You may have heard of the term “hypermiling” in the past.  It appears to have arisen as a result of an article written in the Washington Post a few years ago where some drivers try to get fantastic miles per gallon from their vehicles.

There are some drivers who in their desperation to get the maximum mpg have resorted to ridiculous measures such as switching off their engines downhill and driving extremely closely to other vehicles.  Obviously these are stupid and dangerous techniques.

As Advanced Drivers, you probably achieve pretty good MPG from your car given the conditions you are driving in.  There are a number of points that hypermilers use that may be worthy of consideration:

Point 1 – Know your fuel consumption:

This is easy to work out.  Fill the tank at the pertrol station and set the trip mileage to zero.
When you next fill up, note the number of miles on the trip meter.

Miles per gallon = Trip Mileage / (Number of Litres / 4.5454)

For instance, 250 miles on the trip mileage, filling up requires 26.00 litres of fuel results in 250/(26/4.5454)=43.7mpg.
Compare this with the manufacturers claims!  You may never achieve the manufacturer’s figures because they are simulated in laboratory conditions and not necessarily in the real world.  You can compete with yourself to improve or maintain the best mpg though.

Point 2 – Driving Technique – Don’t use the brakes:

Keep space in front to allow nature’s brake (lift off the accelerator pedal) to slow the car.  This is air and tyre resistance and is much cheaper than brake pads and the fuel wasted maintaining speed that brakes remove.  The two second rule is good for this, as a minimum time interval between you and the vehicle on front.  Don’t brake just because the driver in front brakes.  This is a major indicator that you are way too close.  Use space as a cushion to remove the need to touch the brake pedal.

Point 3 – Don’t Stop:

If you want to achieve zero miles to the gallon then stand still with the engine idling!  Anticipation is the name of the game.  Arrive to go at traffic lights and roundabouts.  Simply concentrating, observing and thinking ahead.  If you are in a stationary queue for more than a couple of minutes switch off the engine.  Stop/Start technology is good in modern cars for this, but try to avoid switching off then back on almost immediately.  Anticipation will tell you if the lights are about to turn again or when the traffic will start moving.

Point 4 – Manage Traffic Jams:

Use technology to try to avoid traffic jams.  Sat-navs which are linked to live updates will help you here by routing around the problem.  Help yourself though by smoother less reactive driving in heavy traffic.  Attempt to find the average speed that allows you to keep moving whilst all those around you stop, accelerate, brake, stop, accelerate, brake… …

Point 5 – Accelerate Gently:

Moving from zero to about fifteen miles per hour is the most fuel hungry part of the drive.  Accelerate gently through this phase and then more acceleration in the higher gears which are more economical.  Remember though the previous paragraphs!

Point 6 – Use Cruise Control and Technology:

Cruise control on open roads can be very relaxing and fuel efficient.  Minor changes in speed can be achieved by using the plus and minus buttons – again this is slow and gentle fuel efficient acceleration / deceleration.

Speed limiter around town may not only save you points on your license, but avoid unnecessarily going faster to simply brake earlier a quarter of a mile down the road.

Use the onboard computers which report your instantaneous and average mpg.

As a final thought, do you remember buying fuel in gallons?  Have you converted the price per litre to the price per gallon?  Simply multiply the litre price by 4.5454.  Petrol is about £6.30 per gallon and diesel about £6.50 per gallon at the moment!

I prefer to ignore “Hypermiling” as a technique and just stick to Advanced Driving.  The miles per gallon is good, there are no dangerous techniques involved and you can have massive amounts of fun driving instead of worrying about fuel bills.

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