Fuel prices getting you down? Have you considered fuel-efficient ‘hypermiling’

Budget savvy drivers should consider lifting their right feet and join the ‘hypermiling’ movement in light of the latest brutal record petrol price blow this week.

This is according to getWorth general manager Wesley Procter, who explains that Hypermiling is the use of proven fuel-saving techniques to minimise the amount of fuel a vehicle uses no matter what car you drive.

'Hypermiling' the way to go

The term ‘hypermiling’ was coined by Wayne Gerdes, the multiple world record holder for the most fuel-efficient driving, who started the website CleanMPG.com, a community forum dedicated to using less fuel.

SEE: Record SA fuel price hike - here's how much more you'll have to pay for fuel

Hypermiling is characterised by smooth driving and thinking ahead and Procter says that first and most important technique is how you use the accelerator and brake pedals. 

"Cars are heavy and it takes a lot of energy to get them moving, so when you brake, you waste that energy. So brake as little as possible by keeping a decent following distance in traffic, coasting up to traffic lights, stop-signs and turns, and keep an eye far ahead for potential impediments.”

Helpful driving tips

Accelerate smoothly and steadily and as little as possible and lift your foot off the pedal as soon as you see you’re going to need to slow down or stop,” he advises.

In the same vein, keep your general speed down – fuel consumption is dramatically higher at 120 km/h than 80 km/h, but you’re also more likely to have to slow down for something when you’re travelling faster. Also remember to use hills to your advantage by coasting downhill.”

                                                                           Image: Newspress

He says that there are dozens of other techniques with varying levels of effectiveness. He offers a smattering of other useful tips:

• Set your display to show real-time fuel consumption – watching that number fly up when you accelerate is the quickest way to figure out why you are burning fuel.
• Inflate your tyres regularly to the upper end of the safe pressure recommended by the manufacturer (the correct tyre pressure will also make your tyres last longer).
• Use the lowest-viscosity (lowest weight) engine oil for your vehicle (the thicker the oil, the harder the engine must work to move its parts).
• Turn off your engine when you’re going to be stopped for more than a minute.
• Air-conditioning uses fuel so only so only use when absolutely necessary.
• Avoid tail-gating as it is inefficient. Leave a gap of 7 to 10 seconds from the vehicle ahead on the highway and maintain momentum.
• Remove dead weight and take anything you don’t need out of the car, as this can save fuel in the long run.

If you’re interested in learning more, Wikihow has a good page here

Procter says: "Unfortunately, hypermiling is the opposite of exciting driving – there’s no fast acceleration, whipping around corners and weaving through traffic. 

"But a large portion of our car usage is normally spent in traffic where fast driving would be reckless anyway. Hypermiling techniques take a different type of thought and concentration and can keep you engaged.

"Think of trying to beat your personal best for the least fuel used on your regular route."