Author Topic: Hypermile your way to savings!  (Read 13846 times)

Mike Key

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Hypermile your way to savings!
« on: March 18, 2012, 12:41:26 AM »
Throwing down a challenge to everyone with what is normally considered a "non-fuel-efficient"  vehicle. Try to raise the bar on your MPG by 5MPG. This is aimed at us SUV and Truck owners.


I was inspired by Barkari's video and MMM's earlier post about his hypermiling and ultra gauge. I've switched to a bicycle and the wife and I are using our bikes more and more. But we still make use of the Trailblazer, so I bought and ultra gauge last week and were adjusting driving habits.


Previously or TB averaged 15mpg city. Changing our driving habits alone has gotten us up to 18.1MPG as of today.




Our goal is to get the TB upto 20mpg and then improve upon that. Right now I know we need tires, so I am looking for a good set to help with MPG and the car is in need of a tune up, so that should help. Might shed some extra weight from the car if I can convince my wife to let me do so....


Anyone sle up for the challenge?

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2012, 12:42:30 AM »
PS: 5MPG improvement is a small and easy goal. :)

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 08:45:42 AM »
Here's a great article on the subject for those who aren't familiar.

http://www.gasolinecreditcards.com/ecotrekker/2008/03/04/the-ultimate-guide-to-hypermiling-100-driving-and-car-tips-and-resources/

The Ultimate Guide to Hypermiling: 100 Driving and Car Tips and Resources
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:08am by admin

Hypermiling, or driving your car “in a manner that maximizes mileage,” has become more popular among drivers worldwide, as concerns over increasing gas prices and environmental issues heighten. Whether you’re trying to make a difference by helping the environment, or you’re just aiming to save a few more dollars at the pump each month, check out this ultimate guide to hypermiling, which provides tips and resources for smart driving.

Driving Tips

Below is a list of hypermiling tips that drivers can implement while behind the wheel. We recommend practicing one or two tips at a time and gradually working your way up to the whole list so that you aren’t overwhelmed.

Drive a stick shift: If you’re used to driving automatic, switching over to a stick shift might take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you have more control over the vehicle, you’ll be able to master more hypermiling tricks.
Stop speeding: The harder you press the gas pedal, the more gas you’re using. If you’re driving over the speed limit, you might save time, but you’re definitely wasting gas and money. Slow down a little if you can so that you’re driving at or just below the actual speed limit.

Coast instead of braking: When you see a stop sign up ahead or a traffic light turning yellow, immediately take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you wait until the last possible minute to brake, then you’re wasting all the gas you used when you could have been slowing down.

Cruise Control: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents “you from “creeping” up in speed without realizing it,” according to Epistolary.org.

Put your car in neutral: Coasting with your car in neutral takes the burden off your gas pedal preventing you from wasting fuel. If you’re not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.
Lighten the load: The heavier your car is, the harder it has to work to propel itself forward. Empty out your trunk and backseat of ice chests, beach chairs, and other items that you’re not using to lighten the load.

“Shift slow and low”: The site Epistolary.org urges drivers to “shift slow and low,” whenever possible to give your vehicle more mileage.

Drafting: This technique comes with a warning sign: according to many hypermiling experts, it is incredibly dangerous. A “deliberate form of tailgating,” the forced auto stop involves turning off your car’s engine and then following closely behind the vehicle in front of you “in order to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance in [the other car's] immediate wake.”

Find a route that’s easy on your vehicle: A story in the Washington Post discusses the benefits of “optimiz[ing] your route” when implementing hypermiling tricks. Instead of taking the scenic route to work, which could include more hills, twists, and dips, try finding a route that features level roads and less traffic lights or stop signs. Generally, “a longer route with better driving conditions” can use “less gas.”

Park in the sun: The blogger Joe Future believes that parking your vehicle in the sun is a hypermiling tip for two reasons: “On a cold day, parking in the sun keeps your car warmer.” Also, a warmer car “will get to “auto-stop” mode faster than a cold car, so you’ll sit idling at fewer red lights while you’re waiting for auto-stop to kick in.”

Roll down the windows if you’re not on the highway: After the scorching hot temperatures of the summer have retreated, stop blasting the air conditioner and roll down your windows. According to Drive.com.au, “It is generally accepted that air-conditioning increases fuel consumption by about 10 percent but winding down the windows increases drag, which is also an enemy of good fuel consumption.” If you’re going to be on the highway, keeping your A/C on low is still a good idea, but if you’re taking a joy ride, think about getting a little fresh air.

Turn off the car before putting it in park: Joe Future suggests turning off your vehicle before putting it in park to save gas. If you don’t, “the gas engine will come on before you shut off the car.”

Don’t leave the car running: It may seem like a good idea to let your car idle while you dash into the store to grab the milk or drop off a rented movie, but doing so wastes gas. Take the extra few seconds to pull into a real parking spot and turn the car off first.
Maintenance Tips

Taking your car for regular check ups is another easy way to maximize mileage. Check out these helpful maintenance hacks that will keep your car running smoothly and efficiently.

Get an oil change: Keeping up with scheduled oil changes will help your engine run more easily. Adequate oil levels and lower-weight oil can also make a difference in how quickly your vehicle burns fuel

Check your tire pressure: Tires that are beginning to lose air and go flat put more stress on your engine, making it work harder and burn more fuel. Keep a tire gauge in your car and frequently check the tire pressure.

Engine Control Module: Your vehicle’s engine control module “controls various aspects of an internal combustion engine’s operation,” including the amount of fuel being used by the engine, the ignition timing, and the variable valve timing. Making sure your engine control module is working properly will help you gauge how much fuel your car is using on a regular basis.

