Hypermiling: Driving Tricks to Max Your MPG

Prices of gasoline are on an upward trend again, and it is very unlikely to go down in the foreseeable … Continued

Prices of gasoline are on an upward trend again, and it is very unlikely to go down in the foreseeable future. Ingenious drivers, in these times, turn to hypermiling in order to maximize every drop of gasoline in their engines.

Hypermiling is a kind of extremely energy efficient way of driving, with people learning how to use their cars to not waste money on gas usage. The best part is, there is no need to buy a new car, especially those very economical but quite expensive cars, but rather to stick to your current car by using it in the most energy-efficient way possible. Thus, it is both a smart and cost-effective way to drive.

Hypermiling consists of various driving techniques that are successful in increasing the number of miles you can get for every gallon of fuel.

fuel

How Can You Increase Your Car’s Mileage While Using Less Gasoline?

There are ways to do so not just while driving, but even before you get on the road. Steps to make your car very fuel-efficient should be done to make it possible to save money.

  • The first step is to get your car professionally serviced. In order for the car to run more efficiently, it is important to replace the oil and ensure that the wheels are correctly aligned.
  • You should try to reduce the car’s weight, or at least remove any deadweight. This means, removing any unnecessary items in the car, although you should keep vital car repair or emergency items at all times.
  • If your car has a roof rack but you never use it, then just remove it as it adds to the weight and aerodynamic drag of the car.
  • You should make sure to check your tire pressure regularly.
  • When driving, close the windows and the sunroof.

Driving In The City In The Most Efficient Way

Those who live in busy urban areas will not just mean getting stuck in traffic jams, but it will also not be very good for fuel efficiency. After all, when your engine is running but your car is standing still, you are using quite a bit of gasoline in the process. This does not mean, however, that you cannot hypermile in the big city.

  • Choose a longer but less busy route. Even if you have to drive further, it is actually still more fuel efficient to drive a longer route that has much less traffic on the streets.
  • Leave early with some allowance for traffic or other delays. Rushing will make it impossible for you to hypermile and maximize your gasoline.
  • Try not to drive in bad weather and if possible, do so when it is warm. Tests have proven that cars are much more efficient during midday when the day is warmest.
  • Do your best to go to the gasoline station when it is not as busy so you are not idling while waiting for your turn.
  • When you are stuck in a traffic jam, switch off your engine especially when it is barely moving. However, make sure your car has been serviced so it will easily start again.
  • If possible, avoid driving during the rush hour.
  • When parked, turn off your car’s engine immediately. A car that is idling will use a liter of gasoline every hour.

Learn How To Accelerate But Still Get The Best MPG

  • When driving on the highway, it is best to use cruise control especially when the road is flat and straight.
  • Let people pass you if you are driving more slowly, just make sure you stay on the right lane for slower cars.
  • Driving without shoes can make a difference because when you are barefoot or only wearing socks, you can control how much you are stepping on the gas pedal.
  • You might have to experiment in order to find the right combination of engine speed (or RPM) and torque (or NM) that will allow you to get more MPG. Newer cars, however, will have an MPG Consumption display that allows you to monitor how you are doing. Some have eco driving indicators, while others feature eco mode.

It is important to point out that being fuel efficient does not mean you cannot accelerate quickly, but this is actually a huge misconception. Research has found the opposite to be true. The best way to achieve the best fuel economy is to accelerate quickly and then shift. This does not mean pushing your car too much, but step on the gas and use about two-thirds of the power available, and then change the gears immediately.

If your car is OBD-II and EOBD compliant (you can check your car manual to find out) can try out the app Engine Link to check real-time fuel efficiency of your car driving in different gears.

The Basics Of Braking And Getting More MPG

Drivers who are die-hard hypermilers hate to use the brakes. While the gas pedal turns gasoline into kinetic motion, the brakes, on the other hand, just waste it. Thus, an important part of learning how to hypermile is to reduce the use of the brake as much as possible while, of course, staying safe on the road.

  • Avoid rushing to intersections and instead, time your approach so that you reach the junction as the light turns green while giving leeway to the car in front of you to accelerate.
  • Reduce stopping if possible, as your car will use less energy to accelerate when you are already driving at a slow pace.
  • Approach the red light slowly instead of hard braking at the last minute. If possible, roll to a stop.
  • Hypermilers follow a technique called “accordion driving” when stuck in a traffic jam. This means waiting for the car in front to move before slowly driving. The key is timing it so that the car in front is moving again as you reach it. Unfortunately, it might annoy other drivers when you overdo it.

Tips For Driving On The Freeway

Driving on the freeways will always mean higher gasoline usage. However, there are ways to hypermile on the highway.

  • When the weather permits, switch off your lights during the day.
  • Slipstreaming behind other cars or trucks, also called drafting, is proven to improve fuel efficiency, but out of safety reasons, maintain some distance.
  • Whenever possible, slow down without stepping on the brakes. This is much easier to do when you are aware you will need to slow down, like when exiting the freeway.
  • Monitor your MPG usage if you have a consumption display. This feature is normally available in new cars.
  • Instead of prioritizing steady MPH, focus on constant MPG instead. Once you find an ideal MPG figure, you can adjust your MPH as needed (without speeding, of course).

mpg

Pulse And Glide Hypermiling Driving Technique

Modern cars are already fuel efficient, but still, there are ways to improve your MPG. When you own one of these cars, like a Prius, you can practice pulse and glide. The key is to shut off the engine while freewheeling in order to save gasoline. In fact, this is more efficient to speed up then glide in cycles.

Specifically, if you are driving down a road where your target speed is 40mph, you do not just drive at this speed. Instead, you accelerate to 50 (pulse), then coast in neutral with the engine turned off until you reach 35 (glide). Basically, you just do this repeatedly. Again, this is only possible when your car has the feature to cut off the engine while freewheeling.

Other Concerns About Hypermiling

While many people love the idea of saving money on gasoline, they also want to reach their destination as quickly as possible. Driving fast can be fun and this is why lots of people do it. However, it has been proven (by doing the necessary calculations) that driving quickly only brings advantages when you are driving very long distances (around 500 miles). Otherwise, making the choice to speed up instead of driving efficiently does not bring any benefits.

Another important thing to do is to not let the fuel gauge run empty because simply put, without enough gasoline, there is no combustion. Thus, it is best to keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle.

If you are interested in trying out hypermiling or saving money by maximizing your MPG, you would want to first figure out your car’s exact consumption. There are websites that feature this data, specifically how many miles you can drive per gallon, once you plug in the information of your vehicle. You will need to find out exactly what model you have to get the accurate information.

Again, owners of newer cars will not need to do this, as the car itself will have an MPG consumption usage counter. It will be good to study this information to understand which driving styles improve or worsen your MPG. You can try out these hypermiling techniques to find out which ones are actually effective for you and your car.

When you start seeing your full tank lasting longer and your savings piling up, then you would realize the value of making these adjustments to your driving method.

Sources:

  1. What is Hypermiling? – howstuffworks
  2. How Hypermiling Works – CARSTUFF
  3. How to Hypermile – wikiHow
  4. Safe Hypermiling Techniques – howstuffworks