How to Get Hybrid Gas Mileage in Your Regular Car

It’s no secret that hybrid cars get better fuel economy than their “regular” counterparts.  Unfortunately, chances are you probably don’t own a hybrid car.  Thankfully, that doesn’t have to stop you from getting great gas mileage. 

Below are several things you can do to help your vehicle get hybrid like fuel economy without having to shell out the extra money for an actual hybrid car:

  1. Remove all excess weight from your vehicle.  The rule of thumb is for every extra 100 pounds you carry in your car, you reduce its fuel economy by 2%.  A good place to start is in the trunk of your car.  Do you really need to carry your golf clubs around all the time?
  2. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  Again, the rule of thumb is driving with under inflated tires will reduce your fuel economy by 2%, on average.  You should try and check your tire pressure at least once per month.
  3. Watch your speed.  According to FuelEconomy.gov, for every 5 miles per hour you drive above 60 mph, you reduce your fuel economy by 6%.  That’s a pretty big incentive to just hang out in the right lane.
  4. Reduce the amount of time you are in idle.  Again, according to FuelEconomy.gov, your car wastes up to 17% of its fuel by simply being in idle.  Whether you turn the car off when you’re sitting at a long stop light, or park the car when you pick up something from a friend’s house, you need to find ways to reduce the amount of time your car sits in idle.
  5. Use moderate acceleration.  Rapid acceleration, coupled with accelerating in to stops (as opposed to coasting) can decrease your fuel economy by as much as 33%!  So, the next time the light turns green, don’t gun it.

It may seem unrealistic, using the above tips should help you increase your fuel economy by between 10 and 20%.  You may not be able to get the same fuel economy as an actual hybrid car, but following these items should get you pretty close. 

Comments

  1. Good info, but just the start. Many are mastering hypermiling in non hybrid vehicles. Hypermiling is getting more than the epa ratings. Some of the ‘elite’ get 150% over epa combined ratings for tank after tank due to driving techniques. Here’s an article on the subject:

    http://fueleconomytips.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=188&Itemid=2

  2. Thanks for the comment. I have never heard of the term “hypermiling” but will definitely look in to it. I would be a happy guy to be able to get 150% above the what the EPA thinks my car should be getting!

  3. I like that idea: “Hypermiling”

    I was told back in defensive driving or some driving class like that to never be in neutral while the car is moving. For instance, never shift intro neutral when you’re going down a hill. The reason was to maintain the ability to accelerate to avoid a crash.

    I decided to ignore this idea, simply because, if I’m going down a hill, I have speed and should be able to stop or swerve just as well to avoid a crash. The extended gas mileage that I get from coasting in neutral until I reach a light (why accelerate to get to a red light where you’ll have to wait?) is well worth the very, very slight loss of control/safety possibility.

  4. Thanks for the comment and I definitely agree with you in terms of not accelerating to a stop light. It blows my mind when people floor it up to stop lights only to slam on their brakes at the last minute.

    However, I’m still going to have to disagree with you regarding spending extended periods of time in neutral while going down the road. Despite the fact it may save you money on gas and the chances of actually getting in some sort of situation where you would need to be in gear to avoid a dangerous situation, I still think it’s worth it to err on the side of caution and go ahead and stay in gear. Better safe than sorry.

  5. The Idea of going into neutral, in practice , isn’t as bad as many people think.

    Unlike most other drivers, you are trying to get the most out of your tank. You are going slower, to start with, so there is usually plenty of space between you, and the next car in front.
    That gives plenty of room to maneuver with out having to slow down.

  6. Thanks for the comment. That is a pretty good point in terms of making sure you have plenty of space around you before you pop the car into neutral.

  7. who knows how much co2 is produced per every 5 miles over 55mph?
    please post and forward answer to hugrs@hugrs.org needed for school project any time before june 07′

    thanks D

  8. Years ago I came up with an idea that involved an electrical switch and selenoid that would disengage the transmission, by taking it out of gear when the driver lets up on the accelerator pedal. This device would save a great percentage of wasted fuel, during deceleration. It is safe because when the accelerator is depressed again, the car automatically goes back into gear. I never persued developing the idea because fuel wasn’t very expensive back then. Maybe producing it is my ticket out of this one-horse town!

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