Have you ever heard of hypermiling? With gas prices soaring and showing no sign of slowing down, some swear these driving techniques can literally double your car's gas mileage. However, it's not without a bit of controversy.

Ronira, Getty Stock/ThinkStock


What Is Hypermiling?

The official definition of hypermiling via Wikipedia is the act of "driving or flying a vehicle with techniques that maximize fuel efficiency."

Drivers who choose to use hypermiling techniques are referred to as "hypermilers".

Hypermiling is all about driving your vehicle in the most energy-efficient way possible.

The man credited with the term hypermiling, Wayne Gerdes, actually set a world record with this technique by driving 1,445 miles on only one tank of gas in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

That works out to roughly 81 mpg according to motherearthnews.com.

Gerdes tells motherearthnews.com -

"The world has experienced fuel economy tips and tricks, snake-oil magic elixirs, and eco-driving tips for well over two decades.

Hypermiling not only makes you a more aware driver, but it also produces fuel savings that few other methods or practices ever will."


Paul Hanaoka Via Unsplash
Paul Hanaoka Via Unsplash


Hypermiling Techniques

There are many hypermiling techniques you can use, like keeping idling to a minimum, keeping the proper air pressure in your tires, and more, most are things you can do easily to improve your gas mileage.

However, there are some hypermiling techniques that are controversial and some people think are a bit extreme and dangerous to other drivers.

We'll get to that in a minute.

Below are a handful of gas-saving hypermiling tips you've probably heard of and possibly are already doing.

Some simple hypermiling techniques outlined by motherearthnews.com -

1. Slow Down - The faster you go, the more wind resistance increases. The more wind resistance increase, the worse gas mileage you get. Driving a little slower will help your vehicle stay more arrow dynamic.

2. Eliminate Weight - Additional weight wreaks havoc on your gas mileage. Get all of that heavy junk out of your trunk, and don't carry a bunch of things on top of your vehicle either. That adds weight and creates more wind resistance. If you do have a luggage or roof rack on top of your vehicle, get rid of it if you don't need it.

3. Use The Lane Of Least Resistance - If driving a multi-lane road, avoid the lane where buses are stopping to drop off or pick people up, or cars might be slowing down or breaking to turn into parking lots. The less you use your brakes, safely, the less you'll have to step on the gas to speed back up.

4. Minimize Air Conditioning Use - This one might be pretty tough for us in Acadiana, but...if you can pull this one off, it will definitely help keep gas in your tank a little longer.

5. Avoid Using Drive-Thrus - This one is connected to the tip above. Obviously, you're going to be idling quite a bit if you use a drive-thru that will needlessly burn gas. Instead, just park and go inside for your order. You might even get in and out quicker than if you used the drive-thru.

6. Drive 60 Miles Per Hour On The Highway - When you're driving on the highway, keep your speed at 60mph when it falls within the posted speed limit. 

Nationwide.com reports that the "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that every 5 miles over the 60 mph level is the equivalent to paying an additional 20 cents per gallon for gas."

7. Leave Early and Don't Rush - Driving faster, breaking often, and basically driving inefficiently causes your vehicle to guzzle gas. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go and you'll be able to drive efficiently which will help your gas mileage.

8. Avoid Using Drive-Thrus - Obviously, you're going to be idling quite a bit if you use a drive-thru that will needlessly burn gas. Instead, just park and go inside for your order. You might even get in and out quicker than if you used the drive-thru.

9. Take Roads That Aren't As Busy - Now, obviously if you're going significantly out of your way to take back roads, you're going to burn more gas than you would otherwise. But, if you can plot out some lesser traveled roads for your commute, you can take more time, you won't have to speed up and break as much, and overall it will help with fuel efficiency.


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Controversial Hypermiling Techniques

Now let's talk about the more extreme, controversial hypermiling techniques that some drivers take to improve miles per gallon.

(We are in no way endorsing these techniques, nor are we urging you to try them. If you do, you do so at your own risk and assume all responsibility for your actions.)

1. Drive Without Brakes - You don't actually drive without any brakes. The idea here is to minimize having to break to come to a complete stop. Instead, you anticipate needing to stop and decelerate, taking your foot completely off of the gas, and coast to your next stop instead of hurrying up to wait.

2. Rabbit Timing - This pertains to traffic lights that use sensors.

Here's how motherearthnews.com explains it -

"When approaching a 'stale' red light (one that has been red a long time and will soon turn green), slow down early and let the other traffic around you ('the rabbits') trip the light’s sensor as they race ahead and then stop. They may cause the light to go green, so you may not have to stop at all."

3. Avoid Excessive Idling - Turn your engine off if you’re not going anywhere in 30 seconds or more. According to motherearthnews.com "a modern fuel-injected engine consumes only about five seconds worth of fuel to restart."

4. Drive 60 Miles Per Hour On The Highway - When you're driving on the highway, keep your speed at 60mph when it falls within the posted speed limit. 

5. "Drafting" - This is a technique that originated with NASCAR drivers. The idea here is to basically let another vehicle in front of you block wind resistance, therefore reducing it for your vehicle. Less wind resistance means better gas mileage.

That's cool and all, but don't do it...seriously.

Traveling on a highway at 60mph, you should always leave 5 1/2 car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.

As ecomodder.com explains it -

"At highway speeds, there's no doubt that driving close behind a large vehicle dramatically reduces fuel consumption.

It's not recommended for many reasons, not the least of which is that it's illegal in most areas, and doing so sacrifices the foundation of safe and defensive driving: your ability to see well ahead."

6. Drive Barefoot - Hardcore hypermilers swear by it. They say when driving with just socks on, or barefoot, they can "modulate the accelerator to the finest degree."

Is it illegal to drive barefoot in Louisiana?

According to directauto.com, no. It is not illegal to drive barefoot in Louisiana.

However, it's not recommended.

There are actually hundreds, literally, hundreds of tips and behaviors hypermilers use to increase their vehicle's miles per gallon.

If you want to read more, head over to ecomodder.com.

Below are a couple of videos talking about hypermiling you'll want to check out and decide if all of this is right, and safe, for you.

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