ENVIRONMENT

Hypermiling: Getting "Regular" Cars Up To 70+ MPG

It's really no surprise that the combination of various gas-saving techniques known collectively as 'hypermiling' are getting more attention these days with oil hitting record highs (though part of it is because of the weakness of the US dollar).

Some hypermilers do it for sport, like that team that achieved 110 mpg, driving 47 hours and 1,397 miles on 12.87 gallons of gasoline, in a regular Toyota Prius. Or the DIY 'AeroCivic' that gets 95 mpg. Others do it to save money, or help the environment, and some are motivated by the 'national security' angle, like Wayne Gerdes who started hypermiling after Sept. 11, 2001. He says he gets 40-70 mpg out of his Ford Ranger pickup truck, about double the EPA rating.

Perfecting hypermiling requires some dedication, but the basic principles are easy to learn for all drivers: "pumping up tires to the maximum rating on their sidewalls, which may be higher than levels recommended in car manuals [to reduce rolling resistance]; using engine oil of a low viscosity, and the controversial practice of drafting behind other vehicles on the highway to reduce aerodynamic drag -- a practice begun a few years ago by truck drivers; keeping speed down, accelerating gently, avoiding excessive idling and removing cargo racks to also cut down on aerodynamic drag." Avoiding unnecessary braking and coasting to slow down.

If you've tried hypermiling, tell us about your experience in the comments.

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