Thursday, April 24, 2008


406.2 divided by 9.831
Can you do that math in your head? No? Well let me help you. The answer is 41.3
Right up there with 5 loaves 2 fishes divided by 5,000 equaling 12 baskets.

Ok.. Maybe not quite that miraculous but still….
That 41.3 is Miles Per Gallon.
I’ve been practicing this wonderful art called Hypermiling. Most simply put, it's just a bunch of tricks to get the very most out of every last drop of gasoline in your car. I typically got 27mpg. Then I started hypermiling. My first go-round netted me a whopping 33MPG. So, having seen results I got a little more serious about it, and this last time I netted that wonderful 41.3MPG. And just for the record (since it's always the next question) I drive a '97 Nissan Sentra.

I’m still learning, but I know I haven’t gotten as good a mileage as I could have yet so I’m excited to see what my next reading is. It doesn’t have much to do with my Christian walk, except if I try and put it under the heading of being a good steward of my money. Just to throw a little bit more math out there for you; by working on this hypermiling thing, this last tank of gas saved me 6.22222222 gallons of gas and $21.71 (that’s using the current rate of $3.49 for gas).
Ok. Just in case anyone else is willing to give this a shot, here are the few tips I’ve learned along the way.
I’ve read tips that give you lots of facts, and I’ll link you to them, but I’m just going to tell you what I did. You want better details and facts… read the articles.

1: I slowed down. I don’t go any faster than 50mph. Yeah, it’s slow. Get over it. So far, based on where I generally drive it hasn't posed a hazard so far. If it did, I'd speed up some. Some.
2: Yeah I know this one is crazy, but if I put my car in a position I have to back out of, I try and do it on an incline. Then, to back out I simply put my car in neutral, and roll backwards without ever turning on my car. Once I’m out then I start the car and drive off.
3: For a 4 cylinder, my car has some get-up-and-go to it. I had to stop that. No quick take offs. Period. It's a bummer.
4: I use my brakes as little as possible. Brakes slow you down, you paid gas to gain that speed, so don’t throw it away by using your brakes unless you have to. That means watching out for lights and, especially when no one is behind me, I just coast up to stop signs with my car in neutral rather than spending the gas to get to the stop sign quickly. Also, I usually keep a good distance from the car in front of me anyway, and it's helped out in this experiment because sometimes they've hit their brakes and most of the time by the time I've coasted up to them, they've sped up, or turned, whatever it was that made them slow down.
5: The hardest step so far. For no good reason. This is the step where I emptied stuff out of my car before I took a short drive, even though I knew I’d have to put it in after the drive because I had to haul it somewhere. You take stuff out because the more stuff you have in your car, the more gas it takes to move your car.
6: The simplest to do, but hardest to remember. I put my seatbelt on before I start the car. Rather than leaving my car running (a.k.a burning gas) while I’m buckling up.
7: Pay attention before you ever start your car. I usually don't remember till after I've already started the car, but, if the car next to me is about to back out then that means I'm sitting there, burning gas, waiting for them to back out and go. So as best I can (when I remember...) I'll hold off starting the car until it looks pretty clear to go.

Above all, drive carefully. That $21.71 is pretty sweet unless it winds up costing you a hospital bill.

That’s all I’ve got so far.
If you know more tricks, let me know.

Reference articles:

Wikicars - Hypermiling
Wayne Gerdes - King of the hypermilers (The article that got me interested in this.)

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