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06. 19. 2008

Green Tech: How to spend less on gas by embracing hypermiling


Yesterday I paid more than $50 for a tank of gas for the first time. I had been feeling cocky and virtuous - virtuous by U.S. standards at least. I got through our unlikely June spate of high 90s temps without turning the car air conditioning on, except for one trip home from the grocery store. (Just conserving the milk and yogurt, friends.) With prices predicted to hit $5/gallon by fall, more strenuous measures are required.

Going without A/C was easy. I don't commute, and I give thanks daily for my good fortune. My driving consists mostly of running local errands a couple of times a week. I have always ganged them together to save time; saving gas too, along with the planet, is a bonus I began to appreciate only a few years ago. Even if the car and the parking lot are broiling, going from building to ridiculously ice-cold building keeps you cool enough.

I already coast down hills so I can coast up the next one, and I coast when slowing for a light or a turn too, traffic permitting. My tires are properly inflated. A more abstemious car is not possible. So what's next?

For advice, I turned to sites devoted to the suddenly hot topic of hypermiling. Hypermilers use assorted techniques to squeeze every last inch of mileage out of a tank of gas. Coasting and no A/C are just the beginning.

Here are some of the best sites:
Hypermiling on Wikipedia
Clean MPG
The Hypermiling Forum

But be prepared for a certain amount of obsession, not to mention fanaticism, along with some scary advice. For example, see Jake Fisher at the Consumer Reports cars blog for a contrarian view. He's bugged by potential dangers in some of the most hyper techniques of hypermiling. I myself am quite nervous at the idea of sailing along in the draft from an 18-wheeler. And I haven't got the gumption to turn off the ignition at stoplights, either.

How 'bout you? What are your best techniques for saving gas? Share them in the Comments.

Posted by Tam    Category: cars | culture | eco | on the web
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