One of the most sought after features on a vehicle is good gas mileage. The fewer trips that you have to make to the gas station the better. I bet you wish you could improve your car’s gas mileage, and what if I told you that this was a possibility? With “hypermiling” it’s possible to improve your mileage and save a bit of money. This term has become controversial, as some extremist go to great and sometimes dangerous lengths to eke out extreme performance, but here we’ll focus purely on how to hypermile safely and effectively.
Step 1 – Vehicle Maintenance
These driving techniques won’t work if you don’t properly maintain your car, which you should do whether you’re hypermiling or not. Keep your car tuned up. Out of tune cars are more inefficient and produce more pollution. Take your car in for regularly scheduled check ups, and pounce on any problem that your car may face early. Don’t wait till it’s too late.
Step 2 – Tire Maintenance
Your tires are the only thing that makes contact with the road, obviously, so if you have tires that aren’t rotated properly, or if the tread is bad, then you’re going to suffer poor fuel efficiency. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated (This also means don’t over inflate them), and also make sure your tires are properly balanced and aligned. You should rotate your tires every 6 months, or every 6,000 miles.
Step 3 – Weight Management
Remove the extra junk from your car! This one is overlooked compared to the other two steps, and it makes sense. People have a lot of stuff, and that stuff usually ends up in your car. Just remember that more weight equals less fuel efficiency. Also, don’t take out important things from your car just because you’re trying to lower the weight. Your spare tire and tools can stay.
Step 4 – Coasting
Coast when you can, and again: SAFELY. Don’t cause traffic issues, don’t drive below the speed limit, just try to avoid sudden stopping and starting, as this is fuel efficiency’s biggest enemy. On newer cars if the car is in gear and your foot is off the accelerator, the injectors shut off completely, essentially creating “free” mileage. Don’t coast by disengaging the clutch and/or putting the car in neutral, this will cause the engine to go into idle which uses up more gas than simply leaving the car in gear and letting it coast, and more importantly: it can be dangerous. Bottom line: be safe when coasting, keep your foot close to the brake, and make sure you don’t “coast” through a red light or stop sign.
Step 5 – Idling and A/C
Try to idle the least amount possible, sometimes this cannot be avoided, but it’s something to be aware of. Try to limit your A/C use to only the freeway, and if you live in a hot climate where you need to use A/C, cycle your use. When it comes to using the heat, most gas cars create “waste” heat so it won’t affect your fuel economy.
Step 6 – Acceleration
Be gentle with the accelerator. The “gas pedal” is called that for a reason, so to effectively hypermile you’ll need to learn to push down the gas pedal slowly, and only when necessary. Also, you’ll need to learn to let off in anticipation for every stop.
Safely Taking it to the Max
We hope that these tips help you get out there and hypermile effectively. You may be wondering why we didn’t include drafting in this list, and the answer is that it is dangerous, as the whole point of drafting is to be close to the vehicle in front of you, therefore giving you significantly less time to react to anything that may happen. Now get out there and get the maximum fuel efficiency possible!