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Hypermiling: How to Save Big on Gas


Gas prices are soaring over $4 a gallon in much of the United States, and there's no telling just how high the prices will go. In response, the Department of Transportation reported its largest decrease in driving ever from March 2007 to March 2008, with 11 billion fewer miles driven.

fuel efficiency

Stop-and-go traffic is one of the worst scenarios for gas mileage. Avoid it whenever you can.

For many, driving for pleasure is simply no longer an option … but what if you could squeeze more mileage out of each gallon? To the tune of 50 to 90 miles per gallon? Driving would become a lot more manageable financially, no?

Well, believe it or not, it is possible. And it's being done right now by dedicated hypermilers across the country.

What is Hypermiling?

Hypermiling is a strategy to improve mileage and reduce emissions just by modifying your driving habits.

When Joshua Zumbrun, a Washington Post writer, tried out the techniques he achieved 75.6 miles per gallon in his 2001 Honda Insight (which had an estimated 57 mpg in the city). Not too shabby.

"Anybody can be a hypermiler. It doesn't matter if you're in a Dodge Durango getting 10 mpg today. You can get 15 mpg tomorrow," Wayne Gerdes, dubbed "America's greatest hypermiler," told the Washington Post. "It's going to save fuel. And this country needs that."

How to Use Hypermiling Techniques

While not all hypermiling techniques are safe or advisable, according to experts (such as over-inflating your tires, which, though fuel efficient, can compromise their traction), there are plenty of tips that can maximize your fuel economy.

cruise controls saves on gas

Using cruise control on the highway can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 14 percent!

  1. Get your oil changed on time. The longer you wait, the thicker your oil gets, which makes it harder to move through the engine.

  2. Take the best route. Sometimes a longer route is more fuel-friendly if it has good driving conditions. Avoid routes with big hills or lots of stop-and-start traffic.

  3. Use cruise control on the highway. This cuts down on unnecessary fuel changes that guzzle gas. One test even found that using cruise control when you're going 70 mph can give you nearly 14 percent better mileage.

  4. Accelerate slowly. When you start driving from a green light, press the accelerator down no more than one inch (unless you have to). Accelerating slowly, along with stopping gradually, can cut your gas usage by 35 percent, according to

  5. Stop gradually. As we said above, stopping gradually at red lights and stop signs can save your gas big time. As soon as you see a yellow light or stop sign, take your foot off the accelerator and coast.

  6. Don't speed. For every 5 mph above 55, you can lose up to 10 percent of your fuel economy, according to auto expert Pat Goss in the Washington Post.

Recommended Reading

The 6 Most Common Causes of Automobile Crashes

Warning: Certain Smells May Make You a Dangerous Driver (Really!)

Sources August 6, 2006 May 9, 2006

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