hypermiling – the morning commute

Excuse the crappy cell phone photography, but check it out!

My mileage from my morning commute, on my first day of hypermiling.

Last night it was 30.9 MPG. Now that probably covers the period of time since the car has been born, since I’ve NEVER felt compelled to monitor my car’s performance in any way. I’m not the Colonel, who keeps a little notebook and pencil in the glove compartment and meticulously keeps records of fill-ups and mileage.

And it probably encompasses all kinds of driving – highway, in-town, running-late-to-work, drag racing down I-495 at 3am, etc. But it represents sort of a cumulative standard of the mileage I was getting when I wasn’t paying any attention, nor did I care.

So last night, I reset to zero.

And, so far, just by driving more intentionally, I’ve improved my gas mileage by almost 5 mpg.

At one point on the drive, I was up to 36.1 MPG (!), but then I entered the village of Bedford, MA and encountered stop-and-go traffic, garbage trucks and school crossing guards. So part of this will always be beyond my control.

Still, an interesting experiment, even if it’s not at ALL scientific. πŸ™‚


8 thoughts on “hypermiling – the morning commute

  1. I love that someone is actually coming out against tailgating – my personal most hated thing EVER – amongst the hypermiling activities – this and using gears to avoid braking has always been one of my faves – I do NOT agree with any form of obstruction by being ultra slow taking off though. This promotes all sorts of pugnacious, bellicose AND truculent behavior amongst the kind and gentle souls behind you. Adaptation of Golden Rule #506: Do not obstruct, do not BE obstructed. I also HUGELY disagree with shutting off the engine and/or not downshifting. Downshifting only slightly consumes more fuel if the vehicle does not have fuel injection. Braking is a complete waste of the energy you used to get to the speed you are going. Downshifting is as well but it offers control – a paramount function not offered by “putting it in neutral” or high speed cornering whilst freewheeling in neutral. One must accelerate on corners to avoid burying the front tire you are cornering on (i.e.: opposite turn direction) – you don’t have to accelerate a lot, just enough to pull vehicle weight to the back. I have driven my MG Midget with no brakes at all for two weeks when I was 16 and poor. One learns to plan ahead!

  2. Shutting off the engine is ILLEGAL in the UK. I was HORRIFIED when I first heard it mentioned on TV over here.

  3. Ok, for the record, I did not engage in any particularly horrific driving practices on my drive to work.

    I don’t THINK.

    I didn’t draft behind semis or roll through stop signs. I didn’t take the entire ride to work at 20 mph. I tried to avoid annoying my fellow commuters.

    I did drive without my right shoe on.

    Rather than using the a/c, I opened the windows and the sunroof. Not that I had any CHOICE, mind you, since the a/c is broken. πŸ™‚

    I watched my accelerations and decelerations (trying to avoid the jackrabbit effect) and I coasted down hills in neutral.

    That’s pretty much it.

    It really was a matter of just paying a little more attention to my driving, and turning off my internal auto-pilot, which is usually the way I get to work in my pre-coffee state.

    So, that, in and of itself, is a monumental feat. Imagine what I can accomplish when I’m caffeinated!

    And, as they always say, your mileage may vary. πŸ™‚

  4. You’d hate having me in front of you since I often stop for a car trying to enter the stream of traffic from a side road, blink my lights and wave them in. That accomplishes two things: (1) It’s my little random act of kindness; and (2) it really pisses off the guy behind me.

  5. I started driving like this a few months ago – my great big SUV got very expensive very quickly and I figured I should be more conscious of how I was driving. Didn’t know there was a super cool name for what I was doing though :o)

    I’ve managed to increase my mpg by about 2.5 – which isn’t bad at all (giving that the honking SUV started out significantly lower than 30…) . And after doing it very consciously with the little economy read out in front of me for a few weeks, I’m now unconsciously driving a little better too :o)

  6. This is great. The only time I used to remember to hypermile was when I was running out of petrol. Now I do it all the time. The other day we went on a rare trip into Norwich (our closest city) and it seemed like all the cars on the highway were going between 50 and 60, (speed limit is 70). Had they all read the same article as me that that was the optimum speed to travel?

  7. Most likely it’s the threat of the tankers’ strike. Don’t tell me I’m returning to “slo mo Britain”. πŸ™‚

  8. Much as I find myself hating to agree with HIMSELF, but hypermiling tailgating, like so many things, is only a good activity when carried out between consenting adults. We do it down I-5 to get to the race tracks, but it’s among people who’ve agreed to do it and are race licensed and/or trackday instructors.

    I also agree with kellypuffs that intentionality is a big part of what makes this work. The only gimmick the Lotus lacks from my perspective is a mileage computer, because that provides the ongoing feedback you need to inform and nourish your intention.

    In a spate of agreeability, I think the Colonel is right on when he says that there’s no better feeling than doing the right thing while torquing off the person who isn’t. There must be a good German word for what happens when “self-satisfaction” meeds “Schadenfreude.”


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