Before You Drive
There are a few things you can do before you start your drive that will aid your hypermiling. Follow the tips below.
- Consider a Stick Shift - So few young adults even know how to drive a stick shift these days. However, a manual car allows you to shift more efficiently for hypermiling.
- Trade in Your Whale - If you are driving a huge, gas-guzzling beast, then you should consider something smaller and more fuel efficient.
- Lighten Your Load - Remove any heavy items from your car, particularly items in your trunk. This excess weight will slow you down and waist more energy.
- Remove Luggage Racks - Anything on your roof will cause wind resistance, including the metal racks.
- Keep Your Tank Half-Full - By keeping your tank full at all times, you are always carrying around extra weight. Sometimes, you can reduce 50-100 pounds by avoiding a full tank.
- Comparison Shop - No, don't drive around town looking for the best prices. That wastes gas! Instead use an online guide to the cheapest fuel in your area.
- Choose Gas Wisely - The cheapest gas may not be your best option for saving money. Conduct some research to determine what the proper grade is for your vehicle.
- Fuel Up Early - It is believed that when you fuel up your car during the coolest part of the day, this prevents expansion and you will ultimately purchase more gas for your money.
- Plan Your Route - Be smart in your driving by making a plan to avoid high-traffic, congested areas, as well as areas with a large fluctuation in speed limits.
- Don't Top Off - By overfilling your gas tank, you may cause gas to spill out, thus losing more money.
- Tune Up - Routine tune-ups and oil changes may help to prevent major engine and transmission issues that can affect your gas mileage.
- Change Air Filter - When was the last time you changed out your air filter? This can greatly affect your gas mileage.
- Check the Tires - Proper tire pressure can help you drive more effectively and save gas by preventing undo strain on your engine.
- Save Fuel Receipts - By tracking your fuel consumption, you will learn what techniques works best for getting the most gas mileage.
- Consider a Fuel Economy Monitor - Believe it or not, there are high-tech gadgets available that effectively track your fuel usage. Some people even build their own. Knowledge is power when hypermiling and every little bit helps.
General Driving Tips
These hypermiling tips are useful for any driving situation, regardless of location or weather.
- Leave Early - In order to prevent both speeding and traffic, you should leave for your trip with plenty of time to spare. If you have normal office hours, try to beat morning traffic by an hour.
- Drive Steady - Try to keep your car at a consistent speed. Unnecessary acceleration and late braking is both dangerous and fuel inefficient.
- Pretend You're on a Bike - When you are bicycling, you coast down hills and conserve as much energy as you can while going uphill. Accelerate your car as if you are riding a bicycle.
- Avoid 4-Wheel Drive - This function, although handy for getting you out of tough jams, uses a lot of gas. Try to avoid using 4-wheel drive as much as possible.
- Avoid Aggression - Do not drive angry and do not try to keep up with those who are speeding. As a hypermiler, you must adopt a calculating, zen attitude about driving and leave the emotion at home.
- Do Not "Rev" - Never "rev" your engine if you can help it. This just expends unnecessary gas.
- Avoid Drive-Thrus - Avoiding these will improve your waistline and your bottom line. Drive-thrus require a lot of idling from your car. Just park and go into the restaurant if you must have fast food.
- Keep Your Hands and Feet Still - The more you weave in and out of traffic or move your foot back and forth between the accelerator and brake, the more gas you waste.
- Use Only the Right Foot - You should have learned this in Driver's Ed, but some people use both feet to pedal. This can cause you to hit the brake and accelerator at the same time, wasting gas.
- Drive Barefoot - While you are technically not supposed to do this, some hypermilers feel it helps them to finely tune their car's braking and accelerating.
- Ride the Wind - If you can find a good tailwind to plan your trip around, let the wind work to your advantage. Do not, however, tailgate a larger vehicle (also known as "drafting").
- Keep it Under 40 - Whenever, possible, that is. Driving over 40 miles per hour pits your car against gas-guzzling wind resistance.
- Turn of the A/C - While this isn't practical in some areas, turning off the air conditioner can save gas. If it is hot outside, try turning it off for only a few minutes at a time.
- Avoid Rocky Roads - If you find yourself on a rocky road, you may be wasting gas. Seek out the smoothest surface possible to drive on.
- Use Overdrive - If you have an automatic vehicle, that is.
- Mind Your Fuel Cap - Many people lose gas from evaporation because their fuel caps are loose or missing.
- Keep Moving - While this isn't always advisable or safe, you should try to keep your car in constant motion while driving around the city. Avoid areas where you know there are lot of stop signs and traffic lights.
- Pay Attention to Light Changes - You may wish to slow down for a red light ahead of time so that by the time you reach the car behind you, the light turns green and you don't have to stop completely. Do not do this if it holds anyone up behind you, of course.
- Reduce Idle Time - If you must leave your car idling for several seconds or more, you can put your car in neutral and turn off the engine. This can be a bit dangerous in certain situations, however.
- Find a Slow Buddy - Amazingly, driving below or at the speed limit can sometimes get you run over on the highway. Find someone else who is driving as slow as you and get behind his or her car (at a safe distance, of course).
- Do Not Speed - Not only will this save you money on citations, you will get more miles per gallon at 55 miles per hour than you will at 70 miles per hour.
- Keep Your Windows Up - This reduces wind resistance and makes your car more aerodynamic.
- Turn Off Your Lights - Granted, you should only do this when it is safe, but it can save gas on the highway.
- Close the Sunroof - Yes, the weather might be beautiful, but high gas prices are not. Keep the sunroof closed at high speeds.
- Set Cruise Control - Although this function can actually waste gas on hills, it is very useful for those of us with a naturally lead foot. If you can't keep yourself under a certain speed and you are on a somewhat flat road, set the cruise control.
Yes, even the way you park can affect your gas mileage. Below are few easy tips to follow.
- Park Backwards - In other words, you should park so that you can drive away in the forward position, thus eliminating the need to use the reverse gear.
- Park in the Shade - Parking in the shade keeps the inside of the car cooler and makes it easier to keep the air conditioning off. In older vehicles, parking in the shade will also reduce gas evaporation.
- Time Your Departure - Do not start up your engine again until you have the opportunity to pull out and drive. Otherwise, you will idle.
- Park Far Away - How much gas are you wasting at the mall or grocery store while driving around, searching for the closest spot? Just park the car and walk it -- you know you could use the exercise anyway.
- Adjust While Parked - Don't wait until you start your engine to put on your seatbelt and adjust the seat and mirrors. This wastes unneeded gas.
Driving conditions change during bad weather and so must your hypermiling techniques.
- Avoid Driving in the Snow - Snowy roads are not only dangerous, they cause heavy resistance and will affect your fuel economy.
- Use Snow Tires Wisely - If bad weather calls for snow tires and you have to travel, be safe and use them. However, be sure to remove them promptly when the weather clears.
- Remove Ice from Car - Ice is heavy and can accumulate on your car quickly. Knock off any icicles in order to prevent more drag.
- Don't Warm Up - Most cars today can start and drive in cold weather immediately. Therefore, you should just bundle up and leave rather than idling in the driveway until the car is warm.
- Postpone Cold Trips - When your engine and tires are cold, they lose fuel efficiency. If you can help it, avoid trips in the cold.