Tire Balance: If your tires aren’t balanced correctly, you could end up wearing out certain tires faster than others, causing them to lose air and forcing your engine to work harder. Get a check-up for your tires if you think yours are out of whack.

Conduct a seasonal check up: During the winter, your car could become bogged down with extra weight from snow chains, heavier tires, or other items. During the summer, you’ll probably be using your air conditioner nearly every day. Before each season, give your car a check up to unburden it of needless weight and to make sure the engine, A/C and other systems are in proper order.

arebelspy

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 10:01:14 AM »
I bought and ultra gauge last week ... Right now I know we need tires, so I am looking for a good set to help with MPG and the car is in need of a tune up, so that should help...

Seems like you're spending more money than you would otherwise to do this?

I'm all for optimizing your driving, but taking it to the extreme that you're so concerned about it that you're spending money on it might in fact be counter-productive.

Not saying that is or is not the case with you (maybe you needed new tires anyways, as a safety thing, for example), and based on what I've read of Mike Key's habits, it likely isn't the case, but this is more a general warning for others reading this thread.

It's something for anyone to keep in mind before they jump on board: look into optimizing your current driving first, before spending on doodads to check and optimize the car itself sightly more.
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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 10:44:04 AM »
All in all, I spent about $725 on my mileage upgrades.
But I save between 1500 and 2000 a year, so that has already been paid for and then some.

2 sheets of coroplast (grill block, underbelly, and sideskirts): $40
tonneau: $120
wood sides to tilt tonneau, from scrap wood: free
headlight covers: $10
electric fan: $15
electric vacuum pump: $290
manual steering gear: $50
buttons, switches, wire, misc: about $20
LED lights: $180
-----------------------
Total: $725

If you haven't seen it yet, the video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBo7k_9zxBs
And a detailed step-by-step of what I did is here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Vehicle-efficiency-upgrades/
And my blog on the video is here: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-green-living-projects.html

That was a good list.  Especially:
Coast instead of braking (as MMM said "if you have to brake, you made a mistake")
and
Never idle.
Two super easy, totally free things, which have absolutely no negative effect in any way, but which for some reason nobody does.

And Mike, I'm down for the challenge.  If you saw my fuel log, I've been slacking lately, and now that the video is out, I need to actually start making the 30mpg that I am claiming (I've done it on 4 tanks in the past, but not recently)

kolorado

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2012, 12:37:52 PM »
I'm in!
I have a bare bones 2000 minivan with no automatic way to track MPG. It's supposed to get 22/27MPG I think but when we did the math in 2005 on tank size and mileage driven it came closer to 20. We can't fill the tank all the way anymore because of a small crack at the top of the tank so it further complicates trying to get an accurate number.
I started researching hypermiling last week and I'm doing the easiest thing on the list that I can, coasting more. Yeah I'm annoying the drivers behind me as I speed to 55 then coast down to 40 but big deal. They can pass me.
The plan is to get some practice in coasting more until the tank is extremely empty. That may be 3 weeks or so since it's half full right now. Then I will put in 10 gallons(instead of $ amount) and see how many miles I can drive on it. That will be as close to accurate as I can get.
So assuming I'm still getting 20MPG before implementing techniques(it's a 6 cylinder)my goal would be 25 MPG. With 10 gallons in the tank that should be 250 or more miles.
We are driving the van out to Colorado in 5 weeks and my hubby will not be using hypermiling techniques. I'm going to figure the MPG on that trip to get the best comparison.
Can anyone explain why one of the tips advises to go into neutral instead of just coasting? How would that make a difference?

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2012, 04:26:07 PM »
Quote
Drive a stick shift: If you’re used to driving automatic, switching over to a stick shift might take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth it

If you're going to get a new car for this challenge in order to switch from automatic to manual, you may as well aim for one that gets better MPG regardless of hypermiling :)

That's my plan, anyway - if all goes well we'll be selling our subaru forester (19/25 epa, though we get about 22/26) and buying a smaller hatchback (hoping for a scion xa - 27/35) in the next month or so. Don't know if we'll get a manual or not - it depends on what's available on craigslist.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2012, 05:44:56 PM »
One of these driving tips, shifting into neutral while coasting down big hills, is supposedly what ruined the automatic transmission in my old Escort wagon.  Apparently it's good advice for manuals that doesn't translate well to automatics.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2012, 08:18:35 PM »
Can anyone explain why one of the tips advises to go into neutral instead of just coasting? How would that make a difference?

Because while in gear the engine's internal resistance has to be overcome.  And the engines internal resistance is actually higher than the external resistance to the car's movement.  You will coast several times farther in neutral than in gear.

However - in most modern cars, when you take your foot off the gas at cruising RPM (in gear), the computer automatically shuts off the fuel injectors.  So, in a situation where you don't need to coast very far (coming up to a red light), or where you want to limit your speed (going down a very steep hill), it makes more sense to leave it in gear, since the cars momentum will overcome the engine resistance and you are using no fuel at all.
If you have a manual tranny (see below) then just try coasting in neutral on a flat highway and you will immediately see the difference in terms of how far you can go before you drop down to 40mph.


One of these driving tips, shifting into neutral while coasting down big hills, is supposedly what ruined the automatic transmission in my old Escort wagon.  Apparently it's good advice for manuals that doesn't translate well to automatics.

I haven't heard of that specifically, but I know you should never turn the engine off (in gear or in neutral) in an automatic while moving, unless it happens to be one of the (rare) cars that can be towed flat.  The engine circulates the transmission fluid, so if it isn't at least idling, the tranny overheats and loses lubrication.
In neutral with the engine on should be ok, at least afaik, but I can't recommend it either.

kolorado

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 07:06:45 AM »
Interesting. Thanks Bakari!

