Combat High Fuel Prices With Hypermiling

Posted by: Kenny Chan onMay 4th, 2008

Fuel prices have soared to record levels, with announcements every week telling us that they will continue to climb. Local prices here have hit about CAD $1.24/L which works out to about US $4.60/Gallon at today’s exchange rate.

If you think the only way to shield yourself from soaring gas prices is to go out and by a hybrid vehicle, Wayne Gerdes would love to prove you wrong. You see, Gerdes routinely gets over 30mpg on his wife’s SUV, an Acura MDX. On his own Honda Accord, he can easily get about 60 mpg.

Gerdes accomplishes this by driving while being super attentive to fuel efficiency, a completely obsessive driving technique he calls hypermiling. He’ll never floor the gas pedal to accelerate, in fact he barely touches it when accelerating. Other tips include inflating the tires to maximum pressure listed on the tire itself, using a lower weight engine oil, driving outside of the grooves on busy roads, coasting in neutral down hills, avoid use of the brake during turns and tailgating large semis on highway to cut down on wind resistance. Extreme? Definitely. Effective? Yup!

The most helpful tool for a hypermiler like Gerdes is a fuel consumption display (FCD). Many new cars come equipped with one that displays a real time fuel consumption figure. Step on the gas and it’ll start to climb, or coast down a hill and watch it drop. If people could see how much fuel they guzzled while driving, Wayne believes they’d quickly learn to drive more efficiently.

“If the epa would mandate FCDs in every car, this country would save 20 percent on fuel overnight,” he says. “They’re not expensive for the manufacturers to put in—10 to 20 bucks—and it would save more fuel than all the laws passed in the last 25 years. All from a simple display.”

I would test this out to see how far a tank of gas can take me, but I really don’t have the patience to try for that long. Have you tried it? Share your results in the comments or discuss in our forums!

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  1. […] For all you gas guzzlers out there, don’t worry–your government is doing everything it can to ensure that supply of gas reaches your vehicle so you can continue to trek around in your SUVs! Perhaps driving schools across the US should teach their students how to get better mileage by hypermiling. […]

  2. […] in a Toyota Prius into a sports car comparo and say that the Prius is the best because it had the best mileage? Car & Driver FTL! Bookmark and Share This Link: These icons link to social bookmarking […]

  3. Nick says:

    Inflating the tires to the maximum listed on the tires sidewall is EXTREMELY dangerous. Leave the inflation at the pressure specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

  4. Brendan says:

    Pivot has one of these computer things

  5. Val says:

    Coasting in Neutral? That’s retarded! EFI systems shuts down fuel to the injectors when going downhill and no gas applied,
    if you pop it into neutral when going downhill, then you are idling and using more fuel than if the car was in gear.

  6. Kenny Chan says:

    However, you also slow down faster coasting in gear vs. coasting in neutral.

  7. […] using the air conditioner, and filling up in the morning. The list of fuel saving tips is endless! Hypermilers take all these tips to the extreme and often get hybrid like mileage in non hybrid […]

  8. […] airlines are going one step further and adopting a practice used in the automobile industry, called hypermiling. The basic premise of hypermiling is to save fuel by cutting back on excessive acceleration and […]

  9. Lance says:

    My wife and I recently swapped vehicles as her company has moved her office to the opposite side of the city from where we live and my Mazda gets way better milage than our FX45 (of course). I reset the FCD and in three trips to and from my office I’ve dropped the fuel comsumption by 1.2 L/100km by doing only two things – not flooring it and shutting off the AC and opening sunroof and windows when I get off Deerfoot. My simple conclusion after only a couple days – I’m scared for my wife’s safety – she’s gonna wrap the Mazda around a pole if she drives it like she drives the FX.

  10. […] this announcement isn’t just for people interested in hypermiling and capacitors – this is a sports car, and it’s designed to perform like one. The electric […]

  11. […] all forms of automotive fun, that is unless you consider trying to get a highscore at your local hypermiling competition […]

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