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Basic Hypermiling Techniques to Increase MPG

By • Dec 7th, 2008 • Category: Maximize Your MPG

What is hypermiling? According too Wikipedia, hypermiling refers to a set of techniques used to maximize fuel economy. There are safe ways to do this. And then there are extreme ways to do this. On Clean Car Talk, we advocate safe methods to drive clean because no amount of mpg is worth you life. So here are some tips.

This is an old one, but it’s a classic. It’s so easy to understand and do. I guess we’ll just have to keep pounding on it.

If people really use their heads instead of their foot while driving, they will always come out ahead in their pocket. Practicing even just some of these techniques will make a difference in your mpg success. And in this tough economic time, this has double and triple effect. So to start us off, consider the following.

  1. Track Your Fuel Consumption. Well it’s obvious, but if you’re going to know your miles per gallon (MPG) then you’re going to have to know how much fuel you’ve used after traveling a certain distance. Make it a habit to record the amount of fuel you purchase each time at the pump. Then track your total driving distance before you fill up again. Vary your intervals to get a better average.
  2. Do Not Drive Aggressively. If you’re driving like you’re late to a meeting every time you get in your car, then you’re wasting fuel for really no reason. Driving aggressively means revving the engine constantly, effectively forcing it to operate outside of its most optimized operating range; reducing your safety and that your passengers and other drivers on the road; and it won’t help your blood pressure. Maintain a relaxed attitude and keep more money in your pocket.
  3. Minimize Your Time at a Stop. By definition, zero distance travelled while the engine is on means 0 mpg. It would be great if we can all avoid stops during our driving trips. While this is not a realistic scenario, there are next best things we can take advantage of. Here are a few ideas: choose a less crowded or shorter route; plan your trip so you drive outside of high traffic hours; anticipate upcoming stop signs or stoplights and easing off the gas pedal earlier; and turn off your engine when you know you’ll be stopping for more than a few minutes. Remember safety should always be the overriding factor especially while driving, so do everything in a safe manner.
    MPG versus speed curve from
  4. Accelerate Slowly and Smoothly. While it may seem cool and fun to floor your gas pedal every time to test your car’s 0-to-60 time, this is another wasteful habit. If there’s a real reason to get there fast, then maybe consider starting out earlier on all your trips. What they say is really true: time is money. So give yourself more time, and spend potentially much less on gas. Alternatively, do the easy thing: accelerate slowly and smoothly to speed.
  5. Do not Exceed the Speed Limit. Although the law is a good reason not to exceed the speed limit, let’s forget the law for a moment. Let’s talk physical law. Aerodynamic drag is one of the resistances a car has to overcome to maintain speed. While drag depends on numerous factors, drags relate as the square of the speed, and increase as speed increases. Here a chart showing MPG vs. speed, courtesy of website. So it would require the engine to work much harder (using much more fuel) at higher speeds. But really it boils down to this. By not exceeding the speed limit, you reduce your chance of getting speeding tickets, avoid getting involved in serious accidents (thus lower insurance premiums), and extend the life of your car by reducing wear and tear.

Happy hypermiling. More ideas and tips to come.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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