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 08:14:20 AM »
Throwing down a challenge to everyone with what is normally considered a "non-fuel-efficient"  vehicle. Try to raise the bar on your MPG by 5MPG. This is aimed at us SUV and Truck owners.


I was inspired by Barkari's video and MMM's earlier post about his hypermiling and ultra gauge. I've switched to a bicycle and the wife and I are using our bikes more and more. But we still make use of the Trailblazer, so I bought and ultra gauge last week and were adjusting driving habits.


Previously or TB averaged 15mpg city. Changing our driving habits alone has gotten us up to 18.1MPG as of today.




Our goal is to get the TB upto 20mpg and then improve upon that. Right now I know we need tires, so I am looking for a good set to help with MPG and the car is in need of a tune up, so that should help. Might shed some extra weight from the car if I can convince my wife to let me do so....


Anyone sle up for the challenge?

What engine is in your trailblazer that you're getting 15mpg in the city?  I used to average just over 16mpg in my Trailblazer SS which had a 6.0L V8 (EPA of 12 in the city).  I'm guessing a tune up would help.

Congrats on getting it up to 18 though.  My highest ever was 19.3, so I'm guessing you can break 20.

Here's the old guy
http://www.fuelly.com/driver/adjamc/trailblazer

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 07:34:51 AM »
I bought and ultra gauge last week ... Right now I know we need tires, so I am looking for a good set to help with MPG and the car is in need of a tune up, so that should help...

Seems like you're spending more money than you would otherwise to do this?

Ecomodder lists the UltraGauge/ScanGauge as having a large impact on fuel consumption in its vehicle mod list. There aren't many other easy mods that get the same bang for buck.

I was all for buying an UltraGauge until yesterday, when my friend told me that his window was smashed and his cheap GPS unit was stolen. Is there a way to make it look less like a GPS?

I'll be buying a car soon, and it seems like it would be helpful to have an UltraGauge to check for engine codes and performance. Would it be practical and helpful to bring one along and hook it up during a test drive?

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 08:20:32 AM »
We have a scangauge, but I assume they work the same
 If so, it would be practical to bring one on a test drive.  They are super small and connect easy - just one wire to plug in under the dash (nothing to remove but maybe an access panel)

And it really doesn't look anything like a gps, although that won't stop some people from stealing it.  It could always be tucked somewhere less visible, or taken out every time you get out of the car

-

Regarding the original challenge:
I have better secured the droopy underbody panel and replaced the right wheel well cover, as well as resumed pulse and gliding - hoping to get that 5mpg challenge fullfilled by next fill up (30 instead of the 25 I've been getting lately - I already know it can be done!)

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 09:16:15 AM »
I'll be buying a car soon, and it seems like it would be helpful to have an UltraGauge to check for engine codes and performance. Would it be practical and helpful to bring one along and hook it up during a test drive?

I bought an UltraGauge for my dad, and it took a few minutes for it to scan all of the codes before it was ready for use.  If your car seller is willing to let you scan it, you'll end up with very useful information, and a stronger negotiating position! 

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2012, 09:57:56 AM »
I've been drafting behind a semi on the 100 mile round trip commute I need to take about once a week for work.  It helps me gain at least an extra 5mpg, and that along with the other tips I've picked up has helped me cut back on gas for a nice chunk of savings.

kolorado

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2012, 06:27:18 AM »
I'm in!...
I started researching hypermiling last week and I'm doing the easiest thing on the list that I can, coasting more. Yeah I'm annoying the drivers behind me as I speed to 55 then coast down to 40 but big deal. They can pass me.
The plan is to get some practice in coasting more until the tank is extremely empty. That may be 3 weeks or so since it's half full right now. Then I will put in 10 gallons(instead of $ amount) and see how many miles I can drive on it. That will be as close to accurate as I can get.
So assuming I'm still getting 20MPG before implementing techniques(it's a 6 cylinder)my goal would be 25 MPG. With 10 gallons in the tank that should be 250 or more miles.

I needed gas on Wednesday, 3 weeks like usual from my last $20. I've been going out a little more often for home improvement items and to allow for house showings so I thought it might be sooner. Hmm, maybe my practice hypermiling is helping already?
I also decided that since our CO trip was so close, I'd only put in 5 gallons. So I'm hoping to see at least 100 miles on my trip counter and hopefully better. This is the last week before our move so I'm going to be busy and running all over. I am coasting a lot. I find it interesting that half the people behind me seem to keep a steady speed and safe following distance so that they are closer to my car when I'm at the lower limit of my speed and far away when I get up top speed. Half the people just do what I'm doing and end up riding my bumper and getting annoyed I'm sure. I remember riding with people who did this when I was a kid and getting so annoyed at the speed up-slow down and the tailgaters. I had no idea why they were doing it, I just assumed they were bad drivers. :P You can get pretty nauseous as a passenger when the driver does that so I'm being careful to monitor how my kids are feeling when they're in the van with me.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2012, 08:33:01 AM »
I also decided that since our CO trip was so close, I'd only put in 5 gallons.

If you are going to try to improve your mileage, I recommend filling to the top everytime.  Even with computer mpg monitoring, its the only way to really get an accurate reading of your last tank's mileage.  If you don't have monitoring, its all you have.  If you do, that's how you correct for any inaccuracies in the gauge (I find we have to adjust the scanguage up or down 1 or 2% every fillup)

Be careful of the traffic density when you P&G.  Don't want to piss people off unnecessarily.  If its a multi-lane street or highway, try putting o your hazard flashers, that usually clues people to go around, even if they are more focused on their phone call than the road.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2012, 11:11:09 AM »
Hey Bakari, just wanted to say thanks for the positive influence!  After watching your videos and doing a little reading on hypermiling/p&g, I've changed some of my driving habits and was able to increase my mileage from around 26 mpg to my last fill up at 31.6!  Not sure if I'll go quite as hard core as you in terms of mods, but am happy to make the 5 mpg increase.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2012, 05:15:56 PM »
Np Stack, thanks for the feedback.

