Good ol’ gas prices seem to be steadily on the rise again.
If you’re not in a position to get a more fuel-efficient car or change to public transportation, then new road habits could give your miles per gallon a boost. Enter “hypermiling.”
Hypermiling is a term and concept introduced shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when the price of oil spiked and people looked for a way to get more bang for their gas bill.
These 15 hypermiling techniques will slash fuel costs but won’t put drivers and passengers at risk.
1. Slow down. The U.S. Department of Energy says most vehicles get their best fuel economy at speeds between 40 and 55 miles per hour. Efficiency decreases rapidly at speeds over 60 miles per hour.
2. Check your tire pressure. Inflate tires to the maximum pressure on the tire’s sidewall. One less pound of tire pressure can lower fuel efficiency by 1.4 percent.
3. Don’t let your car idle. Most car engines require only seven seconds of gas to restart, so consider turning off your car at long red lights or train track intersections.
4. Maintain fluids and filters. Keeping your car properly maintained and tuned up is critical to fuel efficiency. Make sure you’re getting the proper amount of oil changes, new air filters, tire rotations and alignment.
5. Plan your errands. When making trips around town, start with the farthest destination to ensure that your car gets fully warmed up before you begin making a number of starts and stops.
6. Track miles per gallon. Calculate your gas mileage by resetting your trip odometer with every new full tank of gas. Divide the number of miles driven by the number of gallons it took to fill the tank.
7. De-clutter your car. Additional weight requires more energy and gas to transport, so move unnecessary things from your car.
8. Get rid of unused racks. If you’re not using your bike rack or luggage topper, remove them from your car. They create more drag and decrease fuel efficiency.
9. Go with the flow. Traveling at a constant speed with the flow of traffic is more aerodynamically efficient than going the same speed in isolation. Uniform traffic flows generate wind current that can benefit your fuel economy.
10. Time your tank’s refills. Plan to refuel your car during off-peak times to avoid idling in line.
11. Ride in the open lanes. On a multi-lane highway, choose the most open lane and give yourself enough space to avoid sudden braking and changes in speed. In a more urban setting, avoid bus lanes and lanes where cars frequently slow down to turn.
12. Keep sun and moon roof windows closed. At higher speeds, they create drag and reduce fuel efficiency.
13. Drive shoeless. This allows for tactile feedback from the car and for better handling of the pedals.
14. Avoid parallel parking. Pull in spots require less maneuvering and gas-burning.
15. Park toward the back and enjoy a walk. Choose the back of parking spots to avoid excessive circling in attempt to get as close to the building or destination as possible.
Critics contend that hypermiling can be dangerous, as drivers go to extremes to conserve momentum – such as taking two-wheel turns and running red lights. Safety should always be the number one priority on the road, so any steps toward getting more miles for the gallon should be implemented within reason.