Friday, June 6, 2008

Hypermiling - Part Two

Some of my readers will recall my post about "Hypermiling" that I wrote a couple weeks ago. At the time of posting I had gained .5 mpg on average. I hit another milestone today. I have gained a full mpg.

The road to better gas mileage is full of ups and downs. In my case literally, as I drive a hilly route. It took longer than I had hoped to get to the 1 mpg goal, but I know why it did. I started the hypermiling on a Tuesday and haven't driven a full week to work since. Between vacations and holidays, I have at most driven four days to work until this week. Today being the fifth day I drove, I finally hit my milestone.

I wanted to see how I could get even more mileage out of my gas tank, so I hit the search engines. I found an article on MSN called Get 50 mpg In Your Own Car. I thought this would be great, as many hypermilers drive hybrid vehicles and I can't hope to achieve their numbers.

A lot of the tips were covered in my first post, but I found a couple new tips. Parking in the sun may help keep your engine block cooler, especially in winter months. I don't know how much this one will help, but I will give it a go.

Next is an idea I think should help. When you have a number of errands to run in town, drive to the furthest one first. I typically do this for time efficiency, but it is useful in fuel efficiency too. Your engine has more time to warm up on the longer trip, and you hopefully can maintain some of the engine heat for your next errand. Otherwise your engine stays cold the whole time and you get no added benefit. I have noticed a possibly unrelated benefit that my city driving the last couple of days has not diminished the gains from my distance driving as much as they previously did.

Some hypermilers are a little crazy, and they advocate things that are illegal or at least dangerous. I am only interested in posting safe techniques. Since I was a kid I had heard of people "drafting" when driving near an eighteen-wheeler. This has always been a dangerous thing. A safer technique is called "passive drafting" according to the MSN article. This involves staying at least 10 car lengths behind an eighteen-wheeler. This is by far a safer distance behind a trailer and chances are you will be going extra slow while you are at it. You gain two ways this way - both for going slower and using this passive draft.

If I hear any new ideas I will be sure to let you know. Until then, happy hypermiling.

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