Monday, June 16, 2008

On Hypermiling and Common Sense

What Is Hypermiling

Hypermiling is a set of techniques which are supposed to increase your fuel efficiency beyond the EPA estimates.

To me it seems like mostly hype around traditionally good driving practices. Eg. Don't accelerate or decelerate quickly, slow when approaching red lights so you don't have to stop, etc.

Some hypermiling proponents recommend dangerous or illegal practices such as drafting, putting the car in neutral on the downhill, or turning off the car at long red lights. These activities are foolishly dangerous or illegal and are part of what turns me off to the hypermiling hype.

The upside to the hypermiling trend is that normal average Joes and Janes are hearing about good driving practices from a fresh angle and some are adopting it. Like say, my wife, for example. Last weekend as we were driving home I noticed that she was making a concerted effort in her driving style. I didn't say anything (critiquing driving skills is asking for trouble), but when we got home she said 'Did you notice I was driving differently?'. Um, yes, that was kind of weird. "I was Hypermiling!", she said.

A few trips later and her efforts are much less concerted, and our MPG has gone up!

The 308 Mile Test Drive

We took a trip this weekend to see my wife's grandpa, who lives 308 miles away (according to Google Maps). Our estimated highway fuel efficiency before the trip was about 32 miles per gallon. On the way to grandpa's, we got 36.5 and on the way back we got 33.5 for an average of 35 miles per gallon. It's downhill overall on the way there, but I think averaging the two makes it fair.

We haven't had enough in-city driving time to recalculate our city MPG, but the higher freeway MPG makes me happy and is saving us money. Ok, so we only saved $6.36 on this trip, but hey, it's a start.

I've updated the MPG calculator to reflect the new highway MPG.

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