The Benefits and Risks of Hypermiling

Aug 22, 2022 1 min read

If you’re always thinking about ways to boost your car's fuel economy, you may have heard about hypermiling. So what is hypermiling? Hypermiling is a driving technique where you try to squeeze the most fuel efficiency out of your vehicle. You can hypermile with any type of car or truck — these days, hypermiling an electric car is popular with people who want to get as much range as possible from their charges. People with hybrid cars hypermile by keeping their vehicles running on battery power rather than gasoline as much as possible.

Most strategies used to maximize miles per gallon follow safe and smart driving habits. Hypermilers, for instance, do not tailgate and typically stay in the right lane. If you’re considering how to hypermile, you may want to:

  • Plan a route that’s as direct as possible, with minimal acceleration and braking.
  • Do not exceed the speed limit. 
  • Drive when traffic is lighter.
  • Keep your car well-maintained. 
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. 
  • Empty your trunk, so you’re not carrying extra weight.
  • Close the sunroof and windows so you’re not adding drag. 
  • Try not to stop at the bottom of hills.

When it comes to hypermiling, there are a few red flags you should watch out for. Hypermilers try to avoid coming to complete stops, and slowly get up to speed after coming to a stop. This may make drivers behind hypermilers impatient. Here are a few other hypermiling techniques that could be dangerous.

Driving in the Slipstream Behind Trucks

When you drive behind a big vehicle, you have less air and wind resistance pushing against your car, so you can increase your fuel efficiency. The TV show Mythbusters reportedly found that following a truck at 100 feet improves gas consumption by 11 percent and following at 10 feet bumped improvement up to 40 percent. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you need 265 feet to safely brake when you are traveling at 55 mph. Shorter distances mean you risk rear-ending the truck if it stops suddenly.

Driving on the Painted Lines on Pavement

When you drive on a smoother surface, you increase your fuel efficiency. A report by the Asphalt Paving Alliance found a smooth surface could cut your fuel consumption by up to 5 percent compared to driving on rough pavement. Some hypermilers drive on the painted lines that divide the lanes since, conceivably, the smoother painted surface would provide lower fuel consumption. But these lane markers are there for a reason — to keep cars separated. Drive on the painted lines and you risk an accident.

Switching Off Daytime Running Lights

Your lights use power, so turning them off can save battery power. But it’s safer to have them on so other drivers can see you.

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