Sustainable America Blog

What is Hypermiling

What is Hypermiling?

Strictly speaking it is the act of improving fuel mileage by the use of certain driving techniques.

People who hypermile are called hypermilers. Beginner hypermilers can hope to improve their fuel efficiency by a few mpgs.

How Do I Do It? (Beginner Tips)

Technically, the best way to hypermile is not to drive. Ride your bike, walk, or take public transportation. After that, manual transmissions usually give better gas mileage than automatics.

For those of us who must drive, I like to relate hypermiling tips to riding a bike efficiently in traffic. Driving your car like you would ride a bike = good hypermiling. Driving your car like a New York City cab driver (accelerate, slam on brakes, repeat until car sick) = bad hypermiling.

  • If you were just starting to pedal your bike after a stop light, you wouldn’t (and couldn’t) peel out. Do the same in your car. Accelerate slowly, do not drag race.

  • Observe the speed limit. According to the US Department of Energy, “You can assume every 5 mph over 60mph is like paying an additional $0.31 per gallon for gas.” Pick a speed and stay at that speed as much as safely possible.

  • Use cruise control when you are on the highway. It helps maintain a consistent speed and in most cases saves gas. You might burn a little more going up hill, but you will increase your efficiency on the way down.

  • Decrease the amount of times you brake, just as you would on a bike. The more you keep your momentum up, the less you will have to work on the way up the next hill. Obviously you have to brake sometimes, but be aware of the traffic far ahead of you and practice easing up on the accelerator and coasting well ahead of time so you don’t end up slamming on the brakes. The less you brake the better in terms of hypermiling. It’s common sense on one hand, but most people can get better at this and improve fuel economy.

  • Don’t drive around with heavy objects in your car. Again, common sense, but every little bit helps.

  • Turn off your air conditioning. It can increase your mpg up to 30%.

  • Keep your tires properly inflated. For every three pounds below their recommended pressure, your fuel economy drops 1 percent. Tires can lose 1 pound of pressure per month, so check the pressure regularly and definitely before long trips.  American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Will my hypermiling annoy other drivers?

These mild hypermiling techniques, should be largely inconspicuous. Be courteous and aware of your surroundings, and it’s doubtful anyone will know you are hypermiling. Of course, some drivers are easily annoyed. Just be confident in the knowledge that you are saving money and decreasing your consumption of oil. It can be fun, and even meditative, to bring this heightened level of consciousness into your driving. Good luck!


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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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