No, I’m not talking about Mission Impossible-esque driving that will leave your heart screaming (along with that of any pedestrian, motorist, cyclist, and driver along your path). Hyper-driving or, hyper-miling, are driving techniques so that you optimize your cars miles or kilometers per gallon. Hyper-driving can keep more money in your wallet and reduce your carbon footprint.
Are you finding it hard to actually get the same mileage the U.S. EPA estimated for your car? If so, try some of these techniques to see if you can improve it.
1. Go back to the basics – drive as if it’s your first time on the road with your parent in the front passenger seat, grabbing the door arm rest !
Remember when you held a death grip on the steering wheel as you were crawling along well under the speed limit while your Dad grimaced in the passenger seat? Keeping your speed at or under the spend limit is one of the best ways that you can improve your mileage. Driving at a consistent speed is the first and most important hyper-driving point. Steady-Eddy wins the MPG race.
2. Avoid erratic driving. Darting in/out of traffic, rapid acceleration, sudden stops, frequent braking, are all actions that gulp down fuel and put more wear and tear on your vehicle. Whenever possible, anticipate the upcoming stop and coast to a stop, let the natural resistance of your tires do a lot of the slowing down, instead of the brake.
3. Don’t idle for extended periods of time. Turn off the car engine if you’ll be stopped for more than 30 seconds. I’m not talking about instances where the car needs to be warmed up or you’re at a stop light. Cut the engine off if you’re waiting for a friend or any other errand that you know may be a few minutes. Roll down the window, relax, and doodle on your smartphone.
4. Tire Inflation and General Car Maintenance. Why rub more rubber on the road then necessary? By maintaining the tire manufacturer’s specified pressure (its conveniently printed in raised lettering on the side of the tire). Tire pressure gauges are inexpensive and be sure to buy one at your local auto store or online and keep it in the glove box. It will pay for itself in saved gas in a few months.
15% car performance improvement can be realized by keeping your tire properly inflated, changing the oil and air filters according to the schedule. Up to a 40% increase can be realized by making sure the car’s oxygen sensor is properly working.
5. Slower Highway Speeds – Speed kills gas mileage. For every 5 mph over 55, you lose roughly 10% of your fuel economy
Since I mostly walk, take public transportation, or carpool to get around, I don’t have personal experience in hyper-miling. However, I have seen these methods work for many of my friends that have started hyper-driving after the most recent spike in gas prices – and prices are bound to spike again!
Coolest thing is that once my friends incorporated more reasonable driving tactics, they became engrained and are now second nature to them. I have found that being a passenger with these new techniques is a lot more enjoyable too!
These are just a few, for a comprehensive list of ideas (108 tips) check out EcoModder.com. There are quite a few sites out there discussing the pros/cons, so we suggest that you Google – “hypermiling techniques” to gather different viewpoints.
Interesting side note from a report on the Green Channel in June 2010:
IBM has filed a patent application for a smart traffic light that will be able to automatically stop and start vehicle engines. The system will reportedly be able to receive location information from vehicles waiting at red lights to determine if a queue has formed. If the time left for the lights to go green is beyond a set threshold, the traffic light will then send signals to switch off vehicle engines. When the light turns green a notification will be sent to start the engine to the first vehicle in the queue, then the second vehicle and so on down the queue. “The patent application considers that drivers mostly don’t stop the engines at traffic signals, which results in fuel being wasted,” Solar Feeds website reported. The proposed system will gather data from diverse sources – signal clocks, GPS, traffic load information, cameras and sensors embedded at the intersections. The communications side of the system would also be varied, possibly using Wi-Fi, cellular and/or satellite.
Also on YouTube – search on “hyper-miling” and you’ll find plenty of short clips. Here’s one from Fox News that’s one of the better ones. Enjoy.
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