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Hypermiling Followup – Save $466 Dollars A Year Or More

by The Happy Rock on August 1, 2007

As I thought about some of the concepts behind hypermiling I felt they demonstrate the core philosophy we have here at The Happy Rock. If we change our attitude and relationship to world around us, our finances are also affected.

windy road country fordLet’s start with a look at how our finances might be affected, since we are talking about a good bit of money that can be saved. Assume an average of 12,000 miles driven a year, $3.00 a gallon for gas, 20 MPG average, and a 35% increase in MPG from improved driving habits. At 20 MPG that comes to about $1,800 a year. Increase your MPG by 35% and you only spend $1,333.33 a year. A savings of $466 dollars a year.

For me the change in attitude comes for these concepts that stuck with me from all of the hypermiling research :

  1. I control a larger percent of driving efficiency than I give myself credit for. My impatience, lack of awareness, and even laziness can cost a significant amount of money.
  2. At rest a car is getting 0 miles per gallon.
  3. Pressing the accelerator uses gas to create energy and motion. Why then would I want to accelerate towards a red light, only to brake and dissipate the motion that I used gas to create. Yes, I am quite guilty of this, especially in our Murano, though my little 4 cylinder Nissan keeps some aggressive driving habits in check.

The idea is that if I change my attitudes and habits about driving I can save a bunch of money and even some stress. Here are a few simple changes I am interested in making habits:

  1. Making sure my tires are inflated
  2. Traveling smoother routes(less stopping)
  3. Gradual acceleration from stops(I still have some 18 year old teen driving bravado in me)
  4. Coasting more when I need to stop.
  5. Part of it whole equation is breaking the rushing full speed ahead lifestyle that is particularly evident on the east cost of the US.

Here are a few tips that I already do:

  1. Shifting into neutral on long downhills
  2. Using the highway whenever possible
  3. Drafting really close(10 feet) behind tractor trailers on highways. Just kidding, but I did see a Mythbusters episode that caused a significant increase in gas mileage. The risk is a little to high though.

Now that I shared a few areas that I want to work on and why it is worth it, I am interested in what areas you are thinking about attacking? What tips and tricks are you using to save a few pennies while driving? Let’s pool our ideas together to save some extra money!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Philip Brewer August 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

In my experience, the key thing that helps gas mileage (after proper tire inflation) is looking ahead in a way that lets you limit braking. Surging ahead when the light turns green probably costs some extra gas, but not enough that I’ve been able to quantify it. However, if you can start coasting far enough back that you don’t need to hit the brakes at all (because the light is green by the time you get to it), that pays off in significantly higher gas mileage.

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The Happy Rock August 1, 2007 at 4:19 pm

@Philip – Thank you for the insight. That reaffirms my choice to make more coasting a priority. Looking further ahead probably makes you a safer driver too.

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Lazy Man and Money August 1, 2007 at 8:38 pm

I credit my good gas mileage to laziness. I’m often too lazy to accellerate when unnecessary and too lazy to brake when I can think in advance and coast.

That was a good episode of Mythbusters.

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Ed B August 3, 2007 at 5:29 pm

You mean, I have to wait a whole year before I get my $466?

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Thecpa August 5, 2007 at 6:28 pm

Excellent post. Some other things you could consider to improve gas mileage are, 1) to consolidate several errands into one trip (some planning will be involved with this one), 2) follow the speed limits (on all the days you’re not running late), and 3) only use the A/C when necessary (I know we’re having a heat wave here).

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Amber Yount August 8, 2007 at 12:03 pm

I’m proud of my gas saving ways. I used to be in that whole “fast and the ZFurious” crap…except way before the movie came out lol. I now drive like a granny and get 30 mpg in a Volvo that the previous owners only got 23 mpg in :D

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The Happy Rock August 8, 2007 at 2:00 pm

@Amber,

Nice, what things did you do to get your MPG that much better?

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The Happy Rock August 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm

@thecpa – Thanks for the tips. I still fail sometimes at the planning multiple trips into one. We often have to run to the grocery store 2 maybe 3 times a week. Planning meals and party dishes ahead of time would probably fix that though.

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Hypermilling August 1, 2008 at 1:57 am

Hypermilling is the hottest subject and people are getting more creative with more ways to save money but sometimes, is it worth it to go extreme in the search of ways to save fuel. Some of the tips are not worth doing at all because it put us in danger on the road.

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