Thursday, June 19, 2008


When I first heard about hypermiling I was hooked. I only got a bit of how to do it on NPR, but I've been looking into it ever since.

Hypermiling means driving your car to get the absolute best gas mileage possible. A few simple changes - and awareness - can increase gas mileage tremendously. The first report I heard talked about figures above 100 miles per gallon! I heard later that the driver had a hybrid to begin with, but I knew this was a challenge I wanted.

My Scion was getting about 30 miles to the gallon, an increase of 2 miles because I was more aware and driving slower. Someone else suggested that it had over 8,000 miles on it and that was improving the gas mileage.

Enter hypermiling. The following are the changes I made:
  • Take the car out of gear and roll in neutral
  • Try never to go over 2000 rpms
  • Get to 5th gear ASAP
  • Roll up to stop signs or red lights
  • Roll through stop signs (I do this rarely!)
  • Put the seat belt on before starting the car (tough to change old habits!)
  • Keep the air-conditioning off
  • Turn off the car if I am going to stand longer than 10 seconds (I did this only once, when I was stuck at the bottom of Kingston trying to get onto Route 5 - by Marty's Barn Cellar - and there was a line of cars in both directions)
  • Use cruise on the highway

I have always loved numbers and figures and math mental calculations. I've charted gas mileage for years and years. My Corollas each got 39 miles per gallon; the Cabrio gets 32-33; the Forester (my one automatic) got 24 and is now someone else's car. I actually kept a notebook throughout the 6 years I drove my Escort - price of gas, number of miles, mileage. Then I got a Life as a Realtor.

So the results. After 400 miles - 9 days - my mileage is averaging 34.

This doesn't seem like a huge change, but....I drive somewhere in the neighborhood of 24,000 miles per year. At 30 mpg I use 800 gallons of gas. At 34 mpg I would use 706 gallons, a difference of 94 gallons. Mulitply that by $4 - a savings of $376! And I haven't paid $4/gallon in over 2 weeks....

I'll get better at hypermiling, and probably get back to driving the Cabrio and seeing what I can do there. (It's going on the market - sigh - and will need to look good all the time so I won't drive it as much - kind of like showing a house on the market...)

The larger implications - what if everyone did this? What if everyone decreased gas usage by 7-8%? Gas prices would go down, drilling would not need to be threatened, we might buy some time to get the hydrogen and electric cars on the road, and our national security would not be based on oil.

So roll on down the road...and if you see me going slowly (I have the RE/MAX balloon on the back) don't honk. Join the long line of cars behind me and say, "I know that person...she's hypermiling!"