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Save Gas by Maximizing Mileage via Hypermiling!





As we all know, gas for your vehicle isn’t cheap and we all want to save gas! Between the 2 vehicles that my wife and I own, we spend about $300/month on gas! As expensive as it is, there are ways to maximize the gas mileage of your vehicle. Here are some tips, listed in no particular order, that I have implemented over the years.

  1. Check your tire pressure and make sure it’s filled up to it’s recommended air pressure. Tires with reduced air pressure increases the friction, thus increasing gas mileage.
  2. Accelerate SLOWLY and maintain your speed. This is probably the most significant way to save gas. Think about it, Work(force)= Mass * Acceleration. If you decrease your acceleration, you’ll decrease the “work/force” that your car has to output.
  3. With that same formula, you should reduce the mass of your car. If you have some stuff in your trunk that’s weighing your car down, get rid of it! No, keep the spare tire. :)
  4. Reduce your braking. Braking is highly inefficient and should be minimized. Yes, you should use your brakes to stop when you NEED to, but how about coasting into those red lights instead of braking hard before the line? Also, keeping a good distance between you and the car in front of you should help avoid sudden stops.
  5. Drive slower. Combustion engines have higher efficiencies at different speeds. According to this site, gas mileage usually decreases significantly above 60mph or 90km/h.
  6. Maintain your vehicle. Regular oil/filter and air filter changes are essential!
  7. Reduce your IDLE time. You wouldn’t think that idling would waste a lot of gas, but you’re running your engine at 0 mpg.
  8. Plan your routes to avoid stop and go traffic.
  9. Buy a fuel efficient vehicle. Hybrids seem to be the hype these days. In my opinion though, I like to wait until technology proves itself. So I’m going to recommend the gasoline based Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla/Yaris. Here is a list of most and least fuel efficient cars around.

Here is a video by MotorWeek that discusses maximizing your gas mileage.

[wmv width="320" height="240"]http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/videos/fef_small_wide.wmv[/wmv]





10 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. Ryan

    You left one other great way to save on gas…take advantage of public transit and only own one vehicle if you are able to.

    My wife and I both had our own vehicles when we first got together, however after 2 years we quickly realized that probably 90% of the time we were in the same car, so the need for 2 vehicles was no longer necessary. At first it was hard and it took awhile to get used to only owning one vehicle, but we have been able to remain a one vehicle household now for 9 years. Even with 2 kids and living in the burbs we are still able to manage.

    I take public transit every day to work and wouldn’t have it any other way. Just by making this one sacrifice I am saving our family hundreds of dollars a year in gas, insurance, maintenance not to mention what we are doing for the environment.

    Perhaps one day we may need a second vehicle once our kids become more and more active, but when we do we will definitely looking for a Yaris type vehicle.

    Ryan

  2. Hey Ryan,

    That is a great point, public transit is definitely a huge money saver (and you get a tax credit). The reason why we own 2 cars is because my wife and I work in opposite ends of the city and our public transit system is among the worst in Canada.

    FT

  3. 3. canabiz

    Another tip that I would recommend is to bike/walk/roller-blade in the summer if it’s not too far

    Like going to the supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread or some milk, is it necessary to hop into your car ?

    It’s good for your wallett, it’s good for the environment (and your children in the future) and it’s good for your health. 2 thumbs up from me!

  4. 5. AndrewP

    technically, work=force*distance =)
    I’m ALL for the point of eliminating a source of fuel consumption as opposed to simply trying to minimize it.

    I bike to work when the weather allows me to. I used to take the bus (during the Canadian winter). My bus route, though, takes a lot longer than driving – it’s a 45 minute savings when I drive, which is too big an opportunity cost to turn my back on. =\

  5. AndrewP is right: work = force * distance. Also, force = mass * acceleration. So work = mass * acceleration * distance. So decreasing any of those three things will decrease the work. However, cruising at zero acceleration doesn’t equate to zero work unless you’re in a perfectly frictionless world.

