A 100 MPG Car??

I found an interesting article today about how some car manufacturers are going to start to soup up their hybrids, enabling them to achieve even better gas mileage.

For those of you who don’t know how hybrids work, here is an excerpt from an article posted on About.com:

“Hybrid cars work by seamlessly integrating a gas engine, an electric motor and a high-powered battery. The battery provides power for the electric motor and is recharged by recapturing energy that would normally be lost when decelerating or coasting. This recapturing of energy is called regenerative braking. If needed, power from the gas engine can be diverted to recharge the battery as well. Because of these charging strategies, hybrid cars never need to be plugged in.”

The most interesting thing I found when reading the 100 mpg car article is that some hybrid owners are already getting close to 100 mpg thanks to some “slight” modifications they have made on their own. Essentially, what they have done is add extra batteries to their hybrid vehicle, thus using even less gasoline.

Unfortunately though, these modifications will not only void your hybrid’s warranty, but will also cost you between $3,000 and $12,000. Seems like it would take a very long time to recoup that money in what you would save on your car’s gas.

So, what does this all mean? It means that more and more hybrids are likely to hit the road and, in the future, they will probably be getting even better gas mileage than what they are currently getting.

It also means that in the meantime, the only way you’re going to get better gas mileage is by making slight adjustments to your driving habits. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve come up with my list of the top 5 ways you can easily increase your gas mileage:

  1. Watch your speed
  2. Properly inflate your tires
  3. Reduce the amount of time your vehicle sits and idles
  4. Accelerate slowly
  5. Get rid of extra weight

Getting better gas mileage isn’t hard if you’re willing to make slight changes to your driving habits!


  1. Your tips are good for saving gas, but somewhat counter-intuitively it actually is more efficent to accelerate quickly to your desired speed. Prompt acceleration reduces load and lugging and saves gasoline. Road & Track tested this just recently.

  2. Anonymous says

    I would make some modifications, based upon real-world observations and experimentations with my own Toyota Prius. These also work on other cars (VW Passat, Ford F-150) that I owned.

    4. Accelerate quickly to target speed.
    4a. Use cruise control whenever possible; never keep foot on accelerator for anything other than acceleration(!). Use nothing other than CC when travelling at constant speed.
    4b. Coast to a stop instead of breaking, whenever possible (safety first, though).
    4c. Avoid accelerating into a red light, stop sign or other condition which requires slowing/stopping the vehicle.

    Note: I’ve found an increase of 10-15mpg for nearly any vehicle (large SUVs/Hummers are exceptions) just by applying the above to my own driving habits. YMMV, of course. 🙂

  3. Grab a skateboard and make like the Gleaming Cube….that costs you less gas and the drag coefficient increase is negligible for the driver of the car.

  4. Anonymous said, 4a.Use cruise control whenever possible; never keep foot on accelerator for anything other than acceleration(!). Use nothing other than CC when travelling at constant speed.

    I would modify this slightly for safety reasons.

    …Use nothing other than cruise control when traveling at constant speed, except under conditions when use of cruise control may be hazardous.
    4a.(1) When traveling in traffic, it is may be unsafe to use cruise control if traveling at the same speed or faster than the rest of the vehicles. Of course, if you set cruise control at the speed limit or slightly above, it shouldn’t be an issue as everyone else would be passing you.
    4a.(2) Use of cruise control on ice or snow can be hazardous. If your vehicle slows down for even a slight hill, when the cruise control tries to return to the set speed, the tires can slip, lose traction, and start spinning, resulting in a possible loss of control of the vehicle.

  5. Anonymous says

    Wouldn’t it make sense for drivers of manual transmission cars to not “engine brake” when slowing for a stop light but instead hit the clutch and coast?

  6. Anonymous says

    I have a ’97 Integra that used to average 29 mpg. Now I put the pedal to the floor up to 2100 rpms in each gear until I’ve reached target speed, then put it in cc. I also coast in neutral a lot and try to maintain momentum. Now I’m getting 35mpg on average (and as high as 39mpg).

  7. Thanks for all of the comments, especially the comments about accelerating QUICKLY. I’ll try and find a link to the Road & Track article and post something about it on this site.

