We’re all reeling from the latest fuel price hike, and besides investing in a pair of good walking shoes or a bicycle, we are looking for ways to reduce fuel expenses
Thankfully some budget-conscious motorists have been working on identifying the most fuel-efficient way to drive, and additional things that you can do to keep consumption low.
The term ‘hypermiling’ was coined by Wayne Gerdes, the multiple world record holder for the most fuel-efficient driving, who started the website CleanMPG.com, a community forum dedicated to using less fuel.
getWorth general manager Wesley Procter explains that hypermiling is the use of proven fuel-saving techniques to minimise the amount of fuel used, no matter what vehicle you drive.
Smooth driving and thinking ahead
Hypermiling is characterised by smooth driving and thinking ahead, and Procter says the first and most important technique is how you use the accelerator and brake pedals.
“Cars are heavy and it takes a lot of energy to get them moving, so when you brake, you waste that energy,” he says. “So brake as little as possible by keeping a decent following distance in traffic, coasting up to traffic lights, stop-signs and turns, and keep an eye far ahead for potential impediments.”
He says that there are dozens of other techniques with varying levels of effectiveness. He offers a few useful tips:
- Set the display to show real-time fuel consumption – watching that number fly up when you accelerate is the quickest way to see when you are burning fuel
- Inflate the tyres regularly to the upper end of the safe pressure recommended by the manufacturer (the correct tyre pressure will also make your tyres last longer)
- Use the lowest-viscosity (lowest weight) engine oil for the vehicle (the thicker the oil, the harder the engine must work to move its parts)
- Turn off the engine when you stop for more than a minute
- Air-conditioning uses fuel, so only use it when absolutely necessary
- Avoid tailgating as it is inefficient. Leave a gap of seven to 10 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead on the highway and maintain your momentum
- Remove dead weight, and anything you don’t need, from the car as this can save fuel in the long run
If you’re interested in learning more, Wikihow has a good page at https://www.wikihow.com/Hypermile.
Procter says that unfortunately, hypermiling is the opposite of exciting driving – there is no fast acceleration, whipping around corners and weaving through traffic.
“But a large portion of our car usage is normally spent in traffic where fast driving would be reckless anyway,” he adds. “Hypermiling techniques take a different type of thought and concentration and can keep you engaged. Think of trying to beat your personal best for the least fuel used on your regular route.”