What exactly is Hypermiling?

As the price of gas rises ever higher and the average person’s worry about the environmental effects of car pollution rise with them, millions of drivers have been searching for the best ways to maximize their car’s use of fuel. When a person uses certain driving techniques and tricks to get as many miles out of a gallon of gas as they can they call it Hypermiling.  Seeing as Hypermiling has been shown in recent tests to increase a car’s fuel efficiency by up to 35%, the trend (and the tactics behind it) is gaining popularity fast.

If you’d like to use hypermiling to increase your cars fuel efficiency and get the most miles out of your tank you’re going to need a car that’s in excellent condition. As for your tires, checking their pressure regularly and making sure that they’re balanced as well as properly aligned is vital and will reduce the energy (i.e. the gas) that’s needed to make your car go forward.

But that’s just the start. One of the keys to hypermiling is using your brake pedals as infrequently as you possibly can. The fact is, when any car is at a stop it is getting 0 miles per gallon.  If you’re really keen on maximizing your car’s fuel economy, you need to keep a keen eye on the road and know what’s coming so that you can take your foot off the gas and use your cars forward inertia to bring you to the red light. Many people put their car in neutral when this is happening, even further decreasing the amount of gas that your engine will use.

Another key to hypermiling is to allow your car a moment to gain a slight bit of forward momentum after you’ve been at a stop and before you put your foot on the accelerator and give it gas. Unless you are on a hill facing up, your car should roll forward slightly and, since it takes a lot less energy to move a car that’s already moving than it does to move one from a stopped position, this pause will help you to maximize your car’s engine efficiency.

Independent testing on both of these tactics, including coasting to a stop and momentarily pausing before hitting the gas from stop, actually showed a decrease of 35.4% in fuel consumption using a Ford Land Rover and a 27% decrease when using a Ford Mustang, no small numbers indeed.

If you’re an aggressive driver you’ll need to learn how to relax if you want to take advantage of hypermiling. When you’re cutting across crowded freeway lanes to get a little extra headroom or you quickly approach slower drivers from behind and then have to slow down for them, you will not only destroy your brakes but also decrease your fuel efficiency immensely. The fact is, driving with a bit more ‘cushion’ between you and the car in front of you will enable you to use your car’s gas and brake pedals less, something that will not only save you money on gas but also may even stop traffic jams.

Although many people are just being introduced to this new type of driving, hypermiling is actually a term for a practice that’s been around since the mid-1930s. During that time the Mobile Oil Corporation sponsored a driving event called the Mobile Economy Run as a way to show people how to maximize their car’s fuel economy and mileage in everyday driving situations. It was during  World War 2 that hypermiling came into vogue again as gas rationing was put into effect during the war.

After the war the United States started manufacturing some of the largest, most luxurious cars on the planet, cars that had no interest in saving someone money on gas. The tactics used in hypermiling fell out of fashion for a number of decades but came back again during the 70s and of course again today.

So, until scientists figure out a fuel that is abundant as saltwater and will power your automobile for practically nothing, it looks like hypermiling is going to be around for a bit longer. With savings that can add up to an extra 50 to 100 miles per tank of gas, hypermiling tactics are a great way to lower your gasoline expenses.

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