Update:
My last few tank averages before Mike's challenge
Dec: 23.2
Jan: 25.3
Feb: 25.1
Then after the Mar 12th post
Mar: 26.5
Today: 28.5

tannybrown

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2012, 10:32:27 PM »
Was averaging 37 mpg before the challenge (06 Matrix).  Tried coasting in neutral per Bakari's advice and got 39 mpg at the last fill up.  I'm pushing for 40.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2012, 07:01:16 AM »
Apparently basic fuel economy is worse on my van than I thought. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/16219.shtml The 20mpg I got back in 2006 was pretty good.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2012, 03:42:58 PM »
About the different gauges - We recently bought a 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid. It is advertised at 40/43 mpg, and we are getting around 39 now.  I know people say you can get a lot better than this - hopefully as we get better at driving it.  One neat thing about it is the automatic feedback you get as you drive.  If you drive efficiently the lights for the mph glow green.  A little less efficient, blue green, and very inefficient it is blue.  There are also little screens that give you a read out of your mpg, and the mpg of the last 3 trips.  And some screens that give you a visual of how efficient or inefficient you are.  Everyone in my family is driving better.  I think this is especially nice for my 16 yo speed demon.  He is slowing down, coasting to stops, not accelerating as fast - all things thatwould not have been accomplished just by a nagging mom! 
  I think the visual guages are very helpful (and cheaper than going out and buying an Insight.)

frugalman

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2012, 07:06:07 AM »
"I think this is especially nice for my 16 yo speed demon."
Heidi, no wonder you are only getting 39 mpg in your Honda Insight, with a 16 year old driver!

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2012, 09:36:57 AM »
Some interesting stuff here - cruise control can hurt mileage. If you let the car slow down going up a hill and speed up going down the hill, you get better mileage than if you let the cruise control downshift and increase throttle to keep the speed up the hill.

Coasting in neutral is better than turning OFF the engine when coasting. Turning the engine off would also prevent the old ZF transmissions from being lubricated, so they burned up. It also would NOT drive the power steering pump or provide vacuum for the brake booster so steeringg and brakes would be compromised. Neutral is better than off.

Drafting is said to be best done "about 10 cars behind a semi" so I don't know how that's particularly dangerous. Tailgating is a no-no.

"Keeping your A/C on low" is just dumb. The compressor runs either way when you have the A/C on, so turn it on HIGH and cool the cabin, then turn it off.  Many modern cars keep it on all the time and just adjust the temperature and fan speed.

Oil changes - the key here is *scheduled*. Not the 3000 miles the oil change places insist on.  I had my oil analyzed in the Volvo and after 5000 miles of Mobil 1 synthetic, the oil was still 'new' (metals and sludge) so now I have 10000 miles on it and will analyze it again when I change it shortly. I expect it to be relatively good still. My car only has 208000 miles on it.

Thinner oils can reduce frictional losses, but you better have an oil pressure gauge and ensure that you engine will exceed the MINIMUM oil pressure at maximum rpms.  It would be something like "at 6000 rpm you need 60psi".  Make sure you have 60 psi at 6000 or you can ruin an engine if it drops lower.

Also, measuring mileage over a tank or two is pointless. That's just a snapshot.  MEasure over the life of the vehicle.  My car has been getting 25.3 mpg since May 2008. Every tank measured and calculated.
I use a program called CarTrak to enter all numbers in and get a remarkably good idea of what the costs are of my car.

Total cost of ownership is 13 cents per mile. That's gas, maintenance, tires, etc.


Cruise Control: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents “you from “creeping” up in speed without realizing it,” according to Epistolary.org.

Put your car in neutral: Coasting with your car in neutral takes the burden off your gas pedal preventing you from wasting fuel. If you’re not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.

Drafting: This technique comes with a warning sign: according to many hypermiling experts, it is incredibly dangerous. A “deliberate form of tailgating,” the forced auto stop involves turning off your car’s engine and then following closely behind the vehicle in front of you “in order to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance in [the other car's] immediate wake.”

consumption.” If you’re going to be on the highway, keeping your A/C on low is still a good idea, but if you’re taking a joy ride, think about getting a little fresh air.


Get an oil change: Keeping up with scheduled oil changes will help your engine run more easily. Adequate oil levels and lower-weight oil can also make a difference in how quickly your vehicle burns fuel


Bakari

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 08:26:56 PM »
Some interesting stuff here - cruise control can hurt mileage. If you let the car slow down going up a hill and speed up going down the hill, you get better mileage than if you let the cruise control downshift and increase throttle to keep the speed up the hill.

yup

Quote
Coasting in neutral is better than turning OFF the engine when coasting. Turning the engine off would also prevent the old ZF transmissions from being lubricated, so they burned up. It also would NOT drive the power steering pump or provide vacuum for the brake booster so steeringg and brakes would be compromised. Neutral is better than off.