  8. I also coast in neutral a lot and try to maintain momentum.

    It’s possible your 97 Integra with cruise control is a manual, but I’ll mention this just in case: if you’re driving an automatic, don’t do this. The few dollars you save on gas will be outweighed by the thousands you spend on a new transmission. Automatic transmissions aren’t designed to be repeatedly user-shifted into neutral at speed.

    I’ve heard a couple of people who drive automatics independently come up with this idea.

  9. Anonymous says

    The people with manuals – it is actually more efficient (gas-wise) to engine-brake. If you pop the clutch and coast in neutral, the engine has to use more gas to keep the idle up (else it shuts off itself) than it does just engine braking – the movement of the tires keeps the rpms up without using any gas at all. I know it seems counterintuitive at first, but reason through it and I swear it makes sense. I used to think it was the other way around as well, but now I’m saving 5 mpg or so, just because I used to coast a lot, thinking I was saving a lot of gas.

  10. Anonymous says

    Also coasting in neutral can waste more gas than coasting in gear. With a fuel injector you will use ZERO gas when coasting in gear above idle RPMs your wheels are doing all the work of turning your engine so the injector cuts off the gas. When coasting in neutral you have to use gas to keep the engine running. Of you maintain less momentum when in gear so it really depends upon how much engine breaking is occurring. I’d say if you were going down a very steep hill and WANTED to let it all out you’d probably be best in neutral, just don’t waste all that by hitting the break.

  11. Anonymous says

    Watch for diesels to kick hybrids butts. Big Hybrids sales have wilted faster than one’s manhood on fake viagra bought in mexico. We’ll have to wait ’till October when the new diesel formulation comes out and then watch a slew of CLEAN AND QUIET disiels hit the market.

  12. The key to this is understanding the ongoing evolution of the battery. When batteries can hold enough charge, automation will more in this direction. The infrastructure already exists.

    Martin Tibbitts

  13. Anonymous says

    Safety and Annoyance

    It is great that people are trying to save so much gas, but the time you spend playing these little gas games is time someone else is probably going to get hurt or really, really annoyed:

    1. Coasting to a stop at a red light? Please do this in the RIGHT lane. If there is no right lane, please don’t do it becuase it is one of the most annoying things a person in a car can do.

    2. Being out of gear in your manual or automatic car?
    This is patently dangerous and you might kill yourself or someone else, meaning me!

    Leaving your car in gear allows emergency actions by you to move your car out of the way of something.

    Also, driving in turns, even long, sweeping turns, is dangerous without being in gear.

    Please keeo your cars in gear!


    I like to save gas, but not that much. Please STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE IF YOU DRIVE A PRIUS or TOTALLY UNDERPOWERED HYBRID.

    The left lane is for passing. If you are not passing, stay in the right lane(s).

  14. Keith Wright says

    Battery technology is slowly improving, but I can tell you that the military has been dealing with large batteries for a long time. My father was in the safety office of the Navy, and they frequently dealt with the explosion of large lithium batteries. something we seem to be seeing more of in cell phones and laptops lately.

  15. Anonymous says

    Accelerating quickly to save gas? This must be different than how older cars acted. I had a 76 buick century that would go through an 8th of the tank on a jackrabbit start. The car was 8 years old at the time, but I’d had it tuned up.

  16. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the tips, and for the followup comments on acceleration – my ’96 Eclipse averages 31 MPG at each fill-up because I follow these tips, including rapid acceleration on the freeway, but not so much in the city.

    Something you wrote sticks in my craw, however – “Unfortunately though, these modifications will not only void your hybrid’s warranty, but will also cost you between $3,000 and $12,000. Seems like it would take a very long time to recoup that money in what you would save on your car’s gas.”

