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What is Hypermiling?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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As gas prices and worries about the environment increase, drivers look for ways to maximize the value of their car’s fuel. Hypermiling is a set of driving techniques geared toward increasing gas mileage and fuel efficiency in your car. According to some tests, using these tactics can lead to improved fuel efficiency of up to 35%.

One of the keys to hypermiling is maintaining your vehicle in excellent road condition. Tire pressure should be kept consistently high, reducing the energy needed to run the car. Oil should be checked regularly, and kept full to the low-level mark with low weight motor oil. Proper wheel alignment and tire balance have also been shown to lead to small decreases in fuel consumption.

Although the above tips lead to a minor reduction in fuel usage, the biggest key to hypermiling is using your gas and break pedals as little as possible. When a car is stopped at a red light, it is getting zero miles per gallon (MPG). In order to maximize your fuel economy, take your foot off the gas as soon as you see a red light or are approaching a stale green light. By coasting to a stop, your car is automatically using less energy.

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When accelerating from a stopped position, hypermiling theory suggests allowing a moment between taking your foot off the brake and applying it to the gas pedal. If you are in an automatic car, the car will coast forward slowly on its own. It takes considerably more energy to start a car moving from a complete stop than to speed up an already moving car. Pausing just for a moment will allow the car to start moving under its own power, and truly maximize its efficiency. Be sure, however, to avoid using this tactic on upward slopes or in a car with a manual transmission. Tests on using these two tactics, the coast to stop, and the momentary pause, showed a decrease of fuel consumption of 35.4% in a Ford Land Rover and 27.1% in a Ford Mustang.

Advocates of hypermiling also recommend avoiding any kind of aggressive driving. Although it may seem to save time to cut across crowded freeway lanes for extra headroom or to tailgate slow movers, it actually can decrease your fuel efficiency. By squeezing into a space too small for your car, you can actually add to or create traffic jams. If instead you drive with a larger cushion in front of you, you are able to minimize your use of the gas and brake pedals, and even help stop fuel-sucking jams before they start.

Hypermiling is a new term for an old practice. As early as 1936, the Mobil Oil Corporation sponsored the Mobil Economy Run, a driving event meant to maximize the mileage capacity of cars in everyday situations. Gas rationing during World War II also encouraged use of specific driving tactics proven to cut down on fuel usage. After the war, as larger cars became fashionable in America, hypermiling fell out of fashion. With tremendous gas price increases in the beginning of the 21st century, interest in the tactics of hypermiling has again returned, with even more theories on how to maximize your car’s efficiency.

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