Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hyper...smiling LOL

There's a geeky new craze hitting the highways, and it's called hypermiling. While others race to consume their rightful share of the world's remaining oil—because any gas not used in an SUV on its way to someplace important is just a waste—there are a bunch of guys (mostly) on the roads wearing pocket protectors and accelerating slowly, allowing a cushion of space to grow between themselves and the car in front of them, and chuckling ruefully at the unenlightened rubes in the other lanes who continue to convert their precious gasoline kilocalories into heat via the brakes, while the nempimaniacs themselves coast along smoothly on their own inertia, arriving at jams just as they magically dissolve.

I've long been a believer in the "don't stop" school of driving, trying to defuse highway volume congestion by maintaining a painfully slow crawl instead of closing every forward gap, then jerking to a stop. And when I recently took up my new driving commute, I did a little searching online and found some resources about conserving gas while behind the wheel.

Naturally, I donned my lab coat and goggles, got into the beater, and put some of these techniques into practice. And I've realized that hypermiling has been around for decades under another name: "Driving slowly."


7 comments:

wcs said...

Oh yes, I was a geezer before my time. Driving slowly. Ah-yep.

And it's funny, after you slow down, your stress level drops, you see things along the road, and you wonder why you were in such a hurry to begin with.

Slow food, slow travel, slow driving.

evenfurtherupstate said...

I read something recently about a hypermiler who was able to get something like 100 MPG out of his car, but he did crazy things like use no electronics or fans (while keeping the windows closed for aerodynamic reasons), turn the engine off, in traffic, to coast or even to "draft" behind trucks, and take turns at absurd speeds to avoid the loss of energy associated with braking. A bit excessive, perhaps, but the basic lesson is still applicable to everyone: a slight modification in the way you drive will save you gas (and thus money), will be better for the environment and probably lower your stress levels. Unless you slowly accelerate to a top speed of 40 MPH on the Major Deegan at rush hour, of course. . . .

Suzanne said...

Driving slowly? You're so progressive!

walkingfool said...

I had a friend in New Mexico who used a technique that helped give his car over 1,000 miles to the gallon. He just made a small modification to his front bumper -- he attached a donkey to it (or a "burro," as they call it way down in New Mexico) and ONOMATOPOEIA! -- instant gas savings!

Bill Braine said...

And I suppose you think burros don't use gas?

Amy H said...

I'm an unwilling hypermiler at the moment, since there are so many tractors on the road that one is forced to drive at a snail-like pace behind them. Instead of cursing their oversized treads, I will have to get into the hypermiler mindset and drive more zen.

Anonymous said...

Hypermiling is geeky, but it works!

I learned much from good guide.

H