You’ve possibly been hypermiling without even realising it; the phrase was coined in the USA when Wayne Gerdes launched his onsite community to exchange tips in 2006. Basically it’s using driving habits to minimise fuel consumption.
Of course the most effective way to achieve this is to avoid driving at all, but that’s not always practicable.
Broadly categorised into 4 sections, the recommendations are as follows.
- Your vehicle
Two no-cost options – empty the boot and keep tyres inflated to the correct pressure! Lightening the load reduces the engine’s work, and correctly inflated tyres have lower rolling resistance.
Keeping the engine maintained – a tune-up, clean air filters, the right engine oil and fuel additives all help reduce fuel consumption; as will investing in lighter aluminium wheels and fuel efficient tyres.
- Your driving technique
Simply driving more moderately reduces fuel consumption. Slow down, drive smoothly – no more foot to floor acceleration; anticipate the road ahead, keep your distance and brake less.
Practise the technique of driving as though you were without brakes; decelerating towards stops rather than speeding and braking. Try smart braking – braking early to avoid a complete halt, allowing the impediment to clear, then gently moving forward.
Maintain a steady speed in the highest possible gear – never over rev the engine.
Avoid idling; switch off your engine when stopped for over 30 seconds. Modern engines only use 5 seconds worth of fuel to restart.
Parking and departing can impact too – if parallel parking’s not your forte, waste less energy by reversing into a space alongside another vehicle. Better still, pull through a gap if possible, so you drive out when you leave. If there’s a queue on leaving, don’t start the engine till you’re adjusted, ready and it’s clear to go.
- Your route
Road types and surfaces impact on fuel consumption, but driving on the smoothest road surface isn’t often something we can choose.
Selecting the road less travelled, even when slightly longer, can be the better option. With fewer stops, starts and minutes of engine idling, fuel consumption (and stress) is reduced.
If you must take the motorway, choose the lane of least resistance, with consistent traffic flow. Use cruise control!
- The weather
Although we can’t control the weather, there are several suggestions to help reduce fuel consumption.
As air-conditioning increases fuel usage (as does driving with open windows or sunroof), a low-cost tip for keeping cool in summer is to wear less – or buy a beaded seat cover to maintain air circulation around your body. Or simply drive when it’s cooler.
In winter clear snow and ice from your vehicle. The extra weight of snow, and use of defrosters increases consumption.
Fancy trying some more advanced techniques of hypermiling? Have a look at this infographic provided courtesy of Show Plates Direct.
It’s recommended you find somewhere traffic-free to practise. Driving shoeless, rolling down hills and coasting in neutral all need experience to carry out safely, and causing an accident isn’t part of the plan!
Challenge yourself to increase your mpg – implementing even basic techniques will see your consumption dropping and bank balance increasing. Treat yourself, you’ve earned it!
The Ultimate Guide to Hypermiling – An infographic by the team at Show Plates Direct