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Hypermiling


Joel C
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In today's world of exorbitant fuel prices, hypermiling is a new fad that involves techniques for driving your car at it's best possible mpg. There are several websites dedicated to it, and a lot of people have posted quite impressive numbers with just a little change in their driving habits.

I decided to try it today. I had to drive from Colorado Springs to Denver and back, which is about 120 miles roundtrip. I drive an '05 Ford Focus with an auto tranny, and I in the past I've averaged 28-32, mixed city/hwy. The EPA rating for the Focus is 22 city/29 hwy, so I was already doing better than the norm, but I'm not really an aggressive driver anyway. I recently took a trip out to Boston, and I consistently averaged 34 mpg on different legs of the trip.

The drive today included a small pass (a climb from 7000-8000 ft.), so several long hills. There was also a lot of stop and go traffic in Denver. I cut down on AC usage, coasted on hills, and accelerated slowly. I also slowed down my average speed by about 5-10 mph.

I filled up back home when I had 119.9 miles on the trip ticker. I topped off my tank with 2.5 gallons of gas. You can do the math, but that's nearly 48 mpg.

And yes, the Prius is rated for 45 mpg on the highway by the EPA, so I'm now comfortably in hybrid territory!

I'm very excited about this discovery. Admittedly, perhaps not the most accurate measurement, but I'm guessing it was within a couple mpg's, which is still great for me. I will say that it was a bit tiresome being so intentional about driving, and because of the lack of AC it did get a bit balmy inside, but I think overall it was definitely worth it.

So, do you think you would change your driving habits for an extra 15-20 mpg? Do you already try to drive more intentionally?

Edited by Joel C

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Hmm... No a/c? The way the heat and humidity have been in Atlanta this week, I think I'd be dead by the time I got wherever I was going. I will say I just "upgraded" my car to a more recent model. Sports sedan now / sport coupe then. I thought it got about the same mileage as the old coupe. I've been unpleasantly surprised at how often I've had to fill 'er up. But no a/c? Nuh uh.

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

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"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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Well, I plan to make today's experiment a one-time-only in regard to the A/C. The studies show that at highway speed, it doesn't make a lot of difference. From now on, I plan on using the a/c as much as I require it. :)

But think about other situations. For instance, tonight, I was coming back from an event at my church. The highway speed is 75 in Colorado, and I'm generally competing with everyone else; but since I had no reason to make it back on time tonight, I decided to go 60-65. I think those decisions will save money over time.

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Well, considering that I added no more than about 15-20 minutes extra on each going and coming leg of the trip, I STILL think it's worth it.

But that's against the point anyway. It doesn't have to be drastic measures. Take small increments, and you'll see small increases. Isn't 38 mpg better than 34? You don't have to do much to see an improvement. What helped me was deciding to not fudge on the speed limit, and to allow myself to be content with other cars passing me. Racing other drivers on the highway (i.e., begrudging them the right to pass me as long as possible) has probably wasted a lot of fuel for me.

Edited by Joel C

Listen to my tunes by visiting my website, or come say hello on Facebook and Twitter

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Going without A/C is impractical for me, since summers around Philly are quite hot and humid--and (at least for a few more weeks), I need to dress in suit & tie for work. (I just spent a huge chunk of change to get my A/C fixed, too.)

Who dresses in a suit and tie anymore? Not even my attorney wears a suit and tie.

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I usually wear somewhat dressy clothes to work, especially when classes are in session: tie, dress slacks, dress shoes. I've worn blazers too to feel trendy, but I usually just feel awkward ("that guy looks like a student...why is he wearing that?") Summer, though, lets me wear sandals and an un-tucked button-down top. Not that my co-workers like that, though.

But, yes, I'm with Alan

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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife and I have a 98 mile round trip to our respective places of employment. Her job is 27 miles from home, and I drop her off first, before driving the additional 22 miles to my work. We had been averaging about 335 miles per tank on my Subaru, before the "low on gas" indicator would light up - that's at about 14.5 gallons consumed on a 16.9 gallon tank, or roughly 23.2 mpg.

We started playing around with hypermiling about 2 months ago (coasting on hills, driving 60-65mph on the highway, cutting down on th AC usage). Just doing that increased the mileage to 26 mpg. Two weeks ago I changed out the air filter, and saw an increase to 28mpg on our last three fill ups, nearly 415 miles per tank. That's an 80 mile difference from what we were averaging in April. Here in CA, they put an additive into the gas during the summer that actually decreases mileage, but burns cleaner, so our mpg might actually be higher on the non-summer mix. Instead of filling up on average every 3.5 days, we have been able to push that to 4.5 days.

We have to make long trips every weekend to pick up my stepson, in addition to our trips to work, so we had been averaging about 12 tankfulls a month - at an average price of $4.45 per gallon, we are spending roughly $775 a month on gas. Just by doing some simple work on the car, and following the hypermiling advice, we are projecting a cutback to about 9.5 fillups, and a savings of about $160 a month, or $1900 over the year. Think I'm gonna put that money away and purchase a SMART car.

This weekend I'm going to replace the fuel filter, and do some maintenance on the transmission. My goal is to obtain that magical 30 mpg by the middle of July, on the CA summer gas mix. Hopefully come Fall, that number will increase when CA goes back to the non-summer mix.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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  • 2 months later...

Grr. My tank is currently at less than a 1/4 full, and according to news sources, 85% of gas stations here in Nashville are out of gas. I've been all over my area looking for an open station. Supposedly there are a couple stations ten miles south of where I am, but there's a two mile line of cars waiting for gas.

So unofficially, I'm stranded. I've been using hypermiling technique in the past week to conserve on fuel, but this is ridiculous!

Listen to my tunes by visiting my website, or come say hello on Facebook and Twitter

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  • 4 months later...

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