You may have heard about hypermiling – a controversial way to save money at the pump – but what is it, does it work and can you do it?
With petrol prices rising most of us want to keep our driving costs down, so how can we do it? Meet the hypermilers – an online community dedicated to buying and using as little petrol as possible and beating the manufacturer stated “miles per gallon” figures.
Some of the techniques they share make a lot of sense, but others are more controversial and raise concerns over their safety – they include driving brake free, driving with your engine off and drafting.
Driving with your engine off is a hugely controversial tip shared by the community. Turning off your engine will clearly save fuel, and therefore money – but you cannot quickly accelerate away from any problems, you will lose your power steering and your braking could be compromised too. Is it worth the risk?
Drafting is another controversial method. Drafting can be described as being like a non-aggressive version of tailgating, and involves sitting close to the car in front, reducing the amount of energy your car uses to push the air in front of your car out of the way.
By sitting in the slipstream and taking advantage of the car in front of you expending its energy to move the air you could save as much as 40% of your fuel through using less energy to maintain your speed. Sounds good? Well there are some serious safety concerns here, your visibility is reduced and your reaction time is reduced if there is any sudden braking in front. So probably not worth it…
It is possible to significantly reduce your driving costs without taking the risks associated with the more controversial methods shared by the hypermilers. Here are our top tips that will keep you and other road users safe, save you £’s and are easy to do:
Keep it light
Take the roof rack off when you don’t need it and remove all unnecessary weight from your car – with less drag and/or weight to move the car will use less fuel. Also, don’t continually fill your car to the brim at the pump – fuel is heavy and your car will use additional fuel carrying the extra weight
Gentle on the gas
Apply less pressure with your feet – anticipate braking situations and the road ahead to prevent using excess fuel on sharp breaking or accelerating
Pump it up
Keep your tyres inflated to the manufacturers stated levels and boost your fuel efficiency by up to 3%
Watch the speedo
There is a reason that lorries travel at between 50-60mph on national speed limit roads – the most fuel-efficient speed is approximately 55mph
Get some fresh air
Unless you’re travelling over 40mph, open a window instead of using the air-con. Over 40mph the drag created by the open window negates the energy saving effects
The cost of this tip seems counterproductive, but tests have shown that keeping your car in tip-top shape can boost its efficiency by up to 10%