With recent higher gas prices, many drivers are now working on ways to reduce the amount of gasoline they use in their cars.
The present gas situation is not as bad as it was back in the 1970's when people really panicked Remember men and women fist-fighting at the pumps! I think one reason this has not occurred is that the recent recession has temporarily reduced gas demand.
Gas Price Increases Certain to Continue in the Long Run. Although gas prices have temporarily declined in the past year, it appears certain that, over the long run, gas prices will rise. Simply speaking, the world is beginning to run short of oil and alternative energy sources are a long way from being perfected enough to replace significant amounts of oil. Folks, peak oil will arrive in a few years and we had better get used to it! And since the number of oil fields left to be discovered is dwindling, we need to use our remaining oil & fuel as efficiently as possible while we work to get alternative energy sources developed.
Hypermiling - Definition. Wikipedia defines hypermiling as drivers exceeding the U.S. EPA estimated fuel efficiency on their vehicles by modifying their driving habits. And some drivers have become very good at hypermiling without causing safety problems. Others have become very good at hypermiling but have adopted unsafe driving habits that make them a threat to the public.
Lets discuss a few of good and bad hypermiling techniques and other methods of saving on gas usuage:
1. Drafting. This is the most obnoxious and unsafe hypermiling technique used. Another term for it is "close tailgaiting." I'm sure that drafting will save on miles per gallon but the tailgater endangers the life of the occupants of his car and the occupants of the car they are tailgating.
Nothing is more frightening than to look in the rear view mirror and see a large pickup bearing down on your rear (with the driver no doubt busy talking on his cell phone). There have been a number of instances in the New Orleans area where drivers have had to run red lights rather than allow a tailgating truck to slam into them.
Please don't draft. Leave that technique for the auto race track.
2. Tire Inflation. Now, lets go over a "good" hypermiling technique....that of proper tire inflation. Notice: I said proper tire inflation ....not overinflated ...and not underinflated. My family is very guilt of driving with tires underinflated.
Sometimes I find all four tires on a car underinflated, e.g., of the four 34 psig rated tires, one might have a pressure as low as 25 psig and two others might be at the 27 or 28 psig level. I recently bought a small compressor since service station compressor hosing is often defective and the cost to "air up" might be as much as a dollar. My compressor should pay for itself in a year or so.
In regards to overinflation of tires, there is little doubt that better gas mileage will be achieved but overinflation makes for a slightly bumpy ride and may result (debatable) in poorer traction. This could cause problems particularly in wet driving conditions.
I recommend inflation at the recommended tire pressure level.
3. Drive at Speed Limit. The experts recommend that one drives at the speed limit or slightly under the speed limit. This is a big gas saver. It saves on speed tickets, also.
4. Drive at a steady speed. It is incredible how some drivers are either accelerating or hitting the brakes. Stop and go! Stop and go! What a gas burner! Most of us old timers do pretty well with steady-mode driving but many of the young drivers don't.
5. Use Cruise Control. I'm guilty here. I don't think I have ever used my cruise control. However, most of my driving is in the city or surburbs or in stop and go heavy traffic (commuting) so I don't think this would make much difference in gas mileage for me.
6. Discard Excess Weight. This is a pretty obvious recommendation. Don't carry 200 pounds of junk in the trunk. ( I once carried around several hundred pounds of brick in my Jeep Cherokee for several weeks - just waiting to drop them off at my daughter's house) Also, if you are very obese, try losing a few tens of pounds. Extra weight requires extra gas.
7. Times of Day to Drive. A big gas (and time) saver. Drive when other drivers are at work, etc. I live in a New Orleans suburb and have to cross the Mississippi River bridge to get to the business district. I've learned that I have to cross in the morning before 7:00 AM or after 9:00 AM or I line up behind work commuters or behind folks taking their kids to the many private and parochial schools in the area. In the afternoon, don't cross the bridge between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM or you have to line up behind all the work & school commuters coming home. They have little choice in their schedule. You do!
8. Carpooling to Work. You can save an incredible amount of gas by carpooling to work. That said, I would not carpool even if it saved me $300 per month. I have done a lot of carpooling in the past and have always been involved in one argument after another with at least one on the other members of the carpool. Politics is the usual subject we argue about but also just about any other subject that comes up. On several occasions, we have almost come to blows over a petty argument. Hopefully, most of you will be more mature than me and my carpool. If so, go for it.
9. Public Transportation. Taking public transportation is another way to save lots of gas money. My problem at work is that the plants I have worked at are always located outside the city and public transportation to them is poor. But, if you work in the city or, if you have good public transportation, go for it.
Riding on the bus or subway is a good way to meet folks (your future girl friend or boy friend!) in addition to saving money. And, even if taking public transportation to work is inefficient, you can often use it for weekend shopping.
10. Buy a Fuel-Efficient Car. I shouldn't be talking! Until recently, I drove a 96' Jeep Cherokee. I love the car (its great if you have a bad back) but the gas mileage was lousy
1. Germany In World War 2. The German side of World War 2. Did Germany have a chance of winning?
The driving and hypermiling tips presented offer a few tips for beating the gas-price crisis. I've avoided recommended the many unsafe tricks, e.g., drafting, that endanger yourself and other drivers. Also, I've discussed some of the safe tricks that many drivers can use but which are inappropriate for me, e.g., carpooling.