There are multiple options for individuals when it comes to conserving fuel. You can get a more fuel efficient vehicle, buy cheaper gas, get better tires, or simply drive more efficiently. Hypermiling is simply the action of driving for improved fuel efficiency and as I have discovered over the past six months, is highly effective; especially once it becomes habit.
The vehicle I drive is a 2008 Honda Fit which (according to the factory stats reported to the government) is supposed to average about 30 MPG. This by no means is poor even compared to more recent vehicles of this size. However, about six months ago I decided that I wanted to try and improve that figure and get even better fuel economy. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an expert but there are a few driving tactics I have adopted that have allowed me to achieve closer to 35 average MPG.
Don't Race to Red Lights
Practice judging lights to predict when they are likely to turn green and adjust your speed accordingly. If you look ahead and see that the approaching light is red, slow down to improve your chances of arriving as the light turns green to eliminate the need for stopping. Even if you still have to stop, you still would have cut down the amount of time stationary.
55 on the Freeway
Going 55 mph on the freeway means you will spend most of your time in the slow lane with the trucks but is worth it if you aren’t in too big of a hurry. To be successful with this tactic will likely require you to learn to not worry about other people’s impatience. If the individual behind you is not content with your speed then they can pass.
Accelerate Gradually from a Stop
There can be some pressure by other motorists to accelerate quickly from a stop, especially in peak traffic hours. This manner of driving is especially wasteful however and puts more strain on the drive train of a vehicle than is typically necessary. The advice I would give is to use a light touch when accelerating from a stop and not concerning yourself with what the driver behind thinks of your speed.
Coast When You Can
Coasting while the car is in gear is a good way to keep your momentum up without the use of the engine on a road that is downhill. With this method, the engine is still providing some resistance (called engine braking) which can help to maintain a manageable downhill speed with limited brake use. You can also use this technique by putting the car in neutral which allows the car to essentially freewheel without the engine providing resistance. It should be noted however that this tactic of having the car in neutral is illegal in some states and more importantly can be dangerous if not practiced sufficiently.
Other Fuel Saving Tips
-Keep your tires inflated to the specified psi labeled on the outside wall of the tire.
-When possible, drive at times when the traffic is at a minimum for your area.
-Service and tune up your care regularly.
An Example of Extreme Hypermiling
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments below.