[Vision2020] hypermiling

Donovan Arnold donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
Fri May 11 21:29:01 PDT 2007

  I know you always mean well. Thanks for the money saving tips. 

Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com> wrote:
  I had no idea that being in neutral was illegal.  It's funny that gliding to a sedate stop at a stop sign with my foot on the brake and my hand on the gear-shift (ready to pop it into drive) is illegal when screaming up to the stop sign and slamming on the brakes is not.  Unless you hit someone, I guess.  I guess I'll slow down sedately while still in gear from now on.  I wasn't suggesting that anyone try the drafting technique, just describing what some maniacs do who take this too far.

The point is that if you (or anyone) watch your current mpg on one of those mileage computers, you can save some money (far more than 10 cents) and help a small amount with our dependence on foreign oil.

Just a thought.


Donovan Arnold wrote:     "Throw your car into neutral and coast to stops and turns."
  Sorry, but this is ILLEGAL and Dangerous! You should NEVER take your vehicle out of gear while it is in motion, people die this way. A person needs to be 100% in control of the vehicle they are driving, 100% of the time, and especially around turns and coming to an intersection. If your vehicle is in neutral while it is in motion you are not 100% in control of it, you are breaking the law while putting yourself and others on the road with you in danger. 
  The places where people die most on the road are around turns and at intersections. 
  "Drafting 18-wheelers on the freeway. Basically riding their bumpers, 
throwing the car into neutral, and using the pocket of wind created at 
the rear of the truck to move you along. "
  This is also illegal, and about the stupidest thing you can do, playing with an 80,000 lb, 72 foot  object moving at speeds up to 75 MPH; you are better off sticking your head in a blender. If the truck stops, another car comes into the lane, it runs over a piece of wood, or something in the road, you will be lucky only to have car damage. A small rock could crack your windshield easily, and it would be your fault. In a worse case scenario your head would be removed from your body by the ICC below the double doors if the truck had to stop suddenly or blew a drive tire. If a rear tire blew out it would easily kill you or force you off the road into a tree or even another person, DON”T DO IT. Even an object that was stuck between the duels and later came free could crack your windshield and skull in the same second. 
  One of my trainers told me about a guy that was doing this same thing behind his rig, and a drunk driver came into his lane, he steered right, off onto the shoulder to avoid the collision, the car behind him could not see what was going on and was killed by the drunk driver. Stay far enough back to see up the road.
  In most cases though, a professional driver will not let you stay behind him for long because he knows the danger you are putting yourself and others in, plus he doesn't want to deal the mess and potential damage to his load and trailer. He doesn't make money scraping your Buick off his rear bumper. What I did, and most drivers do is hit the break lights so much that the guy on our tail gives up. Most new trucks now can turn on their break lights without hitting the breaks, which freaks the crap out the guy riding your bumper. It worked every time for me. 
  I like the rest of Paul's ideas, and many are in fact part of a professional driver's training; looking ahead, predicting movements of other drivers, slow acceleration and deceleration, and moving at a consistent speed with plenty of following distance between you and vehicle in front of you. But I cannot stress enough, how stupid and dangerous it is to put the vehicle into neutral while moving or following less than six seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, especially a big rig you cannot see around. Please find another way to save ten cents; innocent people are on the road! 
  Donovan Arnold
  Class A CDL Professional Driver
Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at yahoo.com> wrote:
  I've been reading about a practice called "hypermiling" in which you try 
to increase your gas mileage by varying your driving habits. Has anyone 
else come across this? It's interesting stuff. You can make some 
significant gains in gas mileage if you use some of their tricks. Of 
course, some of them go beyond crazy sometimes, but I'm sure a happy 
medium can be found. It really helps if you have a computer in your car 
that shows you your current gas mileage and an averaged value. Some 
newer cars have this, as do some select older models (my 1990 T-Bird had 
one). I understand you can buy these gauges third-party as well. I'd 
really like these to become standard on all cars.

The idea is to drive around for a while keeping an eye on your immediate 
gas mileage and seeing what actions have what kinds of effects. 
Obviously, tearing away from a stop sign burns a lot of gas, as does 
driving too fast and driving aggressively. Slower accelerations have a 
better effect, as well as trying to keep your speed constant as much as 
you can.

Some ideas I've come across:

- Drive proactively: keep an eye out for what is going on ahead of you. 
If you are going to turn left, for example, try to time your speed a bit 
to arrive where you have to turn where there is a gap in on-coming 
traffic. If a light a ways ahead of you just turned red, slow down and 
try to get there when it turns green. Speeding up to the light, 
slamming on the brakes, and having to start from a complete stop just 
wastes gas.

- Throw your car into neutral and coast to stops and turns. Some people 
go so far as to turn their car off, but that isn't usually too wise 
because you can lose your power brakes and steering. You don't have to 
go so far as to have your car crawl to the stop and not have to have 
used the brakes at all - but even a little bit of coasting can make a 
big difference, especially if your car has low rolling resistance tires.

- Keep your windows closed and your A/C off. Open windows really 
increase drag, and A/C can put quite a load on the engine. The weather 
may require you not to go too far with this, but try to keep in mind how 
your comfort is affecting your mileage and compromise if you can.

- If it's raining, drive off-center on the road (along the white line) 
to keep your tires out of the tire grooves in the center of the road. 
Water just pools there and your car wastes gas throwing it around.

Some things that the professional hypermilers do that I don't recommend 
(yes, there are competitions):

- Drafting 18-wheelers on the freeway. Basically riding their bumpers, 
throwing the car into neutral, and using the pocket of wind created at 
the rear of the truck to move you along. Obviously, it's very 
dangerous, but it hurts in the long run too because the 18-wheeler has 
to use more gas to move down the highway and your car is probably more 
efficient than the truck is.

- Hitting off-ramps at insane speeds in order to coast all the way to 
the stop sign. Some of the professionals literally have their tires 
squealing as they go around these spirals in order to coast farther. 
Not really that safe.

- "Pump-and-gliding". Nothing really wrong with this - but it's hard to 
do without a lot of practice. There are apparently certain RPM/gear 
combinations that are more efficient than others, so it's sometimes 
better to speed up quickly and coast as much as possible.

- Driving barefoot. Professionals do this so they can make small 
microadjustments with the gas pedal and feel what is going on. It's 
probably not that safe, but I don't drive that way so I could be wrong.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention this now that gas prices are going 
through the roof. Some of these hypermilers see 50% increases in their 
gas mileage or more on a regular basis without going completely nuts 
with it. The cool thing is that this can help even if you have an old 
gas-guzzling boat of a car. Every little bit helps.


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