- Jan 8, 2009
I've been driving more conscientiously ever since I read the article on hypermiling, which I posted about in November of last year ("Some more stuff other people wrote")
I didn't quite take it to the extent of the guy profiled in the original article (he drives on the edge of the road to avoid the extra friction from the tire grooves, and knows exactly how far from home to coast to a stop exactly in his driveway without touching the brakes) but I did slow down, accelerate gently, shut the engine at long stop lights and coast down hills. There is even a 2.3 mile stretch of highway 13 (which I take on the way back from Bike Patrols) where I can put it in neutral, shut the engine, coast down one hill, up the next, back down, off the off ramp, around a tight curve, through a yield sign, back on to the freeway entrance for 580, off at the next exit, and down to MacArthur before starting it back up again.
In the past, on the motorcycle I have generally accelerated fast, just because its so easy, and so much fun, and because as hard as I drive on it, I've never gotten less than 50mpg. I stopped zipping about at 100mph+ after a couple accidents and a whole bunch of tickets, but I still would top 75 at times.
Since reading the article I kept the speed down between 50 and 55 on the highway, and stayed ducked down behind my big aftermarket windshield, out of the wind. It took a long time to find out the results, because it went so much farther on a full tank.
Where I used to average around 55mpg, on the most recent tank I got 70.2mpg, an increase of 28%.
In the truck I wasn't expecting to find a big difference. I can't as easily coast around since it uses loses both power brakes and power steering without the engine running. I was already driving at 55mph as it was, so reducing my speed to 50 didn't seem likely to have much effect. I already kept the windows up on the highway to reduce drag, and it doesn't have any AC to shut off.
Even so, from my usual 15-16mpg, it went up to 19.7 on the most recent tank, an increase of 25-30%.
Its hard to say how much its related to driving habits, because some days I am moving 3 tons of dirt, other days there may be a queen size boxspring sticking straight up into the wind, and others I am just moving a single 2-person love seat; but after almost a month and over 300 miles its likely to have balanced out.
So there you have it. In both the smallest most efficient vehicle you can find or a big old work truck that can haul several tons, you can save 25-30% on fuel by just making small changes to driving habits. If this gets out, it could just spell the death of the hybrid.