Hypermiling is the new buzzword for folks who use some unusual driving techniques to maximize their miles per gallon. It has reached almost cult status among some groups of people.
It is not new but the high cost of fuel has made hypermiling more popular. High mileage scores have become bragging points in some circles.
The methods used range from the mild and safe to the wild and dangerous. Some methods that I recommend include coasting up to traffic lights. Driving the speed limit or slower, and shutting off the engine while standing still.
Some folks are very competitive about this and set up a planned route that they and their friends drive on to see who can get the best mileage score. The best driver with a Hybrid car usually wins.
Some special instruments are needed including a gauge that gives you real time miles per gallon and one that totals your miles and fuel use for a trip. See my post on the ScanGauge II for more on this. SAVE MONEY USING A SCANGAUGE
I do NOT recommend some Hypermiling methods.
They include running stop signs and taking curves at high speed to avoid braking. Tail gating to “draft” other vehicles works to cut aerodynamic drag. It is OK in NASCAR racing, but not safe on the highway.
Here are some safe driving methods that the hypermiler's use:
Anticipating upcoming red lights and coasting up to them rather than racing up and applying brakes. The less you need to apply the brakes, the less fuel you waste.
Allowing a large space between yourself and the next vehicle ahead, to minimize braking in "stop-and-go traffic." As traffic slows, you need to apply the brakes less if you give yourself plenty of room ahead to coast. Note what many 18-wheelers and other heavy trucks do in stop and go traffic: they leave a large space in from of them and slowly decrease speed, trying not to come to a complete stop. They do this to save fuel and wear on the moving parts of the vehicle. Fuel consumption is greatest when you accelerate. Also, it takes more fuel to start moving from a complete stop than it does to increase speed when you are already in motion.
Avoiding going above the posted speed limit. Fuel consumption is goes up faster than your speed due to wind resistance and friction.
Accelerating very slowly from a complete stop. Tests have shown that doing that can increase your gas mileage by 25-35%.
Maintaining a constant highway speed by using the cruise control. Using cruise control on flat roads can improve your fuel economy by 5-15%.
Hybrids Save Twice
Some folks are trading in their gas hogs for more fuel-efficient cars including Hybrids. One advantage to Hybrids that I just learned about is that some Hybrid drivers get a hefty discount on their car insurance.
I called four insurance agents to check on this. In some states, a few insurance companies do offer discounts for Hybrid drivers.
Hybrids can save at the gas pump and on the insurance bill.
When it comes to auto insurance, the driver is the risk not the car. Yes, some cars that are less expensive to repair get discounts, but what really matters is the driver. Some insurance companies consider Hybrid owners to be safer drivers than average folks on the road so they get a discount.
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