidized electric or flex fuel vehicle (unless you prefer).
In fact, hypermiling works perfectly well with traditional vehicles like minivans, RVs, and 4x4s!
This is what some enthusiasts have said:
“I previously had managed to increase the mileage on my motorhome (while towing) from 7.2 to 8.8 mpg – a 22% increase!”
“The EPA standard for the [Land] Rover was 12 mpg combined. I got 17.75 mpg – a 48% increase!”
“I regularly get about 32 mpg out of my dodge caravan…”
“My average mileage is 23.5 mpg [from my 2.5 ton commercial truck.]”
OK, So What Exactly Is Hypermiling?
Delta Airlines bought a petroleum refinery in Pennsylvania to better manage their jet fuel costs. For most of us, that’s not practical, but hypermiling is…
Put simply, it’s the use of driving techniques that maximize your fuel economy and cut down waste. Ingenious drivers combine these techniques and driving habits to squeeze every extra mile, from every gallon of fuel they can. And it works.
Ford Fusion Hybrid:
1,445.7 Miles out of One Tank of Gas
We’re certainly not fans of any government subsidies. Thirty-plus years of federal energy policy have accomplished little but keeping us dependent on foreign oil while enriching some crony capitalists.
Still, there have been some significant fuel efficiencies achieved by smaller cars and hybrids. For instance, Ford ran an open road (not a controlled laboratory test) hypermiling experiment that squeezed 1,445.7 miles out of one tank of gas, or 81.5 mpg, on a stock Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Fast and Easy Steps
to Reap the Rewards of Hypermiling,
No Matter What You Drive
One foundation is keeping your vehicle well maintained. If your car is in poor shape, the more advanced techniques won’t make up for it…
- Tire Pressure – Inflate your tires to what the tire manufacturer they should be… not what the automaker says. Properly inflated tires keep “rolling resistance” low, which makes your car more fuel efficient.
- Align Your Wheels – A car that drives straight and doesn’t consistently pull to one side saves fuel.
- Use a Clean Air Filter and Spark Plugs – A dirty filter suffocates your engine and forces it to work harder. Dirty spark plugs don’t properly burn fuel, they waste it.
- Lose Weight – Many people use their trunks as a spare closet, that’s a very expensive habit. Reports say 100 pounds of excess weight reduces fuel efficiency by 2% to 5%. Start removing nonessential things that add weight.
Some committed hypermilers who commute long distances even remove some of the seats. Some say aluminum wheels could weigh less than steel wheels. Extreme drivers even remove the spare tire (not recommended unless you have newer tires, drive only on well-maintained roads, and have emergency road service to get you out of any jam).
Another good tip is to wash away excess weight. One hypermiler says his truck easily collects 10 to 20 pounds of gunk and dry mud stuck underneath, especially around the spare tire.
- Use Lighter-Weight Oil – Adjust based on your circumstances. A lighter (lower viscosity) oil helps your engine to work less.
- Cut Out Wind Drag – Remove roof racks and other exterior items that produce wind resistance (this could even help cut down on weight). Some go as far as taping up or covering gaps to make smoother aerodynamics. Lowering the rear gate on your truck also significantly decreases wind resistance on most models.
Safer AND More Fuel Efficient
- Mind Your RPMs and Momentum – One hypermiler says, “Hypermilage is more about your engine RPM than anything else. The faster it revs (i.e the faster you go) the more air and fuel goes through the engine.”
In other words, don’t abuse your car or drive aggressively; this wastes gas. Gentle acceleration is best, and let momentum be your friend. Once you practice a bit, you’ll find that you don’t always need to press down on the accelerator to get around places like a parking lot, drive up to a red light, or drive downhill. Keep your foot off the gas pedal and use the car’s natural momentum to your advantage.
Some experts even figure out how to time their local traffic lights. They know about how long a red light takes to turn green; so they time themselves to cruise to the light, and as it changes to green, they still have enough momentum pushing them forward to slowly accelerate again. This keeps their car at the most fuel efficient gears, wasting minimum gas. Also, driving a stick shift gives you maximum control over your RPMs.
- Plan Your Trips Efficiently – Avoid heavy traffic by using the Internet, radio, or a good GPS to get current traffic reports, and use the best routes. Leave earlier so you’re not in a rush, which helps you avoid a heavy foot and mental stress.
A warm engine is more efficient, however idling to warm up your engine doesn’t benefit today’s cars. It wastes gas. Instead, if you’re running errands, drive to the farthest distance location first. This helps warm up the engine to optimal temperatures, then drive yourself closer and closer to home.
- The Weather – Avoid inclement weather like heavy wind, rain, or snow. In the rain, drive higher up on the crown of the road where water puddles less. In snow, choose roads and travel lanes with less snow.
- Use Cruise Control, Even on City Roads – Read your owner’s manual for recommended speeds. However, if you’re in little to no traffic and cruising on the main roads, cruise control keeps the fuel flowing smoothly and even, which conserves gas. On highways, cruise control is your friend.
- 55 Miles an Hour Is the Most Efficient Speed – If you value your time, this is not an attractive option. And a dangerous one if everyone else is doing 70 MPH, as the danger of someone rear ending you goes up. But driving 55 MPH has been proven in numerous tests. Also, studies find every 5 MPH over 65 MPH cuts fuel economy nearly 5%. If this sounds too slow, plan your driving and leave earlier. Besides, you can invest the extra car time by listening to relaxing music or books on tape and get a “highway education.”
- Don’t Idle – Turn off your car instead. In today’s cars, turning on your engine uses as much fuel as idling for a mere 7 seconds. If you’re waiting for someone at the curb or fiddling with your stereo in the parking lot, turn off the engine.
- Install a Mileage Calculator – It’s been said, “What is measured, improves.” A mileage calculator gives you real time feedback on your miles per gallon, and it encourages you to use more money saving habits. You can achieve some of the same benefits simply by computing your MPG every time you fill up.
Some Extreme Hypermiling
Tips Others Use – But…
Hardcore enthusiasts really push hypermiling to the edge. Beware; some of their techniques are dangerous and possibly even illegal in some areas.