Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hypermilers get more...

mileage. This post is brought to you courtesy of Mr. O who, being a financial guru, has only your bottom (not that one) line in mind. Here's how to become a hypermiler (first a few stats):

My 2002 Mazda Protege EPA MPG rating are as follows based on regular driving:

22 City
28 Highway
24 Combined

Okay not exactly a Toyota Prius is it? Now that gas costs upwards of $4/gallon, I've decided to adopt some hypermiler techniques. In the past (pre-hypermilering) I normally got 25 mpg combined. Just prior to starting I had the car serviced at the local oil & lube service center, with the following:

1. oil change (purchased the "high mileage" oil change package for car with high mileage (76K in my case)

2. new air filter (it needed it)

3. set tire air pressure to max (44psi in my case)

During the past week I applied the following seven driving techniques:

1. Slow starts and gradual acceleration

2. Let up on the gas earlier than normal and coasted (sometimes in neutral) to stops

3. Put extra space between me and car in front to minimize braking

4. Tried to time green lights when ever possible

5. Drove at or 5 mph below the posted speed limit instead of 5 mph over the speed limit

6. Coasted into parking lots and parked in "pull-through" spaces, so I didn't have to back the car out.

7. Used the A/C about half what I normally would

Here are the results I got after just one week of all city driving. I drove 140 miles on 3.84 gallons of 85 octane (lowest grade) for a shocking 36.4 mpg. A 46% improvement over my normal driving! The best mileage I have ever gotten previously is 30mpg (all highway driving) and that was with a tail wind.

Since this was my first attempt I think I can improve on this (while still maintaining safe driving practices) since I came in "hot" to many stops (a pilot's term for too fast into the landing approach).

*Additional Notes:

1. To get as accurate a fill-up before and after the test, I filled up at the same station, pump #8 inserted the pump all the way into the tank, and set the handle to the slowest setting and topped off by letting it auto kick-off.

2. Mrs. Organic drove my car twice during the one week trial (not that she would skew the results any)

3. Purchased the same 85 octane grade gasoline

4. I felt a little like Grandpa driving slower, but didn't get any flack (or hand signals) from other drivers.

5. It takes constant high level of attention to drive this way. I felt much safer as my full senses were engaged in my driving environment, like looking three signals ahead to adjust my driving accordingly. I also felt I did better when listening to music instead of my usual talk radio. I did noticeably worse when using the cell phone (no surprise there).

Try it and see if you get more.... mileage, I'd be interested in hearing your results. To see what works for others, visit Rocks in my Dryer


princessmomma said...

I am saving this so that I can reference it again and again. Thank you for taking over and sharing today.

Christy said...

Thanks, Mr. O! Great post.

Mrs. O--ravelry has a wait list so you can expect to wait a little while before you get your invite. If it has been longer than a month, I would try again!

PinkDaisyGirl said...

I've been trying some of these tips too, but I haven't been checking my mpg each time, just looking at the overall that my digital readout tells me. That's my problem, because it would take a long time for it to catch up. It took your post to give me the slap in the head I needed to realize that. And I wish I got your mileage! Unfortunately, one of our vehicles is a Suburban (I know, not very organic, but it fits all four kids and my hubby and kids ball gear in back), plus it would be less environmentally and pocketbook friendly to try to replace it now anyway.
Thanks for the timely and informative post!

Rae said...

Thanks for the tips. I just heard on the news today that Congress is discussing re-establishing a nation-wide speed limit of 55 mph. Interesting, huh?

Miss Jen said...

Wow! That is awesome! Thanks for sharing the grat tips.

The Apron Queen said...

I love being a WAHM! No more gas worries! :D Or at least, not as much.

Come try my finger licking good, sticky, messy, but SUPER easy BBQ ribs: http://anapronaday.blogspot.com/2008/07/easy-bbq-ribs-recipe.html

Carol said...

Some great tips here. I'm wondering about the safety of pull-through parking, though. I've nearly been hit a couple of times doing this, and am headed down the wrong way in the parking aisle when pulling out.

I definitely need to slow down, though.

Soutenus said...

Thanks for the great tips - I have been reading more and more about this and have started to be more conscience of my gas guzzling habits.

As to the "parking lot pull throughs" in reference to Carol's comment - I definitely do this when parking is not angled.

It has been hard to break some of my acceleration habits but well worth the savings in gas (even though it has been a small savings -- every little bit helps when gas is 3.90 gallon)

Memarie Lane said...

I was surprised recently to read that it's actually better to run your A/C and keep the windows up. Driving with your windows rolled down causes drag, which your engine has to fight against. I've been going without A/C all this time and it was actually slowing me down.

Mrs. Organic said...

We don't have much angled parking around here, so it's easier for us to manage pull-through parking.

I also try to park so that the sun won't be heating up the inside of my car so much. It makes a big difference.
Mem - you-re right.

Anonymous said...

memarie land - Yes that's true when driving at highway speeds it is better to keep the windows up to reduce drag then running the A/C. However, driving around town (at slower speeds 1-35 mph I think saving are better with the A/C off and the windows down since there's much less drag (aero-dynamic force) going at slower speeds. I'll have to research this one and find out the optimal speed to make the switch. ;-)

Anonymous said...

opps! I forgot to sign that last post. It was mine.

Mr. O.

Adria said...

I was just reading the Hypermilers site last week. This is great feedback! I've been implementing a few of the strategies but haven't tracked my mileage to see if it's paying off.