In today’s eco-conscious world of escalating petrol prices, maximising fuel efficiency has become a top priority for drivers. One driving technique that goes beyond the usual approach of fuel efficiency is "hypermiling". But what is hypermiling? And how can you practise it to be more fuel efficient? In this blog post, we're going to understand:
What is hypermiling, and why do people do it?
Techniques to optimise your hypermiling
How to prepare your car for hypermiling
What is car depreciation?
Hypermiling is a set of driving techniques that combine to maximise a car's fuel economy, and achieve the highest possible MPG (miles per gallon). It has recently become more popular due to rising fuel prices and the increasing need for drivers to save money where possible.
So, what are some hypermiling techniques?
Coasting is a key hypermiling technique that involves driving without applying the accelerator or brakes as often as possible. The car will naturally slow down, but this technique lets drivers take advantage of its natural momentum.
Effective coasting involves slow acceleration up to speed before gradually releasing the accelerator to allow the engine to coast - or glide - on its own momentum. This avoids unnecessary fuel consumption caused by excessive acceleration.
When coasting and hypermiling, it's important to stay a safe distance from the car ahead. This ensures you have enough space to gradually slow down without abrupt braking. It conserves fuel, improves road visibility, and helps you react to traffic changes more efficiently.
Pulse and glide
This is a popular hypermiling technique utilised to maximise fuel efficiency, and involves a cycle of pulsing the accelerator and then coasting on the car's momentum to save fuel.
This is most effective when no other cars are around as it requires a steady rhythm of acceleration and coasting, and is most helpful for hybrid cars with electric motors that can power the car when coasting.
The pulse and glide technique optimises fuel efficiency and ultimately saves on fuel costs, though it's important to practise it safely and responsibly, ensuring it is suitable for the driving conditions and adheres to traffic regulations.
On the flip side, heavy braking and accelerating is detrimental to fuel efficiency, especially at highway speeds.
Whilst heavy braking wastes the energy generated by the engine to propel it forward, heavy accelerating increases fuel consumption to power the car forward.
Coasting, therefore, allows you to anticipate traffic conditions and gradually release the accelerator to maintain a steady speed and minimise the need for any abrupt braking. Handy features like cruise control help drivers maintain this steady speed.
Avoid Short Trips With a Cold Engine
One aspect of hypermiling that drivers don't often think about is taking short trips on a 'cold' engine. A car's engine works most efficiently when it's warm, so planning out multiple errands or journeys into one trip will allow it to stay warm and therefore more efficient.
In fact, where possible, people who practise hypermiling sometimes even suggest avoiding taking car trips where possible altogether, suggesting taking a walk or using alternative modes of transport for short trips.
If driving is the only option available, start with the furthest destination to allow the engine to warm up to its optimal operating temperature throughout the rest of your journeys.
This may require a bit of planning and adjustment to your routine, but the benefits are worth it in the long run.
What are the benefits of hypermiling?
Fuel efficiency is a clear benefit of hypermiling, with those practising it boasting much higher MPG than those who don't. But what are some other benefits that drivers can enjoy related to hypermiling?
For many, cost-saving is a major benefit of hypermiling.
Hypermiling not only means reduced fuel consumption over time, but gentle driving translates to reduced wear and tear and fewer maintenance expenses and brake replacements.
A well-maintained car with a history of fuel-efficient driving will also tend to have a higher resale value, potentially attracting more buyers and commanding a better price.
Less carbon use
The environmental benefits of hypermiling are plenty, with many eco-conscious motorists enjoying the benefit of releasing fewer emissions during their drives.
Over the long term, too, hypermiling reduces the overall demand for fossil fuels, helping to lessen your own environmental impact and encouraging the adoption of clean energy in our cars.
Better safety for all
When practised responsibly, hypermiling can promote safer driving habits that encourage a more attentive, mindful, and cautious approach to driving.
For example, smooth acceleration and deceleration discourages aggressive driving behaviours like sudden lane changes and rapid braking, leading to a safer driving environment.
Hypermiling also requires motorists to be more aware of their surroundings, traffic flow, and road condition, helping them anticipate potential hazards and respond more effectively to unexpected situations, especially in heavy traffic.
Again, this is only true when hypermiling is practised in the correct driving context. Coasting closely behind other vehicles on busy roads can be unsafe and isn't recommended in every situation. Be sure to prioritise driver safety, adhere to traffic laws, and adapt hypermiling techniques appropriately in the correct environment.
How to prepare your car for hypermiling
Preparing your car for hypermiling involves a mix of maintenance, adjustments, and tweaks to your driving habits, but optimising your car before setting off can help with your fuel efficiency even more.
Engine tune-up: Make sure that your engine is in good working order, including spark plugs, ignition coils, and oxygen sensors.
Air filters: Replace clogged air filters to allow better air intake and maximal fuel combustion.
Oil change: Use high-quality oil and replace it regularly
Tyre maintenance: Keep your tyres properly inflated to reduce rolling resistance.
Wheel alignment: Align your wheels to prevent uneven tyre wear and ensure optimal fuel efficiency.
Remove excess weight in your car
When it comes to maximising fuel efficiency, every extra kilo counts. The weight of your car directly impacts its fuel consumption, with heavier cars needing more energy to move. Heavier cars also speed up the wear of your tyre pressure, placing extra stress on suspension components.
Therefore, we suggest you remove any unnecessary items from your car, keep an empty boot where possible, clear out the backseats, remove roof racks where appropriate, and be conscious of your car's interior weight before every trip. This will reduce drag and ensure the maximum possible fuel efficiency.
Driving towards efficiency with hypermiling
As you can see hypermiling offers a good all-round approach to the best fuel efficiency, especially in a time of environmental concern and fluctuating fuel prices. By using hypermiling techniques like coasting, pulse and glide, you can greatly enhance your MPG and fuel efficiency.
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