Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 106 of our Green Year: Learning The Secret Hypermiling

As people try and get by on high gas prices, the craze of hypermiling becomes more and more popular. Hypermiling really is not a bad thing when you think about it. It is getting the most miles per gallon out of your car, which in turn helps curb emissions and protect the environment. It is not always easy to do, and it can be dangerous (following close behind a semi-truck to limit wind resistance), but Layla and I are going to give it a shot so that we can use less emissions when we drive, which is rare as it is.

First, we will try and travel light. With an extra 100 pounds of cargo, the miles per gallon can be reduced by two percent. Whatever does not need to be in the car can be removed, so don't be afraid to limit your cargo when you drive.

Second, when we are parking, we will back into parking spaces when we can. The reason for tihs is that cold engines use more fuel, so a three-point back-up job is more efficient at the end of a trip when the engine is hot.

Third, we will try and use cruise control when we can because accelerating can burn your miles per gallon. If you use the acceleration button on the cruise control it will burn less gas than the lightest tough on the gas pedal. This is not always easy for us to do, since we live in the mountains of B.C. and cruise control can be dangerous there, but we will try when we can.

Fourth, braking very gently will save fuel, so we will be doing that than slowing down suddenly. Doing this right can save a few percent on your miles per gallon.

Fifth, we will not be exceeding the speed limit since the faster you drive, the faster you burn your fuel and the less miles per gallon that you get. As well, we save money because we won't be getting pulled over for going over the legal speed limit.

Sixth, we have already decided to get rid of the air conditioning, and its a good thing considering it can lower your miles per gallon efficiency.

There are other things you can do to save on fuel and get better miles per gallon, but these are dangerous and Layla and I will not be doing them as we would prefer to arrive at our destinations in one piece. These are things like:

  • Driving far below the speed limit.
  • Taking corners at very high speeds.
  • Coasting with the engine off.
  • Passing red lights and stop signs when there is little traffic.
  • Over-inflating tires to reduce resistance when rolling on the road.