[Vision2020] hypermiling

david sarff davesway at hotmail.com
Fri May 11 23:58:27 PDT 2007

A vacuum gauge hooked to a direct port at the intake manifold is an old 
trick. This tool can help train a person to accelerate more effectively.

>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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