Friday, April 10, 2009

Hypermiling It

This morning I filled up my Honda Civic Hybrid and sent an email to myself as I always do to track my mileage online.  What was different today is that I set a personal record of 45.3 MPG on my last tank.  Ever since I bought the HCH in July of 2007 I have become obsessed with tracking my mileage online at GreenHybrid.com (the graph below is my mileage tracking to-date).  



I can attribute this fuel-tracking obsession directly to the MPG gauge located at the left side of my dashboard (pictured at the right).  
It gives instant feedback as to how much gas you're using as you drive.  I find myself checking this gauge constantly (much more often than my actual speedometer) 
and trying to keep it as high as possible.  Over the past two years this has resulted in much 
more efficient driving habits.  I try not to accelerate as much and often coast down declines in the road.  Sometimes it's hard to maintain a solid mileage (especially in Beltway stop-n-go traffic) and I've had many sub-40 MPG tanks (including an all-time worst of 36 MPG last summer).  MPG fluctuates based on a variety of factors including tire pressure, air conditioning usage, outside temperature and overall weight in the vehicle.  The term "hypermiling" is a new buzz word to describe methods used to maximize MPG.  Some of the extreme methods used by hypermilers include:

  • drafting behind trucks
  • driving far below the speed limit at times
  • taking sharp curves at high speeds (to avoid losing energy to braking)
  • coasting with the engine off
  • passing red lights or stop signs in areas of low traffic
  • over-inflating tires to reduce rolling resistance
I don't practice these methods and don't consider myself a "hypermiler" but I do try to drive fuel efficient as my competitive nature will keep compelling my to try and beat my MPG record.  If you do own a hybrid (or are thinking of buying one) I recommend using GreenHybrid.com or another fuel tracking website to record your personal mileage.  Not only does it become a challenging and rewarding part of your daily driving routine, but in changing driving habits you will actually end up saving some cash in the long run. 

2 comments:

Mommy, Esq. said...

I had no idea you had a hybrid. I'm just going to wisely keep my opinions about hybrids to myself.

Jordan said...

What are your opinions? I'm not a tree-hugger so I won't be offended. The main reason I got the car is to save some money on gas. My old Infiniti required premium gas.