It sounds like something out of science fiction, but hypermiling is simply the art of increasing your car’s fuel economy by smart driving techniques to improve MPG (miles per gallon) and save money on fuel. With the price of petrol seeming to rise constantly, there’s an increased interest in fuel economy among drivers of new and used cars. As well as buying a vehicle with good fuel economy, drivers can plan their journey and driving techniques so less fuel is consumed.
Hypermiling starts with looking after the car itself. The correct tyre pressure and a well-maintained engine will save you money on fuel right from the start, as will removing unneeded items from the boot and taking off a roof rack when it’s not in use. Planning your journey around fuel economy can give you a more pleasant trip and boost the MPG. If possible, travel off peak in the early morning or late at night and use quiet country routes rather than busy urban roads to avoid stopping and starting. If you must travel in urban areas and end up sitting in traffic, consider switching your engine off while stationary in a queue or stopped at traffic lights. This is worthwhile if you’ll be stationary for more than a minute or so, some modern cars already feature an automatic start and stop system in this situation.
While driving, avoid harsh acceleration and braking. Revving the engine burns fuel and stopping from a high-speed wastes energy. Aim for a constant smooth cruising speed, if you look at the road ahead and slow down for obstacles well in advance they may be clear before you arrive at that point, so you don’t have to stop. Reducing your top speed can also improve fuel economy significantly, so consider taking motorways at 60mph rather than 70mph. More economical driving is good for the environment as well as your wallet. Since many hypermiling techniques involve a car in good condition, smooth driving and planning can make you a better and safer driver too.
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However, some methods of hypermiling can be downright dangerous just to save a few pennies on fuel. Like coasting down hills in neutral or slipstreaming by following another vehicle too closely to gain a few miles from the draught it creates. These driving techniques put you and other road users at risk, and if you have an accident your insurance policy may not cover you.
The maximum MPG you can squeeze out of your car has become something to brag about, as much as the top speed or the value of a vehicle.
Remember, keep it safe and legal, but there is no harm in challenging yourself to keep fuel costs down on your next journey!