    This is a common negative comment I hear about hybrids, and it’s one of those things that IMHO leads to a less positive impression of hybrids in general. Let’s do a little simple math…

    The average driver drives 12K miles per year according to most insurance companies.
    Let’s say that the average car gets 25 MPG (to make this simple – nevermind SUV’s, trucks and muscle cars). Let’s also say that the average hybrid gets 50 MPG (google “Actual hybrid MPG” for interesting articles)
    Let’s say gas is $3.00 (keeping it simple again)

    In one year:
    1) A regular car owner spends $1440
    (12000 mi / 25 mpg * $3 gal)
    2) A regular hybrid owner spends $720
    (12000 mi / 50 mpg * $3 gal)
    3) A modified hybrid owner spends $360
    (12000 mi / 100 mpg * $3 gal)

    So, a hybrid owner saves over $700/yr vs. a standard car owner, while a modified hybrid owner saves over $1000/year in gas over a standard car owner and $360/year over a standard hybrid owner. If the average length of ownership is 5-10 years, the gas savings alone starts to look good.

    But I believe people make the mods for the indirect benefits, not the $ saved, including all of the time saved NOT driving to the pump, the reduced reliance on foreign oil, and less pollution emitted with every gallon saved. These people are hobbyists and tinkerers, not people looking for economic benefits – how much do YOU spend on your hobbies?

    Not to rant, but for those folks that talk about power and speed, yes, consumer hybrids are a little slower, but within a second in the 0-60 speed range of cars in their class (see http://www.autos.com/autos/passenger_cars/compact_cars/acceleration – Insight goes 0-60 in 9.6 sec compared to standard VW Golf’s 9.5, Scion’s 9.3 and Lancer’s 9.2.) but many hybrid owners choose to drive slower and with lower acceleration to squeeze every last drop of MPG out of their cars which is probably why other drivers hate them (bringing to mind South Park’s “smug” pollution).

    Those seeking power should really look at the Lexus GS 450h which goes 0-60 in 5.2 seconds which is the same as a Porche Boxster S and faster than the BMW 550i’s 5.5 while still getting 30% better combined gas mileage.

    /end of rant

  17. Anonymous says

    By accelerating quickly you use the ultimate of thermal effecency… but take it easy on your tires.
    With a Hybrid keep easing off on the throttle to where the engine shuts off. Try to hold that momentum without holding up traffic as long as you can.
    This forces the battery to do more work.
    Don’t worry about sitting in traffic ss the Hybrid shuts down completely at a stop.

  18. Anonymous says

    There’s a hell of a lot of SMUG in here.

  19. What is SMUG?

  20. In regards to the money saved for having a super hybrid – I do see your point, but if you own the super hybrid for 5 years, you’re probably just going to break even on the the gas savings.

    I do agree with your point that most people who tinker aren’t doing it for the money; they’re doing it because they enjoy tinkering.

  21. Anonymous says

    Don’t forget everyone:

    Take public transportation to save energy!

  22. Anonymous says

    I can’t say that cruise control works the same in all cars, but in my van it will hold me at 65 when going down a hill.
    On two recent trips I averaged 22mpg with CC. And 27 without, I would coast down a hill in gear and let the speed get up to 70 or so then not give it any gass till it was dropping back to 65.

  23. I don’t see the big advantage of a hybrid. My 1984 VW Rabbit Diesel gets 40+ MPG arround town. 23 years after my Rabit was built, they come out with these hybrid vehicles claiming excelent fuel economy, and they are only getting 40 – 50 MPG. The maintenance of the batteries, motors etc. can’t be cheap either. I have aquaintences who drive newer V.W. diesels, and they get better fuel economy and performance than my old Rabit.
    Where is the savings in the hybrids?

  24. Frosty – I think that much of the hybrid mania is just an overreaction thanks to the fact that many of us were growing tired of the 15 mpg gas guzzlers.

  25. My truck gets 10mpg and has a 34 gallon tank— hows that for fuel economey

  26. Somebody help me, I don’t know almost anything about cars, I am thinking to buy a small SUV, possible with save gas. Used car from 2000, in your opinion wich car could be the best?. Rigth now I am driving a Nissan Frontier 2004 (my husband’s car) I spend aprox. $200 monthly. In other case I could buy a auto, if the gas is to much..

    thank you


  27. Kristen Caven says

    Here’s a tongue-in-cheek site (for those who wish they could afford hybrids) with a serious statement: stop idling! By someone who drives a stick-shift, presumably.


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