Too universal of a statement.  Everyone should remove their power steering pump anyway, power steering is pointless.  Most cars have enough vacuum reservoir to make at least one hard panic stop or several smaller speed reductions even after the engine is turned off.  Or, to be on the safe side, you could add an electric vacuum pump.  With those two steps, no difference between engine on and off for the control systems.  Unless you happen to have an old ZF tranny, that is irrelevant.  Sometimes coasting with the engine off is better.  So often that there is even an acronym for it in the hypermiling community: EOC (engine off coasting)

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Drafting is said to be best done "about 10 cars behind a semi" so I don't know how that's particularly dangerous. Tailgating is a no-no.
It "said" to be done from that distance because it is safer.  The closer you are, the better the drafting effect, and the better the mileage.  On one hand, there is limited visibility, but on the other hand, there is no car that can't outbrake a semi-truck, and truck drivers usually drive very steady, and brake early (they basically hypermile because they don't have a choice), so the chances of running into one of them are probably still lower than running into another car at the same following distance, despite the limited visibility.  Of course, if one really wants to stay safe, they should have at least as far a following distance from all cars at highway speeds, but we all know they don't...

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"Keeping your A/C on low" is just dumb. The compressor runs either way when you have the A/C on, so turn it on HIGH and cool the cabin, then turn it off.
Agreed, except, don't use it unless its at least 90s or higher out.  If 87 makes a nice day outside, its a nice temp inside.

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Oil changes - the key here is *scheduled*. Not the 3000 miles the oil change places insist on.  I had my oil analyzed in the Volvo and after 5000 miles of Mobil 1 synthetic, the oil was still 'new' (metals and sludge) so now I have 10000 miles on it and will analyze it again when I change it shortly. I expect it to be relatively good still. My car only has 208000 miles on it.

Cool!  Where do you get oil analyzed?

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Thinner oils can reduce frictional losses, but you better have an oil pressure gauge and ensure that you engine will exceed the MINIMUM oil pressure at maximum rpms.  It would be something like "at 6000 rpm you need 60psi".  Make sure you have 60 psi at 6000 or you can ruin an engine if it drops lower.

Where do you find the minimum oil pressure?

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Also, measuring mileage over a tank or two is pointless. That's just a snapshot.  MEasure over the life of the vehicle.

Ok, now I've been more or less with your suggestions so far, but that is just way off.
You measure over the lifetime to establish a baseline, yes, but you also need to measure each tank, because that tells you how your recent driving has affected your mileage.  That's the only way to know if a particular change to your driving style or vehicle mod was good or bad.  Then you can calculate, for example, "hey, slowing down from 75mph to 60mph on my commute for a full tank made my mileage jump from 25mpg to 30mpg, saving me $350 a year, but only takes an additional 2.5 minutes of time - maybe its worth it" 
If all I looked at was overall vehicle average, I might have thought it wasn't a variable, and then I wouldn't have been able to nearly double the MPGs my truck typically gets.

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My car has been getting 25.3 mpg since May 2008. Every tank measured and calculated.
What kind of car?  That's not terrible, but I bet you could do better.
According to my fuel log on ecomodder.com, my average since I began recording in Jan 2009 is 25.72 (but my average over the past 3 months is 27.05 and my average for the last 3 tanks - 740 miles - is 27.85)  This is in a 1983, 5500lb, 3/4-ton work truck that actually gets used for moving and hauling.  I am not happy with those numbers.  I'm still working on getting the average up to my 1-tank record of 30 (and my record up to... well, I've broken my goals so often I don't even know where to set them anymore!)

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2012, 10:43:07 AM »
Too universal of a statement.  Everyone should remove their power steering pump anyway, power steering is pointless.  Most cars have enough vacuum reservoir to make at least one hard panic stop or several smaller speed reductions even after the engine is turned off.  Or, to be on the safe side, you could add an electric vacuum pump.  With those two steps, no difference between engine on and off for the control systems.  Unless you happen to have an old ZF tranny, that is irrelevant.  Sometimes coasting with the engine off is better.  So often that there is even an acronym for it in the hypermiling community: EOC (engine off coasting)

"Everyone should" is a little too pointed of a statement. :)  Power steering is a godsend when you try to park in the city. Whether we should drive in the city or park 'n ride into it is a different discussion, but people do drive in places where slow speed matters. Modern cars do see more electric power steering and the impact is lessened there as it's not needed on highways and freeways, but effective at slow speed.

Electric vacuum pump could be cool, but I wouldn't turn off my engine and hope that there's no vacuum leak in the brake system so I have rock hard brakes if I need to panic stop.   Also, with an automatic, you can't clutch-start the engine and have to use the starter/battery for it.

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Drafting is said to be best done "about 10 cars behind a semi" so I don't know how that's particularly dangerous. Tailgating is a no-no.

It "said" to be done from that distance because it is safer.  The closer you are, the better the drafting effect, and the better the mileage.  On one hand, there is limited visibility, but on the other hand, there is no car that can't outbrake a semi-truck, and truck drivers usually drive very steady, and brake early (they basically hypermile because they don't have a choice), so the chances of running into one of them are probably still lower than running into another car at the same following distance, despite the limited visibility.  Of course, if one really wants to stay safe, they should have at least as far a following distance from all cars at highway speeds, but we all know they don't...
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It's said of a few of the hypermiling forums I'm on - I don't do much drafting because I don't like rock chips and even if I did stick to the tail and my car can outbreak a truck, it requires attention to a degree which I don't think I could maintain for hours on end. Reaching down to pick up a CD or something is all it takes to eat his bumper.

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"Keeping your A/C on low" is just dumb. The compressor runs either way when you have the A/C on, so turn it on HIGH and cool the cabin, then turn it off.
Agreed, except, don't use it unless its at least 90s or higher out.  If 87 makes a nice day outside, its a nice temp inside.

Flow-through ventilation is a gift. :) I think the new Prius has a solar powered fan/sunroof that vents your car when it's sunny/hot.

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Oil changes - the key here is *scheduled*. Not the 3000 miles the oil change places insist on.  I had my oil analyzed in the Volvo and after 5000 miles of Mobil 1 synthetic, the oil was still 'new' (metals and sludge) so now I have 10000 miles on it and will analyze it again when I change it shortly. I expect it to be relatively good still. My car only has 208000 miles on it.

