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The Hypermiling Guide For Beginners | Part One

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How to Hypermile (A Guide for Beginners)

Hypermiling is getting a lot of attention these days, as the environment becomes more precious and the price at the pump climbs ever higher. Hypermiling is the practice of driving to get the maximum fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG.com holds the hypermiling record (2,250 miles on a single tank – roughly 164 miles per gallon) and is credited with starting the phenomena. Though hypermiling began as a way for hybrid drivers to “compete” against themselves for ultimate fuel economy, the methods of hypermiling can be applied in any car.

Hypermiling for Beginners

Hypermiling drafting is more than just a way of driving – it is a way of thinking. Rather than rushing about town, worrying about finishing your errands quickly, as you get deeper into hypermiling, you’ll find that you measure errands and trips in fuel economy and not time. It is best to start with just a few simple steps and habits and add more as you become accustomed to driving for ultimate fuel economy.

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  • Reduce your speed. I drive about seven highway miles to work each day and prior to hypermiling, I would race down this stretch at about 70 mph. My total commute time was about ten minutes (I live in Iowa, so rush hour doesn’t really go down). Now, as a hypermiler, I drive about 55 mph and my commute is still approximately 10 minutes. Hybrids and standard vehicles operate at higher fuel efficiency when the RPMs are low, so slowing down releases a lot of pressure on the engine – saving me gas and money. (Note: Driving slower than about 40 miles per hour can actually have a negative effect on your gas mileage, and in a 55 zone it might be illegal.)
  •  Go with the flow…coast to stops. When you’re driving in the city, anticipating stoplight changes can really boost your fuel economy. If you see the light ahead of you is red, immediately take your foot of the gas pedal and coast toward the stop. That way, you aren’t using gas just to rush up to a red light and idle. It’s amazing that even with gas at an all time high, many drivers still speed to the stop light and slam on the brakes in the last few seconds.
  • Lose some weight. Heavier loads take more energy to haul, so unpack all the non-essentials from your car. Expert hypermilers know the value of a traveling light. Was it US Airways that recently announced they were removing their in-flight entertainments systems to reduce weight? It’s the same concept with your car, truck, or SUV.
  • Regular check-ups do a hybrid good! Keeping your tires properly inflated and oil clean will also help increase fuel economy in your standard car or hybrid. If you are hypermiling on a hybrid, be sure to check the engine control module is reporting properly. This way, you can keep track of just how much of an impact hypermiling is having on your bottom line.

Are you a hypermiler? Check us out next week for more advanced tips and techniques on hypermiling (aka hypermileing and hypermilling)! While you’re waiting, you can learn more at the hypermiling wiki (here) or try a forum on hypermiling.com (here).

By Jeff Carey

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. […] week, we introduced you to the idea of hypermiling (see Hypermiling Techniques For Beginners), a way to get the maximum fuel efficiency out of your hybrid or traditional car. Sure, those […]

  2. […] my driving? Check out last week’s articles on hypermilingfor tips on how to boost your hybrid’s fuel efficiency! Combined, these little tips can make a big […]

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