What’s a “hypermiler?”

The Consurmerist reports that “ForbesAutos interviewed Wayne Gerdes, a “hypermiler” who can squeeze 84 miles per gallon out of a regular Ford Ranger pickup truck, or 180.1 mpg from a hybrid electric Honda Insight.” The list of ten tips includes most of the usual tips for reducing fuel use (note, this is not necessarily fuel efficiency) with a few oddball items and one or two interesting tips that can provide a bit of insight.

For instance, many of us use the cruise control in our vehicles to maintain speed while traveling. The Gerdes tip suggests that “Rather than trying to maintain a constant speed, focus on maintaining a constant engine load.” This becomes important when you in country like we have in the Great Basin where the roads often go up and down minor and major grades. Cruise control strives to maintain constant speed and this is not an optimum for fuel use unless the road is flat and there are no changes such as gusty headwinds to deal with. If you drive with the cruise control off, you can help maintain constant engine load by taking a run a hills and coasting a bit on the last bit over the top.

The top tip is to “Inflate tires to maximum pressure.” This is to reduce the energy needed to flex the tires which also means the tires run cooler which tends to reduce odds of tire failure.

The key lesson is that it is your driving habits that influence your fuel costs. You are not likely to make much of difference no matter what you do but a few percent can make a bit of a difference and sometimes improve safety as well.

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