Cool!  Where do you get oil analyzed?

I used Titan Labs in Denver, but most recently I used Blackstone labs.
My test report

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Thinner oils can reduce frictional losses, but you better have an oil pressure gauge and ensure that you engine will exceed the MINIMUM oil pressure at maximum rpms.  It would be something like "at 6000 rpm you need 60psi".  Make sure you have 60 psi at 6000 or you can ruin an engine if it drops lower.

Where do you find the minimum oil pressure?

The manufacturer has specs. A geek list specific to your engine/vehicle usually has that info. Factory service manuals will have that sort of info too.

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Also, measuring mileage over a tank or two is pointless. That's just a snapshot.  MEasure over the life of the vehicle.

Ok, now I've been more or less with your suggestions so far, but that is just way off.
You measure over the lifetime to establish a baseline, yes, but you also need to measure each tank, because that tells you how your recent driving has affected your mileage.  That's the only way to know if a particular change to your driving style or vehicle mod was good or bad.  Then you can calculate, for example, "hey, slowing down from 75mph to 60mph on my commute for a full tank made my mileage jump from 25mpg to 30mpg, saving me $350 a year, but only takes an additional 2.5 minutes of time - maybe its worth it" 
If all I looked at was overall vehicle average, I might have thought it wasn't a variable, and then I wouldn't have been able to nearly double the MPGs my truck typically gets.

The temperature of the fuel could make the volume larger or smaller. Did you top off the tank or just hang up the handle when it clicked off? Does the ethanol make the fuel foam up more? Then the E10 would shut off the handle sooner leaving you with less fuel in the tank. What's the flow-rate of the pump? When they flow faster, the fuel foams more and shuts off earlier.
Did your spouse fill up the tank last?

There are a lot of variables, so me getting a mile or two more or less has no bearing on anything in my opinion.   Of course, to calculate the lifetime average, you DO enter the numbers for each tank and if you used an extra gallon or two over the same amount of miles, then you either know that you drove harder, or more city, or that something is needing attention in the car.
For accurate mileage calculations, not even a really accurate (measure by GPS) trip meter will do more than get you close.

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My car has been getting 25.3 mpg since May 2008. Every tank measured and calculated.
What kind of car?  That's not terrible, but I bet you could do better.

1996 Volvo 965. Old, inefficient combustion chambers with old computer management.  It's far better than in my 1967 Chrysler 300 where I got 8mpg city and 15 when I cruised carefully on AutoBahn.   
I trade off a bit in mileage for having a car that doesn't break down.  I've only done maintenance items on a car that has lasted me for years and only cost $4000 and lets me drive around in luxury (well, what was luxury in '96 at least).

Slapping coruplast between the rear axle and bumper would probably be beneficial. At some point I might try it, but I've found that the best way to increase mileage is to SEE it.

The Ultra-Gauge has a good read-out that will let you think more about the mileage.

Bakari

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2012, 02:47:54 PM »
I'm going to stick with everyone should, but I'll allow the caveat: "unless you are physically disabled"
I've had a 15ft camper van, and a 3/4 ton truck with manual power steering, drove them in the city, had to parallel park.  Having a purpose built manual steering gear is not like trying to steer a PS with the engine off.  You aren't moving the fluid around, and the gear ratio is different. 
Then again, my girlfriend still has the PS gear ratio, just took out the pump, and that car is still super easy to turn at low speeds.
In both cases, yes it is harder than turning with PS.  Just like its harder to walk up stairs than an escalator.  Just like its harder to get up and change the channel than to use a remote, or harder park and walk inside instead of using the drive through.  Its hardER, but its not hard.  We are just spoiled and soft and weak, and having machines to do even the easiest tasks for us just makes it worse.

But you are definitely right that many should not coast in neutral (including everyone with an automatic, which is already most Americans)

I don't draft because the semi drivers around here all drive to fast.  The limit for trucks is 55, but they usually do at least 60.

I deal with the variable pump issue by always using the same gas station (and almost always the same pump).  I top off at least 3 clicks, until it clicks off immediately upon squeezing the handle.  No one ever fills it but me.  They never put ethanol in biodiesel.  They put exactly 20% methanol in it.  All that stuff could, as you say, vary it by a mile or two per gallon, but driving conditions and technique can make a 20-50 mpg difference.

I wish I could use a scan/ultra-gauge.  My truck is pre-computer.  So all I have is tank-to-tank fill ups, thats as close as I get to "instant" feedback.

grantmeaname

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2012, 09:28:10 AM »
But you are definitely right that many should not coast in neutral (including everyone with an automatic, which is already most Americans)
Why shouldn't automatic drivers coast in neutral?

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2012, 10:08:43 AM »
I mean they should not coast with the engine off.
Coasting in neutral with the engine on is fine, for everyone, all the time.  I highly recommend it.
(except many if not most modern cars shut the injectors when at high RPM with no throttle - so if you need to slow down anyway i.e. going down a steep long hill - then leave it in gear)

But with the engine off, the ATF isn't circulated, and it starts burning up.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 06:36:13 PM by Bakari »

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2012, 10:16:59 AM »
I mean they should coast with the engine off.


You mean should not?
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grantmeaname

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2012, 11:47:19 AM »
Coasting in neutral with the engine on is fine, for everyone, all the time.  I highly recommend it.
(except many if not most modern cars shut the injectors when at high RPM with no throttle - so if you need to slow down anyway i.e. going down a steep long hill - then leave it in gear)
Okay, good. This is more or less what I do: neutral do decelerate slowly, no throttle and in drive to engine brake.

