Hypermiling: Tips & techniques to save money on gas

Updated Apr 26, 2019 | Same topic: Save fuel - Save Earth

We will explain what hypermiling is and how you could start doing it yourself.

Hey Philkotse.com readers! We all know that fuel prices here in the Philippines as of late (and historically) has been quite high. Sky high in-fact as there had just been a recent price increase in both diesel and gasoline.

This sad fact isn’t only limited to the Philippines as drivers from many countries around the world are also experiencing money woes because of fuel prices.

So what does the enterprising, canny, smart and money-wise driver do? They go squeezing out the most from their fuel of course! But what if my car really is a gas guzzler? That’s where hypermiling comes in.

1. What is Hypermiling? 

Now the idea behind hypermiling is to get the most out of every single liter of fuel you have regardless of what you drive. Now that’s smart as it saves you a lot of money especially if you rely on your car (even your motorcycle) to get around daily.

There are a bunch of techniques related to hypermiling and as such we here at Philkotse.com can share that with you.

Hypermiling guide

Save money by Hypermiling

2. Hypermiling: First important steps

Now there are a couple of things to do to your beloved vehicle even before taking it out that can save you some fuel.

Getting your car its regular maintenance

Now you might say that this costs a lot but it is a fact that a well-lubricated engine is an efficient engine. Second, you may also want to check your spark plugs and ensure they are clean. A clean spark plug can also drastically improve your engine’s efficiency. And lastly, make sure that your vehicle’s wheels are aligned.

A picture of a man checking his car's oil

Start by giving your car an overall check and maintenance

Weight reduction

Remove anything inside your vehicle that you do not need. That random box of spare parts, take it out. That ridiculously fluffy floor mats, take em out. More weight means your car needs more power to go forward and that needs more gas.

>>> Check out: 6 Ways to Effectively Maximize Your Car’s Trunk Space

Take off your Roof rack

Take this off unless you really need it as these things are usually quite heavy.

How To: Hypermile a car

Tire Pressure 

Make sure your tires have the correct amount of pressure. A soft, low-pressure tire can cause your vehicle to require more power to move. Just imagine walking on a soft sandy beach, that’s how your car moves if your tires are too soft.

Close your windows and sunroof if you have one

This is simple to do and simple to explain. If you run around with your windows open, your car isn’t as aerodynamic as it should be.

Hack your ECU

Provided you know what you’re doing (or your technician) you can modify your car’s engine control unit to use less fuel. Be warned however as this is easy to screw up and also, in the long run, this can hamper your vehicle’s catalytic converter’s capacity to clean your exhaust.

2. Hypermiling: While driving within the city 

Now, driving efficiently in urban areas especially within Metro Manila is quite a challenge especially those areas with notorious amounts of traffic like choke points in Katipunan Ave., some areas in the Circumferential Road 5 (C5), the length of Commonwealth, at Cubao especially where all those bus terminals are, and of course EDSA highway.

At some point, we all get stuck at places here and lose all hope in terms of saving gas. There are however some things you can do to make hypermiling within Metro Manila a little more possible.

If you can, choose the longer but quieter route

For Metro Manila, this might be easier said than done but in some rare occasions quite possible. The reason behind this is if you stick to higher speed gears, your vehicles require less fuel. 

choke points_8_quezon

Busy Quezon city, Philippines 

>>> For further reference: Common choke points in Metro Manila and alternative routes to take

Monitor traffic religiously

As with many things in life, there’s a pattern. From watching and reading traffic updates from the news or just plain old observation, one will definitely come to know when the rush hour starts. 

Leave early and don’t rush

This can help greatly in a more psychological sense because if you have a surplus of time you won’t be tempted to just floor it to avoid being late for whatever you’re going to.

Avoid bad weather and drive when the weather is warm

This is because there are actual research papers and tests that show that most vehicles are efficient during the midday where its warm, sunny and bright. 

Refuel during off-peak times as much as possible

This action helps to avoid waiting and therefore idling your car at the gas station. Idling actually eats fuel more than you think it does.

A picture of EDSA

The Notorious EDSA is typically a fuel intensive patch of the road 

Turn off your engine if you are stuck in heavy traffic 

Turn off your engine if you are stuck in heavy traffic or on traffic lights with a notoriously long interval. Just be alert and ready to start your car once again. Turn your car immediately once you get parked. As we’ve said earlier, idling car burns as much as a liter of fuel per hour!

3. Hypermiling: More miles per gallon (MPG) by accelerating less?

We all know that when you step on your car’s accelerator, you use more fuel right? So how do I adjust to save more fuel?

  • If you have cruise control use it. Modern cars have very accurate and reliable cruise control systems which provide a consistent fuel flow to your car.
  • Don’t try to overtake too much. Instead, encourage other drivers around you to pass you instead. You can do this by hugging the right side of the road more to give them room to pass.
  • Modern cars also have an MPG monitoring system and an eco-mode so don’t forget to use that as well.
  • Accelerate briskly. Slow gentle acceleration does not provide maximum fuel economy. What you do instead is giving about two-thirds of your car’s power and then change your gears (if manual) quickly.

>>> See more useful tips on fuel-saving: 

4. Hypermiling: By braking less??

Those who are hypermiling veterans hate braking. You know why? It’s because braking actually causes you to use more fuel. If you slow down, you lose momentum and need to build it up again by applying more power and more gas. So how do I use less braking then?

  • Roll slowly when approaching a stop like during bumper to bumper traffic or when approaching a red light.
  • Don’t rush especially when coming into junctions.
  • Roll to a stop whenever possible.

5. Hypermiling: While driving on the highway

We all know that fuel expenses go way up especially when going on long road trips. So here are some ways to save fuel while traveling on long stretches of highway.

  • Drafting – Drafting is following another car at a safe distance to perform what they call slipstreaming. This has something to do with aerodynamics and is proven to increase fuel efficiency.
  • When slowing down, try braking less. This also applies when you want to stop but be warned, do this only whenever it is possible.
  • Utilize fully your car’s MPG counter. Have a target amount and then stick to it. Don’t overtake as much and use eco-mode most of the time.

A picture of a green Honda Civic

The 90s Honda Civic is an old but surprisingly very fuel efficient car

There are many other techniques for hypermiling out there like the pulse and glide wherein you can go to let’s say 70 kph then let go of the gas to glide. Another is the accordion technique which we will not get into further as it is especially annoying to other drivers in city roads and is best avoided.

All in all hypermiling practices are a good way to save money but as with many driving techniques, one should be aware of one’s limitations in terms of driving skill and the capacity of your vehicle. Be safe out there and happy driving.

>>> Click here to get more useful tips and advice for all car owners.

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Author

Cesar Guiderone B. Miguel was born and raised in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a freelance writer for various websites, as a member of the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management's training staff, and as a medical sales representative.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goridus.goridus

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