In the know: What is hypermiling?

fuel pump

Hypermiling is a term that’s increasingly becoming popular and all the more relevant. And while it sounds like a made-up word used by today’s cool kids, hypermiling is actually used by drivers and car owners looking to squeeze every ounce of fuel from their tanks.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What is hypermiling?

    Hypermiling is the use of fuel-saving techniques to maximize a vehicle's fuel mileage.
  • What are the two classifications of hypermiling techniques?

    They are categorized as mechanical and driving techniques.
  • By definition, hypermiling is “the use of fuel-saving techniques (such as lower speeds and frequent coasting) to maximize a vehicle's fuel mileage.”

    Wait, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? Especially with today’s skyrocketing pump prices, being light on the pedal or loose on the throttle is the new driving normal and riding skill we’re all trying to master. Apparently, there’s more to that.

    Today we’re going to check out some of the most common practices hypermilers do to get that extra mile.

    1. Mechanical techniques

    Volkswagen T-Cross 180 MPI AT SE

    Hypermilers use several mechanical techniques to help them get the most out of their fuel. These include various practical strategies like maintaining the recommended tire pressure, using lower weight motor oil to reduce drag on the engine, maintaining the integrity of the fuel cap to control gasoline evaporation, using narrow (but approved) sized tires, removing roof rails and bike racks, not traveling with unnecessary baggage in the trunk area, and in some cases, even going on a diet to reduce their vehicle’s running weight.

    2. Driving techniques

    EDSA

    There are also driving techniques that can help hypermilers conserve fuel — one of which is maintaining a steady speed.

    Hypermilers drive with a steady pace, usually within or below the speed limit, to conserve fuel. That’s because when you drive fast, the vehicle goes against wind resistance, causing the vehicle to consume more fuel. Similarly, driving really slow makes internal combustion engines inefficient.

    Another driving technique practiced by hypermilers is coasting AKA cruising, gliding, or freewheeling. This means stepping on the pedal or twisting the throttle only when necessary. Should the road present an opportunity to cruise or coast a descending path, hypermilers take the chance to consciously freewheel to save gas.

    Then there’s drafting, or for Formula 1 fans, dirty air. Driving behind a vehicle allows you to take advantage of the hole they punch in the air. Those following such a vehicle gains the benefit of reduced drag and reduced wind resistance as the car in front is doing all the work, and in theory, burns more fuel.

    Of all the driving techniques hypermilers practice, it’s drafting that is most frowned upon. That’s because it’s dangerous and is in violation of most road rules.

    With today’s fuel prices, many drivers are more inclined to try new things, like hypermiling, to help them get good mileage.

    If you’re looking to try out what’s it like to be a hypermiler, it’s recommended that you start with the mechanical techniques first and begin with those you only feel comfortable with. You can also consult your trusted mechanic to see which of the mechanical techniques they approve of.

    When trying out the driving techniques hypermilers use, make sure that you pay careful attention to your surroundings to avoid harming other motorists in the process.

    Photos from Ruben Manahan IV

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