I've seen lots of reasons why you can or can't ever go into neutral around the web, but I've never seen anything definitive either way.

HumanAfterAll

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2012, 12:47:45 PM »
As another data point, I removed the power steering pump from my '94 Subaru wagon 2 years ago, and the car is much better for it.  More power, better fuel economy, and the steering actually feels better.  I do need to use two hands to parallel park, but now that I have cupholders, that's not a problem :)  Even my skinny girlfriend enjoys driving the car without p/s.

My car is a 5-speed and I installed a kill switch on the fuel injector wire, so I often coast in neutral with the engine off.  I get 3-4 applications of the brake before the power brakes go away, but you just learn to deal with it and bump-start the engine if you need more braking.  But hypermiling is about looking ahead, so this isn't a real problem unless you aren't paying attention.

I don't recommend using the key switch to coast while moving... if you accidentally turn it too far and lock the steering column, that's bad news.  Plus, if you have airbags, they will be turned off by the key.  Install a dedicated engine kill switch if you can.

Bakari

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2012, 06:36:35 PM »
I mean they should coast with the engine off.


You mean should not?

yes, thank you.  Corrected the original.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2012, 08:26:08 PM »
This probably doesn't apply to most people here, but if you have adjustable coil overs, the lower your car is seems to help a lot.  I drive a Subaru WRX and it is fairly boxy.  When my original shocks were completely cooked @100K miles or so, I sprung for some budget coil overs.  Because they are fully adjustable I decided to see how low I could have it at first, see what it was like.  I could feel a huge difference when going 65+ in 5th gear when it was super low (front bumper wouldn't clear standard parking stoppers by probably 1/2 inch)  I ended up raising it back up 3/8" or so to stop rubbing the wheel wells, and I felt a big difference.  I know if your following all the other hyper-milling techniques here you might not be going as fast to recognize these gains as much, but I still bet it makes a big fuel difference at 55MPH.  Coasting at 80 felt like coasting at 60 with the low set-up.  Makes me wonder if those flat lips that stick out from the front bumper like race cars use would be an effective upgrade over time...  Hopefully one day Ill get to roll my fenders and get back low again.  Side note:   Please don't cut your springs or do any number of out of reasonable spec modifications to your car.  Like those always oscillating civics with cut springs or trucks raised on cut out hockey pucks, not that anyone here would consider raising a commuter truck!  Yes I know going fast isn't part of hyper-milling, but I like doing it from time to time, and mostly used that example to illustrate the point.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2012, 11:45:20 PM »
But you are definitely right that many should not coast in neutral (including everyone with an automatic, which is already most Americans)
Why shouldn't automatic drivers coast in neutral?

I'm just one data point, but my mechanic said I ruined the transmission in my old 94 escort automatic by coasting down big hills in neutral.  It went out about two years after I started doing it, and it was already an old car when I started, so maybe coincidence. 

I don't remember now why he said coasting in neutral caused the transmission to fail.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2012, 09:54:45 AM »
There are also bluetooth ODB readers that will transmit data to a smartphone.  That can help with the theft factor, and also provide fancy interfaces.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2012, 12:19:23 PM »
Started hypermiling a few weeks ago (the same day I started reading the MMM blog).

My car is a 2009 Subaru Legacy (oh, if I'd only read MMM just a few months earlier, I could have avoided that mistake).  My commute is currently 12 miles one way (we're now working on solving that problem too), and I had been driving like it was a race car and getting 23 mpg.  The route is mostly rural hills and winding, twisting roads, followed by a bit of highway, ended with a bit of stop and go city.

Just by changing my driving style I'm now disappointed when I get less than 30 average.  I haven't even done anything like making any sort of modifications to the car itself.

chops

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2014, 01:12:15 PM »
Bakari mentioned here that an automatic should not be turned off because the transmission fluid is not circulated, which can damage the transmission.  I get that while you are driving down a hill, but what about when you are stopped at a long light?  Since the car isn't moving, would it be bad to turn off the engine? 

Thanks!

- Chops


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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2014, 04:59:59 PM »
Bakari mentioned here that an automatic should not be turned off because the transmission fluid is not circulated, which can damage the transmission.  I get that while you are driving down a hill, but what about when you are stopped at a long light?  Since the car isn't moving, would it be bad to turn off the engine? 

Thanks!

- Chops

No, not at all.  What I said is only for when the car is moving.  You should always shut the engine if you aren't moving for more than about 30 seconds. 

Just pay attention to when the cross street turns yellow, some people get cranky if they have to wait behind you for 2 seconds while you start up.

chops

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2014, 10:33:55 AM »
Thanks for clarifying that for me Bakari! 

There are a lot of great hypermiling tips on here and on your blog (props for that - it's awesome) for manual cars, but being the very proud owner of an automatic with 14k miles (it's pretty mustachian at 19 years old and the price was right) it might be a while until I pick up a manual...

I'll keep hunting for automatic hypermiling tips, but if anyone has a few they'd be appreciated!

 - Chops


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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2014, 11:12:49 AM »
My automatic ( :( ) Saturn does not respond well to hypermiling, although I don't coast enough with it.  It can coast with the engine off.  I seem to get right around 29-31mpg almost regardless of what I'm doing, even with a roof-rack and 2 bikes on the roof.  It's weird.  Very long highway trips without the roof rack will sometimes show up to 35mpg or so.  I won't complain too much, still a ridiculously low cost/mile when you factor in all other ownership costs. 

That said, I took the Prius to run a few errands on Sat. evening and returned a nice 63.8mpg.  I had it reading over 70mpg for about half the trip, but couldn't maintain it.  Had to take it on a longer trip to my parents and got a respectable 45mpg.  Hypermiling is much more inconvenient on the highway.


