“Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” – George Carlin
Have you ever found yourself behind a car moving painfully slow toward the red light, a quarter of a mile away? What about the people that drive 10 miles per hour under the speed limit on the highway? Did someone cruising right through a stop sign ever frighten you? You may immediately assume these drivers are the impaired elderly or just straight-up dim-wits, but in reality, they might be hypermilers!
If you haven’t heard already, hypermilers are a unique class of drivers that is fanatically obsessed with conserving cash by squeezing more miles per gallon into every fill-up. With $4/gallon gas, many people are suddenly re-examining how their bad driving habits may be costing them more money. Granted, some hypermiler techniques are downright dangerous – like coasting through stop signs to avoid braking, tailgaiting a semi truck to break wind resistance and shutting off the engine when coasting down a hill – but there are many other tactics that are safe and effective. In fact, you could save hundreds of dollars per year.
Here are some hypermiler tips for those who are feeling “pain at the pump”…
- Faster Car Cooling: If it’s a real scorcher, turn on the vents, open your driver and passenger windows, then open your rear windows (to let hot air escape) and then close the windows so the AC is cold right away.
- Faster Car Heating: Cover your windshield to ensure an ice-free morning and use Office Depot’s silver-colored cardboard covering the radiator to retain heat.
- Minimize Air Resistance: Keep your windows up on the highway, follow larger trucks closely, avoid trips on windy days and ride the white line on rainy days to decrease surface friction rolling through puddles.
- Decrease Breaking: Since the most gas is used braking and accelerating, avoid braking whenever possible. Take your time getting to the light and coast when you’re coming to a full intersection. After the light turns green, give yourself a 10-15 second buffer so you can see brake lights well in advance and avoid hard braking.
- Maximize Fuel Economy: Improve your fuel economy by inflating your tires regularly. According to www.fueleconomy.gov, you can lower your gas mileage by 0.6% for every 1 psi drop in pressure your four tires are under-inflated. This equates to a 3.3% savings.
- Plan Your Route: Every time you stop, you’re wasting fuel, so map out your route on the Internet before you leave. Look for fewer stoplights and fewer stop signs. Use Mapquest’s “Multi-Stop Route Builder” to see the best order and route for your destinations. Avoid rush-hour driving at all costs!
- Park To Exit: When parking your car, park at the highest spot in the lot and face out, so you can just roll forward in neutral, rather than turning your engine on, backing up and breaking – all of which waste gas.
- Clean Your Car: Get all that junk out of your trunk. Remove extra van seats and roof racks. The more drag on your vehicle, the worse your gas mileage is.
- Pulse And Glide: Prius owner James Cullen pulses (accelerates up to 40 mph) and then glides back down to 30, which minimizes the use of the internal combustion engine. Hybrid owners have this as a built-in feature, but any driver can do this little trick. Just be sure you’re in a 35 – 45 mph speed zone!
- Monitor Your Progress: Avid hypermilers buy a device called a Scan Gauge, which costs around $160 and tells them how many mpg they’re getting in real time so they can adjust their driving.
Consider This: Driving instructor Matt Herring of Super Commuter in North Andover, Massachusetts improved the fuel economy of his 2005 Toyota 4Runner from 17 to 22 miles per gallon, which saved him 3 gallons every fill-up and $900 per year!
|Article: Jennn Fusion