    One reason higher speeds are less fuel-effiicient, apart from engine dynamics, is that resistance in a fluid has a steep non-linear increase with velocity.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_(physics):

    “Note that the power needed to push an object through a fluid increases as the cube of the velocity. A car cruising on a highway at 50 mph (80 km/h) may require only 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) to overcome air drag, but that same car at 100 mph (160 km/h) requires 80 hp (60 kW). With a doubling of speed the drag (force) quadruples per the formula. Exerting four times the force over a fixed distance produces four times as much work. At twice the speed the work (resulting in displacement over a fixed distance) is done twice as fast. Since power is the rate of doing work, four times the work done in half the time requires eight times the power.”

    More techniques are detailed here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy-maximizing_behaviors

  6. 9. steve

    Technically, this isn’t maximizing mileage, it’s minimizing usage:

    Firstly, I have calculated how much it costs me per mile in my car and use that figure to figure out the gas cost and decide if a trip is worth it to me. Since my 12 mile round trip shopping trip costs $1.60in gas, (13.3 cents per mile), I realized I wasn’t saving any money by driving out there to get the lower prices unless I bought enough to compensate for the gas cost. That’s when I hit upon going every 3 months or so.

    This means I cut down on trips to the store. In most cases, I shop my weekly shop on the way home from work and do it on my bike.

    I have gotten the “shopping list religion”. I keep my pantry stocked with a 3 month supply of nonperishable essentials, and shop only once a week for vegetables, fruit and milk. If I run out of something during the week, I put it on the list and I make do without it until the next week. ( i’m not going to die from lack of milk in 4 days). I cook out of the pantry and once a week or so go into it and pick out one or two items that are getting old to use before they go bad. I keep a list on the fridge of “stuff to eat next” so I don’t let it go to waste.

    Once every three months or so I make a trip to some stores that are more out-of the way (ten miles round trip) in order to stock up on certain items that are cheaper there. So I build up a list for them as I see I am running out of things, then go when there’s a decent sized list, and plan to buy a 3 to 6 month supply of those things. Although I usually use my car for this trip, this next time I am planning on riding my bike. Since I’m planning ahead, I might as well. Since I won’t be buying that much, I won’t even bother with my bike trailer (I can fit at least 3 bags of stuff on my rear baskets and racks).

    The shopping cart looks a little weird on these trips, i.e,: all it has is 3 packs (240 bags)of irish breakfast tea, 10 pounds of chocolate, and a pound of coffee (might as well while I’m there).

    I probably save the minor amount of $15 over my regular supermarket prices on my bulk buys of chocolate and tea at Trader Joe’s; some people would say, “why bother”, but to me it’s just as easy to plan ahead and keep the $15 I save for myself (actually, it’s easier and more satisfying). And if I refrain from spending another $1.60 on gas, so much the better. And I spend less time shopping–actually, next to no time shopping, compared to my former habits.

    I actually enjoy shopping a lot, and now that I do it rather infrequently the rarity of the experience makes it more fun and different to be out in the shop. But I’m very focused about it. It actually seems like something of an alien land when I’m at, say, Trader Joe’s or the mall, as I’m there so infrequently these days.

    Going to the mall is a 30 mile round trip that costs $4 in gas; now that I’m conscious of that cost, I have decided that it’s not worth it and so I just make a list of things to buy on my next trip, which is generally once every 6 to 12 months.
    Right now, all I need at the mall is 2 pairs of jeans. That can wait for six months or more, because I already have the 2 pairs I am using this year. I will be buying jeans for 2009-2010. I went through my closets and found that I will need no other items of clothing for the next 12 months at least.

    I think at this point I’ve pretty much mastered frugality and economy and I am looking to increase my income, as that’s where the bigger fish lie. I intend to keep my current good spending habits that I’ve worked to develop, increase my income, and put away money to start my own business and (later) retire.

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