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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-13-13, 03:57 PM   #1
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What is hypermiling?

I've seen the term "hypermiling" in a couple posts here recently. What is it? From the context, I think it has to do with driving a car in a more economical way?
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Old 12-13-13, 04:20 PM   #2
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It seems you can perhaps double your fuel efficiency at city driving speeds by using the engine in the most efficient way. While you would expect acceleration to be inefficient, it is not if you consider that the saved energy is greater than the extra fuel needed to speed up. Then, you need to coast to take advantage of the stored energy. For maximum efficiency, the engine is turned off during the coast phase (Seems like the restart would burn fuel, but evidently it's a win--if you don't lose your power steering or brakes, or lock the wheel by mistake and end up in a ditch).

Burn and coast, burn and coast... seems to be the short answer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypermiling

"...During the pulse (acceleration) phase of pulse and glide, the efficiency is near maximal due to the high torque and much of this energy is stored as kinetic energy of the moving vehicle. This efficiently-obtained kinetic energy is then used in the glide phase to overcome rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag. In other words, going between periods of very efficient acceleration and gliding gives an overall efficiency that is usually significantly higher than just cruising at a constant speed. Computer calculations have predicted that in rare cases (at low speeds where the torque required for cruising at steady speed is low) it's possible to double (or even triple) fuel economy.[28]

These two- or three-fold improvements in fuel economy are possible only at city driving speeds of say 25 or 35 miles/hour. This is because cruising (steady speed) at such low speeds is very inefficient since the torque needed is so low that the efficiency read on a BSFC map is very poor. Pulse and glide significantly improves this..."
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Old 12-13-13, 04:43 PM   #3
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It works better in undulating terrain. Careful use of the accelerator going uphill, and then putting the vehicle in neutral going downhill.

It is NEVER a good idea to turn off the engine, and I think, for most modern cars, it is impossible to turn off the engine with the ignition key while it is moving above certain speed (see relatively recent articles about stuck accelerators). It works better in manual (stick-shift/standard) vehicles because you have ultimate control over the gears and can use the clutch for instant re-engagement should the need to get out of trouble arise.

It's not a new technique. When I was motoring writer for a newspaper, I did a test drive of a new car that had a challenge of achieving the lowest fuel consumption among the participants -- an economy run, if you like. The difference between highest and lowest was something like 5mpg. This was for cars powered by 1.3-litre engines, so the difference was quite significant.

In fact, economy runs were part of the annual motoring calendar for many enthusiasts "back in the day" here in Australia. Mobil was promoter of one of the events. This was back in the 1960s and maybe early 1970s.
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Old 12-13-13, 07:05 PM   #4
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I only used a couple of techniques to keep my gas mileage higher when I owned a car. It is really tedious to employ all of those techniques all of the time. One might as well just ride a motorcycle or bicycle if fuel costs seem too high.

My favorite technique was to use my brake to slow the car far away from a light that turned red. I would just drop the speed to whatever seemed appropriate for the distance to the next light. This worked best at lights where I knew the timing. This way I would only slow the car ten to fifteen miles per hour and maintain that speed all the way to the light. When I arrived the light would change and I was already rolling at a good speed. This saved fuel because I wasn't going up to the light at regular speed and stopping. Starting from zero uses a lot more fuel.

I once ruined a tire by over inflating it. From then on I wouldn't do that.
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Old 12-13-13, 07:16 PM   #5
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I only used a couple of techniques to keep my gas mileage higher when I owned a car. It is really tedious to employ all of those techniques all of the time. One might as well just ride a motorcycle or bicycle if fuel costs seem too high.

My favorite technique was to use my brake to slow the car far away from a light that turned red. I would just drop the speed to whatever seemed appropriate for the distance to the next light. This worked best at lights where I knew the timing. This way I would only slow the car ten to fifteen miles per hour and maintain that speed all the way to the light. When I arrived the light would change and I was already rolling at a good speed. This saved fuel because I wasn't going up to the light at regular speed and stopping. Starting from zero uses a lot more fuel.

I once ruined a tire by over inflating it. From then on I wouldn't do that.
Yes, hard acceleration and braking are the killer in terms of fuel consumption. Careful judgment in acceleration and anticipating when to use the engine to slow down can be useful in increasing mileage.

