Fuel prices have been low for a few months now, but that was not the case last year. Even now, prices are on a rise. People try all sorts of things to make sure they get the best out of their cars. And one of those ways to improve the fuel efficiency is changing the way you drive. The car will return the best mileage if you are gentle with the throttle and careful with the gears. And one of those fuel saving driving practices is called hypermiling.
Hypermiling is a practice of driving your vehicle economically and exceeding what vehicle’s manufacturer has stated as the efficiency by modifying driving habits and techniques. This practice is not something new. People have been doing it for decades to get better fuel efficiency. Expert hypermilers claim the practice has helped them reduce fuel usage and travelling costs by up to 40%. Considering how bad traffic situation is in almost every city of Pakistan, hypermiling can help you save a whole lot of money at the end of the month.
So you have decided to try hypermiling. This is how you can go about doing that.
First, start by tracking the average of your car. It’s best to have a proper record of the fuel usage, and kilometres travelled. There are mobile apps available as well that can help you maintain the record. Maintaining an appropriate record will help you see the effects of hypermiling in a quantifiable manner.
Secondly, make sure your car is well maintained. Change oils on time and have its tuning done on regular basis. When I say well maintained, it includes having properly inflated tyres and clean boot as well. Correctly inflated tyres mean you have not only good stopping power but you also have less drag when taking off or travelling at cruising speeds. And also, clean your car immediately. Remove all the junk you have ignored in the car for past months. Some extreme hypermilers also remove the spare tyre and car jack, but I would not advise that unless you have run flats. Also, if you have something that can cause a drag, like a roof rack, remove those things as well (provided you don’t need them on a daily basis).
Tuning also includes cleaner throttle body or carburettor and good quality spark plugs.
Then there are small things that matter. For example, try to use the lowest possible viscosity oil. Thicker oil means engine components need more to pump the oil and move through them. Whether it’s engine oil or transmission oil, both lubricate their respective components. And thinner oils will take less to go through the parts.
All of the things mentioned above are about related to your vehicles. Let’s talk a little about your driving practice and road behaviour.
The first thing you can do to save the fuel is, not drive at all. All you will do is save fuel. Walk to the stores and shops close to your home instead of taking your car. When going to shopping, park your car at one place, and then walk to different shops in the vicinity instead of moving your vehicle again and again.
Be defensive on the road. Anticipate behaviour of other motorists. If you see traffic piling up in the distance or a red traffic light, put the car in neutral and let it roll until you stop. Also, your car will use less fuel if you continue driving a rolling car instead of completely stopping it and starting in first gear. Some people turn off the engine, but I think that is very dangerous. You must never do that. Your engine keeps important accessories like brake booster, power steering, and electronics on all the time.
Try to brake as less as possible. That doesn’t mean you drive like a manic and then don’t apply brakes. As mentioned above, try to anticipate the traffic ahead. Only speed up enough so you can come to a rolling stop if needed instead of applying brakes. Think it like this; you needed the brakes to stop the car because you were going faster than what was necessary. So you wasted fuel by speeding up unnecessarily.
Shutting down engine or coasting
And at the end, there is a practice of coasting. This is where you turn the engine off when you are just rolling down a road. Off engine in a rolling car means not fuel burning while covering the distance. As I said above, that can be very dangerous in some situations. So be extremely careful with this. I have known people turning their engines off while descending hilly roads. That is just plain stupid. You must never do that. But, you should shut down the engine on traffic signals. No point in keeping it running when you are not moving.
These are just a few of hypermiling tips that can help you get better mileage. Expert hypermilers do a lot more than just these; from driving barefoot (because you feel the race paddle closely), to closing the windows without A/C and even turning their mobile phones off so you don’t lose concentration. There a lot of things that come together to give you mouthwatering fuel average but let’s be honest, it is not possible to do all that at once. But for now, we hope you have learnt something new today. Happy motoring!