Hypermiling is all about modifying your driving habits to improve your vehicle's fuel economy. While hypermiling isn't quite as popular today as it was a few years ago (cheaper gas and all), there's something to be said for achieving a better average MPG than Honda says you can.
So, if you're down with burning less gas, here's what you want to do next time you get behind the wheel of your Accord.
1) Don't Drive
Seriously - not driving your car is the best way to save gas (duh).
But we don't mean that you should walk or ride your bike (only that's great if you do). We're talking about:
- Consolidating all your errands and short trips into one long trip. Short trips kill your fuel economy.
- Avoid driving any more than absolutely necessary. Shut off your car at long stoplights or in the drive-thru. Don't let your car warm-up for more than a few seconds.
2) Get Rid of Extra Weight
Everyone has stuff in their car they don't need to be driving around with. Search through your car's interior and trunk. Get rid of any unnecessary items that are heavy or don't need to be there.
Shaving off a few pounds here and there will help you save gas in the long run. Less weight makes it easier for your car to move. It's estimated that reducing the weight of your car by 100lbs improves fuel economy 1%.
3) Drive Like Your Grandparents
If you want to hypermile like a pro, you should model your driving after your grandma and grandpa.
- Try not to let your RPMs go over 3,00 as you accelerate.
- Coast as much as possible.
- Plan your stops far ahead, so you can start coasting at the earliest moment.
- Don't drive faster than 55mph if you can help it, as vehicle fuel efficiency declines dramatically the faster you go.
- Stick to the right lane where you won't feel pressured to drive faster than the speed limit.
The experts say that 90% of hypermiling is driving slowly and efficiently. While it's hard to break some old habits, driving like your grandparents will make you an excellent hypermiler.
4) Keep Your Tires Inflated Properly
Most tires are underinflated. Even if you have a Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) installed, odds are good that your tires are probably still under-inflated.
So, to maximize gas mileage, check your tire pressure and keep them properly inflated. We recommend buying a quality digital tire pressure gauge and using it every time you fill up your vehicle so you can air your tires up every week or two.
A portable air compressor can be a handy tool, as it can help you keep the right air pressure in your tires. Some of them even offer a 12V plug so you can power them from your vehicle's cigarette lighter.
5) Track Your Fuel Use Yourself
Tracking your fuel economy using a smart phone app (or even pen and paper) is a great way to see how much fuel you're actually using. The built-in fuel economy gauges aren't terribly reliable.
What's more, by tracking your fuel economy yourself, you'll be able to track trends in your gas mileage. If, for example, you've noticed a 1-2 mpg decline over the last 60 days (and nothing has changed to explain why), it might be a good time to buy some new spark plugs or an air filter.
6) Know When To Use The Cruise
Cruise control can be a great tool for maximizing fuel economy, but you have to know when to use it. If you're on a long highway trip traveling across Kansas (where the highway is pretty much flat), cruise control is your friend. But if you're crossing the Rocky Mountains and going up and down hills, cruise control will waste fuel.
So, the rule of thumb: Cruise control is for flat ground only. Hills should be driven off cruise.
7) Coast In Gear (Probably)
If you've got a vehicle with a manual transmission, you might be tempted to coast in neutral. The problem with coasting in neutral is that your engine will burn gas to make the engine idle. If you're trying to maximize fuel economy, it's better to let the vehicle's wheels turn the engine, as the engine will burn no fuel when the wheels are connected to the crank.
Now, having said this, there are situations where coasting in neutral might be the better option. If you coast in gear, it can cause your vehicle to slow down quite a bit in a relatively short distance. Coasting in neutral won't slow you down as much, and that might be better for gas mileage in some situations.
Still, generally speaking, coasting in gear is the most fuel efficient way to coast.
We've only covered the very basics of hypermiling here. If you really get into it, there are low rolling resistance tires you can buy, aerodynamic changes you can make to your vehicle, changes you can make to your interior to reduce weight, etc. etc.
But if you want to save gas, reduce your impact on the environment, and do so without going to a lot of trouble, these 7 tips will help.