Have you ever heard of hypermiling? With gas prices skyrocketing and showing no signs of slowing down, some swear these driving techniques can literally double your car’s gas mileage. However, it’s not without a bit of controversy.
The official definition of hypermiling via Wikipedia is the act of “driving or piloting a vehicle with techniques that maximize fuel efficiency.”
Drivers who choose to use hypermiling techniques are called “hypermilers”.
Hypermiling is driving your vehicle in the most energy-efficient way possible.
The man credited with the term hypermiling, Wayne Gerdes, actually set a world record with the technique by driving 1,445 miles on a single tank of gas in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
This equates to around 81 mpg according to motherearthnews.com.
Gerdes tells motherearthnews.com –
“The world has known about fuel saving tips and tricks, magical snake oil elixirs and eco-driving tips for over two decades.
Hypermiling not only makes you a more conscious driver, it also produces fuel savings that few other methods or practices ever will.”
There are many hypermiling techniques you can use such as minimizing idling, maintaining the proper air pressure in your tires, and more, most are things you can do easily to improve your fuel consumption.
However, there are a few hypermiling techniques which are controversial and some people think they are a bit extreme and dangerous for other drivers.
We’ll come back to that in a minute.
Below are a handful of hypermiling tips to save gas which you have probably heard of and may already be doing.
Some simple hypermiling techniques described by motherearthnews.com –
1. Slow down – The faster you go, the more wind resistance increases. The higher the wind resistance, the worse the gas mileage. Driving a little slower will help your vehicle stay more dynamic.
2. Eliminate the weight – The extra weight wreaks havoc on your gas mileage. Get all that heavy trash out of your trunk and don’t carry a bunch of stuff on top of your vehicle either. This adds weight and creates more wind resistance. If you have luggage or a roof rack on top of your vehicle, get rid of it if you don’t need it.
3. Use the path of least resistance – If you are driving on a multi-lane road, avoid the lane where buses stop to drop off or pick up people, or cars might slow down or brake to turn into parking lots. The less you use your brakes, in safety, the less you will have to press the accelerator to accelerate.
4. Minimize the use of air conditioning – This one might be pretty tough for us in Acadiana, but… if you can nail this one, it’ll definitely help keep the gas in your tank a little longer.
5. Avoid using the drive-thru – This is connected to the tip above. Obviously, you’re going to idle a bit if you’re using a drive-thru that will burn gas unnecessarily. Instead, park and walk in for your order. You might even get in and out faster than using the drive-thru.
Nationwide.com reports that the “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that every 5 miles above the 60 mph level equals paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gasoline.”
7. Leave early and don’t rush – Driving faster, braking often, and basically driving inefficiently causes your vehicle to burn gas. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go and you’ll be able to drive efficiently, which will help your gas mileage.
8. Avoid using the drive-thru – Obviously, you’re going to idle a bit if you’re using a drive-thru that will burn gas unnecessarily. Instead, park and walk in for your order. You might even get in and out faster than using the drive-thru.
9. Take roads less traveled – Now, obviously, if you stray significantly out of your way onto back roads, you’re going to burn more gas than you otherwise would. Corn, whether you can plot less busy roads for your journey, you can take longer, you won’t have to accelerate and brake as much, and overall it will help fuel efficiency.
Controversial hypermiling techniques
Now let’s talk more extreme and controversial hypermiling techniques that some drivers take to improve miles per gallon.
(We in no way endorse these techniques, nor do we urge you to try them. If you do, you do so at your own risk and take full responsibility for your actions.)
1. Drive without brakes – You are not actually driving without any brakes. The idea here is to minimize the need to stop in order to come to a complete stop. Instead, you anticipate having to pull over and slow down, take your foot off the accelerator completely, and roll to your next stop instead of rushing to wait.
2. Rabbit Timing – This concerns traffic lights that use sensors.
here’s how motherearthnews.com explains it –
“When approaching a ‘stale’ red light (one that has been red for a long time and will soon turn green), slow down early and let other vehicles around you (“the bunnies”) trigger the light sensor so have them run ahead and then stop. They can turn the light green, so you may not have to stop at all.
3. Avoid excessive idling – Cut your engine if you’re not going anywhere in 30 seconds or more. According to motherearthnews.com “A modern fuel-injected engine only uses about five seconds of fuel to restart.”
5. “Writing” – This is a technique derived from NASCAR drivers. The idea here is basically to let another vehicle in front of you block wind resistance, reducing it for your vehicle. Less wind resistance means better gas mileage.
That’s cool and all, but don’t…seriously.
When traveling on a freeway at 60 mph, you should always leave 5 1/2 car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
As ecomodder.com explains it –
“At highway speeds, there is no doubt that driving closely behind a large vehicle significantly reduces fuel consumption.
It’s not recommended for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s illegal in most areas, and it sacrifices the foundation of safe, defensive driving: your ability to see far ahead.”
6. Drive barefoot – Hardcore hypermilers swear by it. They say that when they drive with only socks or bare feet, they can “modulate the throttle to the finest degree.”
Is it illegal to drive barefoot in Louisiana?
According to directauto.comno. It is not illegal to drive barefoot in Louisiana.
However, this is not recommended.
There are actually hundreds, literally hundreds of tips and behaviors hypermilers use to increase the miles per gallon of their vehicle.
If you want to know more, go to ecomodder.com.
Below are some videos on hypermiling that you will want to check out and decide if this is all okay and safe for you.