Joseph W. Jackson III/AP
"Hypermiler" Jerad Parish proudly holds
a gas can in Madison, Wis. Parish is
willing to sacrifice speed and comfort
to save fuel. (AP)

High Gas Prices? No Problem, Say Hypermilers

June 12, 2008 08:00 AM
by Cara McDonough
For some drivers, getting 40, 50 or even 60 miles per gallon is like a game, and they’re always trying to beat their own records.

30-Second Summary

Some say the practice started in the gas-rationing days of World War II, came back during the oil embargo of the 1970s, and is catching on again as fuel prices soar.

How does it work? Hypermilers—the term was coined by “King of the Hypermilers” Wayne Gerdes—say anyone can do it, no matter what kind of car they drive. The idea is that small changes in driving style, including turning off the engine at stop lights, eliminating hard acceleration and coasting to a stop, can improve fuel economy. [3]

But although some of their techniques make hypermilers safer drivers—they never go over the speed limit because that decreases gas mileage—others are controversial.

For example, the “pulse and glide” technique involves turning the engine off and coasting while driving. Critics say shutting the engine off means a driver can’t stop or steer effectively. Hypermilers, however, says risks are overstated, and the benefits can’t be beat.

“This technique alone dramatically increased my mileage from 38 mpg to 47 mpg on my first tank,” says Tim Fulton, who gets 55 mpg from his 1997 Toyota Paseo, a car the EPA rates at 29 mpg. “I was blown away.”

There are, however, many safe habits drivers can adopt to improve their gas mileage, including accelerating more slowly away from green lights and stopping more gradually for red lights. Using cruise control for highway driving also provides a major improvement.

Headline Link: ‘Hypermilers Push the Limits of Fuel Efficiency’

Background: What’s a hypermiler?

Related Topics: ‘The King of the Hypermilers,’ the dangers of hypermiling and how to save gas


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