Hypermiling sounds like something odd – in fact, it doesn’t even sound like something that would be associated with cars, but it is. Hypermiling is a way of driving that maximizes your fuel economy. If you practice any of these hypermiling techniques, you are a hypermiler.
Basically, these techniques are ways of getting more money out of each and every drop of gas you put into your car. It doesn’t matter what type of car you have – you can practice hypermiling in a large SUV, a truck, a small car or even a hybrid. Some minor hypermiling driving techniques are fairly safe, legal, and can be done by making just a few adjustments to the way you drive. On the other hand, other techniques – especially the ones that save more fuel – are dangerous, and some are even illegal.
Some hypermiling techniques are actually very common and are a part of every good driver’s style of driving. These include doing things like remaining focused on the road and anticipating when you need to slow down, brake or accelerate. By minimizing the number of times you brake hard or accelerate rapidly, you can save on gas and also on the wear and tear your brake pads will endure. These techniques can also help you avoid accidents, since you’ll be watching the flow of traffic.
Another common hypermiling technique is planning out your routes to avoid heavy traffic and areas under construction that will slow you down. By determining a route that is the shortest distance and involves the fewest number of stops, you can save on both fuel and on time. While this used to take a bit of advance planning, today, many electronic navigation systems can be set to figure this route automatically. They can even be programmed with the latest construction information and automatically plan to avoid trouble spots.
If you plan on making use of some of these and other, more advanced hypermiling techniques, you’ll probably come across a number of different terms and acronyms. Just like any jargon, these acronyms can be confusing at first. If you see FE, that stands for fuel economy, and is one of the most common terms used in hypermiling.
Others are somewhat more confusing. P&G stands for “Pulse and Glide,” which is the term for accelerating up to a specific speed and then coasting until your acceleration reaches a minimum point. This is one of the more advanced hypermiling techniques – those who really want to save on fuel will even turn their engine off when they reach their maximum speed. Of course, this is highly dangerous, since it makes it impossible to quickly accelerate at a moment’s notice without turning the engine back on.
When fuel prices were at their peak in the United States in the late 2000s, hypermiling became quite popular, but it also gained its fair share of opponents. Many claim it’s very dangerous, since some techniques – like the one mentioned above – make it impossible for drivers to truly be safe. In August of 2008, in fact, the Hypermiling Safety Foundation was formed to help educate drivers on which hypermiling techniques were safe to use and on ways to legally save on fuel.