Works for Me Wednesday: Improving Gas MileageJuly 16, 2008
Recently, I heard about a phenomenon called “hypermiling” on the news. Hypermiling is a series of driving techniques that help increase — sometimes dramatically — gas mileage. Some people have taken to extreme hypermiling techniques that are dangerous and/or illegal, such as tailgating tractor trailers.
I decided to try out hypermiling (the safe techniques) and see how it worked without getting too obsessive about it (always a challenge for me!). First, I tried utilizing my cruise control every time I drive. Even if I’m only going 30 mph, even if I’m not traveling far. I also use the cruise control to accelerate rather than hitting the gas pedal. The results? My average miles per gallon increased!
The second thing I did was start taking my foot off the gas the minute I see a stop light or stop sign ahead of me. As it was mentioned in one video I watched, if you come to a complete stop, your car is still burning fuel even though you’re not moving — which means you are getting ZERO miles per gallon. If you coast to the stop sign, you’re getting at least some positive number of mph in the time that you could have been sitting there.
In general, I try to use the gas and brake pedals as little as possible, and it seems to be working quite well towards increasing my mileage, if only by a few miles per gallon. As I refine my technique and become more disciplined about using these strategies, I am certain that I will see even more dramatic results. It’s a lot different than the “zoom-zoom” driving I practiced before, but with gas so expensive these days, it’s well worth it to slow down a little.