Friday, July 4, 2008

Financial Tip Friday- Hypermilin' Ain't Easy Edition

I am getting away from the basics this week to update you on my Hypermiling Experience. Remember, you can add your links at the bottom, but please be mindful of the RULES
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Hypermiling Tips

First of all, I have been told that hypermiling is really meant to be done with hybrid cars. However, I think the principles do work with regular cars, they just don’t change your MPG as significantly.

During my two week trial of hypermiling, I learned quite a few things about successfully and unsuccessfully doing it. It is not as easy as it sounds. If you missed the first few posts, you can read the things I did here. My final results are here.

1. It is easy to forget about. You jump in the car to run to the store for a much needed item and totally forget you are supposed to be coasting and using your cruise control. Or, you are late for something and get on the highway and SPEED, eek!! It is very easy to forget to apply the principles of hypermiling when you drive. I would suggest a little sticker or something on your steering wheel or close to the speedometer to remind you to do it.

2. It takes practice. There are times where I thought I could coast up to a stop, only to find myself irritating the person behind me because I was going 20 MPH and was quite a ways from the stop. This would cause me to use gas to get up to speed a bit only to stop soon after. OR I would take my foot off the accelerator too late and end up wasting gas by braking when I could have been coasting. I found it much easier to hypermile on familiar roads than on routes I took irregularly. In fact, on my regular routes I started using landmarks, like signs or patches of grass on the side of the road to help me remember where to start coasting.

3. Not all hills are created equal. Some hills will give you upward of an extra 5 mph by coasting. Some, believe it or not, will actually decrease your speed if you take your foot off the accelerator. This didn’t happen too often, but a couple of times it did and I was really shocked. The incline has to be such that the weight of the car counteracts it.

4. People can get mad. I didn’t really have this problem much at all, but when you coast up to a stop you will find the guy behind you starts really riding your tail. Not on purpose, of course, but you are coasting and they are still using gas. This can irritate other drivers, but it is also a safety issue so be careful. Sometimes if I found another driver behind me I would just keep up speed to avoid this situation.

5. YOU may get impatient. After using gas to get to stop signs or lights, it can be very frustrating to coast to a stop. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t feel right. Your foot REALLY wants to hit the gas. This takes some getting used to. The best cure for me was to look at my speedometer. Even though I felt like I was doing 10mph usually I was doing 20 or more. So, my best advice is to just fight the urge to use gas and after a few times you will get used to it.

I hope this tips help you out. Like I said before, I think I would have done better had I remembered every single time I was driving. But, driving takes your undivided attention, so I recommend starting out with routes that you travel very often first, then adding irregular routes. A distracted driver (even by something like hypermiling) can be a dangerous thing on the road!! Keep that in mind and enjoy your new found MPG increases!!

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