Top Ten Hypermiling Techniques for the Masses

The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen “hypermiling” as its 2008 word of the year, beating out such other neologisms as “staycation” and “frugalista.” The word was apparently coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs the web site

In honor of hypermilings achievements as both a word and a lifestyle in 2008, here are the top 10 hypermiling techniques:

  1. Do not idle. Shut the engine off if you’re going to be waiting for 30 seconds or more.
  2. Do not accelerate quickly. You’ve heard it before: no jackrabbit starts from stop lights.
  3. Properly inflate your tires. Keeping air in your tires reduces friction and increases fuel economy.
  4. Take ‘er easy. There’s a reason the feds set the speed limit at 55 during the gas crisis of the 1970s — it’s the best speed for the best mileage on the highway.
  5. Clear out the car. Every pound counts, so clear out anything that isn’t needed, especially if it’s on the roof, where it can create drag.
  6. Keep it in tune. Oil changes, regular maintenance, and the like will keep your mpgs as high as possible.
  7. Ride the ridges. In bad weather, drive with your tires on the higher center of the road and the white line to stay out of the rain- or snow-filled ruts. Be careful with this one.
  8. Make a trip chain. Don’t run six separate errands; do one trip with six stops to keep the engine warm.
  9. Make right turns. Do like UPS does: plan your route to have as many right turns as possible to minimize idling time while waiting for traffic to clear for your left turn.
  10. Hybrids only: Maximize the electric motor. Start slow and keep the car running under electric power for as long as you can, usually up to 35 or 40 mph.

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