We all want to get better gas mileage, but not all of us are so environmentally friendly that we want to give up horsepower. Hypermiling can help you achieve both goals.
It seems as if new car MPG ratings are getting better and better, but they still are nowhere near that of a hybrid or electric car. In order to really save at the pump, you need to purchase one of those extremely expensive green cars that may not be worth their price, right? Actually, no, that's an incorrect statement because you can actually get just as good – if not better – MPG with a conventional car when you practice hypermiling techniques.
You're probably thinking, "What the heck is hypermiling?" so we'll tell you. Hypermiling is the act of a driver devoting every second of their driving experience to getting the best possible gas mileage for their vehicle. If you do this, this will usually result in you changing your entire driving behavior, the routes you take on a daily basis, and at which times you travel. People become hypermilers for various reasons including:
- Being concerned about global warming
- Afraid of smog and pollutants in the air
- Concerned about government debt
- The most popular reason - wanting to save money
Basic Components of Hypermiling
The all-around goal of hypermiling is to use both the accelerator and the brake pedal as little as possible while driving. Each and every time you accelerate your vehicle you're using gas, and when you hit the brake pedal you're basically taking that gas and throwing it out the window. The less you need to use either pedal, the more gas – or money – you will save.
The two times when you will use the most gas at one time is when you take off at a green light or come to an abrupt stop at a red light. This first scenario cause the engine to rev up at an higher pace and makes it work harder; which in turn uses more gas. Using your brake, turns the energy from using the gas pedal into wasted heat energy caused by the friction in your brakes. You should also have your tires filled with the correct amount of air that is specified in your owner's manual and drive at, or slightly below the posted speed limit sign.
Keep in mind, driving under the speed limit can be just as dangerous as driving above the speed limit, so only do this when it's safe. If there is heavy traffic on the highway and you are going 10-15mph under, you could cause an accident.
Best Practices of Hypermiling to Get the Best MPG
We've already mentioned that the best and most important component in hypermiling is to use your gas and brake pedals less frequently, but there are other things to do too. For example:
- When driving over an overpass, keep your accelerator at a steady position so the engine thinks it's driving on a flat surface.
- When you're on the highway, allow other drivers to merge into the lane without speeding up or slowing down. Take your foot off the gas pedal to slow down and coast until they merge in front of you, then slowly press the accelerator back up to your traveling speed.
- Coast into a stop light. Many times, you won't even need to hit the brake pedal before the light turns green.
- Whenever possible, pull into a parking spot with the front of your car facing out. This will stop you from having to shift between reverse and drive later.
These are all things that are considered to be beginner or intermediate hypermiling techniques and can be used by anyone on the road as long as you're following safe driving tips and tactics that you've learned in driver's training and your years of experience on the road. Many people have associated other types of driving to hypermiling like:
- Rolling through stoplights
- Drafting – the practice of tailgating a semi-truck to take advantage of their wind buffer
- Turning off the engine while driving or coasting downhill
These are all things that will ultimately save you gas and money, but are very dangerous. Not to mention that rolling through a stop sign and tailgating any vehicle is a ticketable offense. If you plan to use any of these hypermiling tactics that we've mentioned, please do so with caution and make sure you're following the law and driving carefully.
As We See It
When you stop to fill up at the gas pump it can be disheartening to see how much of your money is being thrown away, and although gas prices are supposed to drop at the end of the year, it's not likely that it will be a big savings. Get better MPG ratings in any vehicle by becoming a hypermiler and you could end up with hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket each month.
If you want to exploit even more gas mileage savings you can buy a hybrid or electric vehicle and greatly increase your MPG. Don't let bad credit scores stop you from this goal. At Auto Credit Express we can help you find the EV, hybrid, or plug-in vehicle of your dreams as well as help you achieve maximum savings on both your loan and your gas mileage. Apply online today and you could be hypermiling your new car tomorrow.