Gas prices are highly volatile yet this is a commodity most of us have to buy no matter the price. Unless you are fortunate enough to live in a bicycle friendly city or one with efficient public transportation, you have to buy gas because your car is the only way you can get to work. Notice the irony here? You are working to be able to afford to fill up your tank so that you can get yourself back to work. If you find yourself in this trap, you must learn the fuel efficiency tricks of hypermiling to get the most from every drop of gas.
Learning to Be a Hypermiler
Hypermiling is a method of driving where you employ different techniques to consume less fuel. Simply put, hypermiling means driving more gently and being more aware of conditions in front of you. The goal of hypermiling techniques are is to maximize coasting and accelerate gently. Ever speed up to a red light? Stomp on the accelerator after the light turns green? To dedicated hypermilers these are huge no-no’s.
The best part about hypermiling is that it requires no investment from you. Hypermiling is really about changing your driving behavior. It doesn’t mean going out and buying a new hybrid car or modifying your existing ride. A few quick and easy no-cost hypermiling tricks can have a significant impact on your fuel efficiency.
Hypermiling Trick #1: Start Recording Your Gas Mileage
A measure life is a managed life. You definitely know when you are low on gas because that light on your dashboard turns on. But do you know how far your last full tank got you? Did you get more miles per gallon this week than you did last week during your daily commute? The first step to improving your fuel efficiency through hypermiling is to keep a log of your fuel consumption. This is simple. Track how many gallons you buy with each fill-up and how many miles you drove between stops. This creates the baseline for testing your hypermiling tricks and maximizing fuel efficiency.
Hypermiling Trick #2: Chill Out and Go Easy
Aggressive driving is not fuel efficient. Rapid acceleration when the light turns green. Speeding up to get to a red light. Riding on the bumper of the car in front of you. These are all behaviors that consume more gas. Stop doing it!
If you can see a red light up in the distance, take your foot off the gas and coast. So what if another car gets in front of you. Taking your foot off the gas significantly reduces gas consumption and improves fuel efficency. This also has the benefit of giving the light time to change. Coasting to allow this to happen will mean you aren’t starting from a full stop and get the benefit of your existing momentum. Less acceleration means great fuel efficiency.
Hypermiling Trick#3: Keep Yourself Moving
Traffic jams are inevitable, especially for those of us living in the suburbs. When you find yourself in a traffic jam, instead of constantly switching between the gas and the brake to stay within a few feet of the car in front of you, ease back. Your goal should be to maintain a slow, constant pace, even if that means you are rolling at idle speed. Not only does this improve your fuel efficiency, but it helps reduce wear and tear on your brakes which saves you additional money in the long term.
These three hypermiler tricks are quick and simple. They will cost you nothing to implement, make your car more fuel efficient, reduce your environmental impact and, maybe best of all, might help you become a more relaxed, courteous driver.