Friday, July 18, 2014

37.6 Miles Per Gallon!! (Hypermiling)

I'm down here in Louisiana driving to various places around the middle of the state. Given our line of work we always rent vehicles with four wheel drive or all wheel drive. Well, we rented a Nissan Rogue this time around. The car rental company reset the odometer, I think, and we have done a lot of driving, but I didn't have to fill up the tank today until we had covered 433 miles over two days. When I did fill up the tank it only took 11.5 gallons of fuel. That is a whopping 37.6 MPG!

A little background, I've driven maybe 100,000 miles in my life. It's a high estimate, but realistic. Many of those on the highway. Given my van gets like 22-23 miles per gallon and gas has cost $3-4 the last six years, we're looking at a minimum of about $13,000 in gas in my driving life. I like to imagine that I am a somewhat frugal, conservative person and my driving habits reflect my physics knowledge, in other words conservation of momentum and the high cost of acceleration. So I have learned to drive so that I get the best mileage. On this trip I am the only drive due to the insurance policy.

A few simple way to get better mileage:

  • Take weight out of the vehicle, example: most of the time I take the middle seat out of my van.
  • Pump up the tires, just watch out you don't over inflate them too much.
  • Turn down the air conditioning.
  • Accelerate slowly, don't race out of stop lights!
  • Coast instead of breaking, an extra 5 or 10 or 20 seconds per stop light or stop sign coasting will save more fuel.
  • Drive 55 miles per hour, which is really only convenient when the speed limit is 55, and it is in central Louisiana all over the place.
  • Drive on flat roads or downhill, and once again central Louisiana is very flat.
  • Fly around curves, because breaking a whole lot then speeding up again on a curve recommended only 10 mph below the speed limit is a drain on fuel. 
That's about all I can think of. Combined, assuming the trip odometer was at 0 when we started, and there was no way it could have been more than about 25, we still averaged way above the stated 33 mpg for a Nissan Rogue on the highway. I don't track my mileage normally, aside from weekly to know how much I drive per week. So I really have no idea if my hypermiling does much good in my daily life, but the last two days it managed to be incredible. Moral of the story is, I think, I have learned to do hypermiling. Achieving 37 mpg in a crossover, I didn't think I could do that. Of course, a 14% mileage improvement doesn't compare to people getting more than a 100% improvement in mileage

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