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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2014, 05:52:44 PM »
I've been hypermiling for a solid year. I'm pretty conservative and primarily focus on not braking. Just get off the gas when you know you gotta stop. I aim to not brake above 25mph.

I also advocate keeping it in gear and the engine on. It makes hypermiling easier, and modern engines will set fuel consumption to zero which would actually be better then taking it out of gear and letting the engine idle in many situations.

My car is a 2009 VW Rabbit, rated at ~21/29. I have averaged a solid 30 over one year of tanks. That's probably 75% city driving.

The fun thing is my city/hwy is the same when hypermiling. I get 30 with lots of freeway driving @65mph and 30 with city commuting.

My car is overall pretty inefficient. only rated for 21 city, big 2.5L 5 cylinder and it gets like 24mpg on the freeway at 75mph :-(
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 05:54:59 PM by okashira »

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2014, 03:14:10 AM »
hi there, i do a moderate hypermiling here for safety reasons. I do not turn off the car for cruising because then the steer assistant and brake assistant shuts off. I turn it off on red lights and use the pedestrian lights as sign to reignite.
For coadting i usually push the gear shift pedal (how is this called correctly?) and unshift occasionally on longer coast distances.
This already serves me very well and i save at least 1 litre oer 100km.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #43 on: April 23, 2014, 08:46:48 AM »
I need to get in on this one.  Read this for the first time last night. ()  We have a compact family car ('05 toyota matrix) but also a 2004 Dodge Dakota Club Cab.  (extended cab, but still only 2 doors.)

It's EPA estimated is 14/20, which is pretty crappy.  It is manual transmission, so that is good.

I have a hilly 20 mile commute with lots lights.

I coasted a lot on the way to work today, and at a few lights, turned the engine off.  I think I might limit this to the one longer light.  Or I need to pay more attention and see how long all the lights are. 

Is it bad for the car to start and stop so much?  Or am I at risk of wearing something out faster?

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #44 on: April 23, 2014, 09:01:24 AM »
For coadting i usually push the gear shift pedal (how is this called correctly?) and unshift occasionally on longer coast distances.

clutch?

skunkfunk

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2014, 09:53:21 AM »
I got 24 mpg on my last tank. 1991 K1500 4x4 (work truck.) It's listed at 16 mpg.

Some interesting stuff here - cruise control can hurt mileage. If you let the car slow down going up a hill and speed up going down the hill, you get better mileage than if you let the cruise control downshift and increase throttle to keep the speed up the hill.

Yes! I lose ~4 mpg from using cruise control. Every road here has hills. Varying speed is a much better tactic.

Thinner oils can reduce frictional losses, but you better have an oil pressure gauge and ensure that you engine will exceed the MINIMUM oil pressure at maximum rpms.  It would be something like "at 6000 rpm you need 60psi".  Make sure you have 60 psi at 6000 or you can ruin an engine if it drops lower.
My aging vehicles do not meet this requirement. The pickup has about 30 psi, no matter what I do. The old car has some significant bearing wear and gets 60 cold, and tops out at ~40 on the highway when it's warmed up. It goes around 4000 rpm at 75 mph, and if I wind it up higher the oil pressure stays the same. It did have loud lifter clatter before I cleaned it out and switched to a thicker oil. Idles around 10 psi, cruises around 30-35.

Possibly related, I did find part of a c-clip from a lifter when I cut up the last oil filter. Replaced a couple lifters and pushrods, did a valve job and put in new valve springs, nothing else has broken yet. I'm still missing about half of a pushrod. It's probably somewhere in the indian ocean.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #46 on: April 23, 2014, 10:56:15 AM »
I am so happy to see this thread.  I usually average about 45 mpg (mostly highway with small hills) in my 2003 VW TDI before starting hypermiling.  I would love to get above 50.  I have been coasting in gear because my husband said that coasting in neutral was bad for the transmission.  From reading this thread, I think he was mistaken.  I am lucking enough to live in a rural area so I can really take advantage of slowing up hills and accelerating down hills.  I also am really focusing on not braking.  I am going to be filling up in the next couple days and can't wait to see my mpg.

Has anyone read about this guy?  He got 180 mpg in an Insight and 59 mpg in an Accord.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/guy-can-get-59-mpg-plain-old-accord-beat-punk

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2014, 06:15:01 PM »


Has anyone read about this guy?  He got 180 mpg in an Insight and 59 mpg in an Accord.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/guy-can-get-59-mpg-plain-old-accord-beat-punk

That article was my original inspiration.
Altered the course of my life. 
(Very) indirectly, is what led me here.

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Re: Hypermile your way to savings!
« Reply #48 on: April 25, 2014, 07:30:38 PM »
With gas so expensive here I have been doing most of these things for a while now.  Amazing the difference between 117 and 99 kph.  I also look well ahead and rarely have to brake, except for that final bit at a stop.  I coast (slowing down) most of it.  Cruise control is great for the highway, but for hilly terrain I don't use it, since not only is it better to coast on the down hill, not using it gives me better control, since around here hilly is also usually twisty.  There are winter drives I take where it looks like I will go straight into a ski hill at the bottom of the hill.

Other benefits - my brakes last almost forever, just had the first major brake work done at about 160,000km.  Tires too - I needed new summer tires last spring, and just had them put back on this week.  The mechanic told me I have 80% usable tread left, so they should be good for at least 4 more years.  Probably more, since I am driving so much less now.  My winter tires lasted 3 years, but they got the brunt of my commuting miles, and of course they also get to deal with bad pavement every spring as pothole season hits.

What about alignment - does it have much effect on mileage?  it certainly does on tire wear, and my car definitely needed its alignment this spring.