Hypermiling – How far can you go?

I started experimenting with hypermiling about a year ago after reading an article about people getting extraordinary gas mileage by adjusting the way they drive. Within a month I was getting 4 more miles per gallon of gas. Depending on your enthusiasm, there are many ways to improve your gas mileage.
The essense of hypermiling is to not touch the brakes unless absolutely necessary. Braking is what kills your gas mileage. Coasting as far as you can by planning ahead is where most people make improvements. The moment you see a red light ahead, you remove your foot from the accelerator and start coasting. Perfection is achieved when your car coasts to your stopping location without needing to use the brakes. If you drive the same route frequently you can even predict when the lights are going to change and make adjustments before it even happens.
Idling is also a killer for mileage. There is an old urban legend that cars use a tremendous amount of gas when being started and, therefore, it is not cost effective to turn off your car when waiting at long lights or train crossings. The truth is, after about 7 seconds of idling, most care are using more gas than they would if they had been turned off and restarted. Almost all hybrid vehicles automatically turn the gas engine when idling. If you suspect you will be idling more than 7 seconds, turn off your engine. This also reduces emissions.
There are lots of things that should be obvious, like not carrying heavy loads or leaving a roof rack on when not needed. Keeping your tires at the recommended pressure and keeping your engine tuned up are also well known ways to increase your mileage. Although cars get their optimal mileage at different speeds, most mileage diminishes when traveling above 50 miles per hour. Running the air conditioning also takes a tremendous toll on mileage.
As with anything, some people take hypermiling to extremes. Tricks like turning the engine off and coasting to a stop every time and taking corners at high speed in order to avoid braking do increase gas mileage but not everyone feels comfortable doing this. Using advanced techniques, hypermilers have gotten 60 miles per gallon from non hybrid cars and close to 100 miles per gallon from hybrid vehicles. Your mileage may vary.

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