Hypermiling, What Is Hypermiling and The Tricks For Getting Great Fuel Economy From Normal Cars

Background
How Hypermiling Works
Hypermiling Tips
No Heavy Braking or Accelerating
Avoid Idling
Avoid High Speed Driving
Avoid Short Trips With a Cold Engine
Remove Roof Racks and Body Modifications
Avoid Towing
Minimise the Use of Electronic and Mechanical Accessories
Avoid Hills
Don't Engage 4WD
Keep Your Car Well Maintained
Know Your Fuel
Advanced Hypermiling Techniques
Driving Without Brakes
Potential Parking and Face Out
Driving With Load
Forced Autostop
Pulse and Glide
Ridge Riding
Hypermiling Made Simple

Background

Hypermiling is a growing automotive trend based around saving fuel. Hypermiling is performed by drivers known as 'hypermilers'. Hypermilers modify their driving habits to increase the fuel economy of their vehicles beyond that stated by the vehicle manufacturers or the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unlike replacing your car with a hybrid, electric or fuel efficient vehicle, hypermiling is a trend unrelated to the type of vehicle you drive and one that requires no major modifications to a standard car.

How Hypermiling Works

Hypermilers simply use standard cars that are well maintained and adjust the way they drive the car. Some hypermiling techniques are simple common sense and others have been declared illegal.

Hypermiling Tips

Tips for increasing the fuel economy of your car and joining the world of hypermiling are given below. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to learning the simple and advanced techniques adopted by hypermilers.

No Heavy Braking or Accelerating

Heavy braking and accelerating can reduce fuel economy by a third at highway speeds and around 5 percent in urban driving. Simply move off slowly and steadily, and anticipate the road and traffic ahead to avoid braking. The goal is to coast to a stop.

Avoid Idling

If you are going to be stopped for more than a couple of seconds, turn off the car. Modern cars use very little fuel when starting. A general rule of thumb is to turn the car off when stopped for more than 7 seconds

Avoid High Speed Driving

Wind resistance increases with speed so it makes sense to avoid driving at higher speeds. Vehicle fuel economy figures allow for highway speed driving but you can ensure better fuel economy by not exceeding 60mph or 96 kmh

Avoid Short Trips With a Cold Engine

Engines operate most efficiently when warm but it is counter productive to warm the engine before driving off. For this reason short trips should be avoided - walk if possible. If you need to drive, do several messages at once. Go to the furthest destination first in order to allow the engine to warm up and then do the other errands as you make your way closer to home.

Remove Roof Racks and Body Modifications

Roof racks, cargo racks and the objects on them increase drag and reduce fuel economy. It may seem surprising but so to do many aftermarket 'performance' body modifiers like air dams and spoilers. They also increase the weight of the vehicle. Keep the exterior of the vehicle in the factory standard configuration.

Avoid Towing

Only tow things when absolutely necessary. Towing adds weight and messes with the aerodynamics of a vehicle, reducing fuel economy.

Minimise the Use of Electronic and Mechanical Accessories

Electronic and mechanical accessories all use power and that power comes from the engine. Some accessories won't cause measurable difference to your fuel economy, but others will. Having the radio turned up loud doesn't use a lot of energy. Having the airconditioner turned all the way up can decrease fuel economy by as much as 30%. Use the airconditioner if required at a low setting. The other option of driving with the window down will also mess with your fuel economy, particularly at highway speeds.

Avoid Hills

Fuel economy figures make the assumption you are on flat, paved roads. To get better fuel economy, plan your trip to avoid hills and stay on well paved roads.

Don't Engage 4WD

Having 4 wheel drive engaged forces the engine to do more work driving the additional wheels. If possible, drive in 2 wheel drive mode only.

Keep Your Car Well Maintained

A poorly tuned engine, under inflated tyres, badly aligned wheels, dirty air filters and improperly adjusted brakes can all contribute to poor fuel economy. Keep your car well maintained.

Know Your Fuel

Different fuels will effect your fuel economy. Fuels are manufactured with different energy contents that may or may not be worth the price difference. In some areas of the world fuel formulations are also changed depending on the season. Know what you are putting in the tank.

Advanced Hypermiling Techniques

Some aspects of hypermiling are more advanced than the simple tips above. They include some advanced techniques that have been declared dangerous and illegal. Other hypermiling driving methods are suspected of contributing to road rage and frustration for other drivers. These advanced hypermiling driving techniques include:

  • Driving without brakes
  • Potential Parking and Face Out
  • Driving with load
  • Forced auto stop
  • Pulse and Glide
  • Ridge Riding

Driving Without Brakes

Driving without brakes is a technique that involves driving in a manner as you would with severely limited braking ability. Leave a large buffer between you and the vehicle in front. This will allow you to always maintain some movement even in heavy, stop - go traffic. The lack of continual braking and accelerating will save fuel.

Potential Parking and Face Out

Potential Parking and Face Out are both parking techniques. Potential parking involves parking your vehicle at the highest point on the street or in the parking lot. This allows you to roll away from your parking spot using gravity to get the best fuel economy. Face Out is parking with the front of your car pointing out from the parking spot. It is best achieved in an under populated part of the car park where you can drive straight into the parking spot thus avoiding any stopping and reversing into the parking spot.

Driving With Load

Driving with load locks your driving into a set level of fuel consumption, or a particular level of load on the engine. When you approach a hill or rise, rather pressing down on the accelerator to maintain speed, simply keep the pedal in the same position. The rise in terrain will slow your speed but keep the fuel use at the same level. Going down the other side you will return to the original speed.

Forced Autostop

The forced autostop is a technique for the most dedicated of hypermilers. It consists of turning off the vehicle and coasting to a stop. The problem is that when coasting with the vehicle turned off you are likely to have limited use of brakes and steering. This technique may be illegal where you are driving.

Pulse and Glide

The Pulse and Glide is a rolling variation of the Forced Autostop. Depending upon road conditions the engine is only used to get to the required speed or to climb rises. When going downhill the vehicle is turned off. When traveling on the flat, the vehicle is allowed to coast to a lower speed while turned off, then the engine restarted and brought back to speed - the pulse - before being turned off again for the glide. Like the Forced Autostop you may lose some steering and braking ability and this technique may be illegal in your area. Additionally, starting the vehicle repeatedly while moving may cause damage to the vehicle's mechanical components.

Ridge Riding

Ridge riding is a technique for inclement weather. It is about placing your vehicle on the road in the spot that offers the least friction resistance. Placing one side of your car so the wheels travel along the painted line offers a slightly lower coefficient of friction than driving on the bare asphalt. This works in heavy rain as does riding the ridge. The center crown - or ridge - of the road will have water flow from it the quickest and will therefore have the least amount of water on it that the tyres have to push out of the way. This technique may be illegal in your area due to the lane straddling nature, plus it is dangerous as ridge riding will place your vehicle close to oncoming cars - or directly in the path of other ridge riding hypermilers.

Hypermiling Made Simple

The simplest way to understand and adopt hypermiling practices is to adopt a bicycle riding mindset while driving a car. When riding a bike you naturally try to ride in a manner that uses the least amount of energy or uses energy wisely.

Simply do the following as you would on a bicycle:

  • Reduce rolling and mechanical resistance by keeping tyres inflated and your vehicle in good condition
  • Practice smart braking by coasting to a stop. You don't see people on bikes racing up to an intersection, slamming on the brakes and rushing off again.
  • Drive with load on hills. Cyclists slow down going up hills to maintain the same level of effort.
  • Reduce speed. Cyclists understand riding faster is harder and wind resistance is greater.

Source: AZoCleantech

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Submit