We love to travel. Not all of our trips are flying place or taking cruises. Often we will drive places. Right now I am in the Pittsburgh area visiting relatives and am going to a wedding this afternoon. But with the rising price of gas, there trips are getting more expensive. I could buy a hybrid car, but the payback would be long. My 2000 Honda Civic is in pretty good condition and gets reasonably good gas milage. Usually about 28-29 mpg.
But I saw a thing on CNN the other day about something called hypermiling. I had never heard of it. These hypermiler’s are getting higher than the epa gas milage ratings. A lot of them drive hybrids like the Prius or the Honda Civic Hybrid. But some of the guys drive regular non-hybrid cars. One of the guys gets 50mpg out of his Honda Accord. I was thinking that if he could get 50mpg out of an Accord, I should be able to get better gas milage out of my Honda Civic.
I tried some of the techniques they talked about in the new article, and on some hypermilng related websites that I found. I avoided using the brake by simply taking my foot off the gas pedal sooner, and leaving a larger buffer between me and the car in front of me. I started accelerating slower treating the foot pedal as if there was an egg under my foot. When I stop at a long light, I will shut off my car. I try to avoid having my car running while I am not moving. I was hoping to see my gas milage rise to 35mpg. I filled my tank and start trying these techniques. After 170 mles I filled up my tank. I was surprised to see that I got over 39mpg!!! That is up from about 28 mpg!!! Wow!
So decided to try the techniques on our drive down to Pittsburgh. It was a 300 mile drive on mostly feeways. I basically took easy with no fast acceleration, and avoided braking where possible and safe. It was extremely hot with the temps in the 80s, maybe even 90s. We started off with the windows down, but later rolled the windows up and turned on the air conditioning. Even with the air conditioning on, I still averaged over 33mpg. I am guessing that if we hadn’t used the air conditioning, we would have gotten maybe 37 mpg? I am still learning this stuff, but I am guessing I will continue to get higher gas milage.
I ordered a device called ScanGauge II. This is a cool little gadget that a lot of hypermilers use. It plugs into the data port under the dash of most cars made after 1996. It will tell me real time what my gas milage is, as well as how much gas is left in my tank, the engine’s rpms, how many miles I can expect to get from the gas I have in my tank, etc. Lots of cool stuff. It was not cheap, but I am certain that it will help me save enough gas to easily pay for itself in less than 6 months.
Added 6/8:
I filled up yesterday morning and drove locally using hypermiling techniques. Then I drove most of the way home on the freeway. The first part of the drive we had the AC off, and the windows rolled down. But as it warmed up, we rolled up the windows, and turned on the AC. I stopped and filled up before we left Pennsylvania and entered New York as we have usually found better gas prices in PA. My gas milage was over 37mpg.
It was a little cooler farther north, so I turned of the AC, and rolled the windows down again. I haven’t filled up yet. But I have almost 200 miles on this tank, and the gauge isn’t even down to half yet.
I am really excited to get the ScanGuage II so I can see whether driving the windows up and air conditioning on, or having the AC off, and the windows down is more efficient. To see what the optimum speed for my car is. I think I will be able to learn a lot using it.