Maintaining a good distance between you and the car in front in slow-moving traffic is quite beneficial to everyone, if they understand the technique. But I find the gap is usually filled by another impatient (young) driver who thinks the lane is moving faster than theirs. Their action of changing lanes actually slows the lane down again.
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Old 12-13-13, 07:49 PM   #6
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Hypermiling in a car is the same as when you bend down over the handlebars and try to get some "free" distance without pedaling...
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Old 12-13-13, 11:24 PM   #7
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It works better in undulating terrain. Careful use of the accelerator going uphill, and then putting the vehicle in neutral going downhill.

It is NEVER a good idea to turn off the engine, and I think, for most modern cars, it is impossible to turn off the engine with the ignition key while it is moving above certain speed (see relatively recent articles about stuck accelerators). It works better in manual (stick-shift/standard) vehicles because you have ultimate control over the gears and can use the clutch for instant re-engagement should the need to get out of trouble arise.

It's not a new technique. When I was motoring writer for a newspaper, I did a test drive of a new car that had a challenge of achieving the lowest fuel consumption among the participants -- an economy run, if you like. The difference between highest and lowest was something like 5mpg. This was for cars powered by 1.3-litre engines, so the difference was quite significant.

In fact, economy runs were part of the annual motoring calendar for many enthusiasts "back in the day" here in Australia. Mobil was promoter of one of the events. This was back in the 1960s and maybe early 1970s.
In the '60s and '70s, we had commercials for Shell gasoline stations that featured The Shell Answer Man. He regularly described what are now called hypermiling techniques, but he called them sensible driving that reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
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Old 12-13-13, 11:51 PM   #8
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Hypermiling is a term coined by Wayne Gerdes to describe driving to achieve the maximum distance driven for each drop of fuel burned. Wayne is legendary in his achievements and holds a few records for mpg.

The first step in hypermiling is known as "adjusting the nut behind the wheel". You re-learn how to drive for maximum efficiency. Hit the link for more http://ecomodder.com/forum/EM-hyperm...ecodriving.php

Hypermilers often modify their cars for improved aerodynamics and improved combustion and driveline efficiency.

I use both driving and modifications to beat EPA estimates. With my 5-speed Scion, I usually average mid 40's mpg and have gotten as high as 52 mpg. If I don't do any driving other than my commute, I will use a half gallon of gas in a week. I often go close to two months without refueling and never let my tank drop below a 1/4.

I started hypermiling just to see what was possible. It stuck and now is integral to every time I drive.

Realistically, you could apply many of the techniques to bicycling to conserve the fuel (calories) burned while riding.
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Old 12-14-13, 01:13 AM   #9
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Thanks, everybody. I knew I would get some good fast answers. Maybe they should teach this to new drivers to cut down on emissions.
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Old 12-14-13, 06:02 AM   #10
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My favorite technique was to use my brake to slow the car far away from a light that turned red. I would just drop the speed to whatever seemed appropriate for the distance to the next light. This worked best at lights where I knew the timing. This way I would only slow the car ten to fifteen miles per hour and maintain that speed all the way to the light. When I arrived the light would change and I was already rolling at a good speed. This saved fuel because I wasn't going up to the light at regular speed and stopping. Starting from zero uses a lot more fuel.
The only problem using these techniques are the cars behind you will start blowing the horn. No question, you will make the driver behind you insane driving at 10 mph per hour on a road to time the traffic light. When I was driving, it amazed me how cars would acclerate even though there was a stop sign 200 feet ahead. You really can't drive slow on todays roads because motorist drive like there's no tomorrow trying to maximize top speed in order to save time not fuel.
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Old 12-14-13, 06:48 AM   #11
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I tried hypermilling and it does not work...at least in the city. Everytime I took my foot off the gas to glide upto a light, someone jumps into the space I created resulting in me hitting my brakes even harder than I would have otherwise.
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Old 12-14-13, 08:07 AM   #12
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Yep, other drivers add to the challenge. I'm fortunate in working second shift that I do the brunt of my driving during off peak hours. I avoid agitating other drivers in dense traffic but as long as I am within lawful limits they are free to pass me. Most of the time, you would be hard pressed to know that I'm hypermiling when I'm driving in town. And it probably helps that I'm a natural born Clydesdale so that they think twice before picking a fight.

In all honesty, hypermilers are some of the safest drivers on the road. To get maximum MPG your car needs to be in top condition and you need to be acutely aware of your surroundings and traffic conditions. Engine off coasting has given hypermiling a bad rap, but most of us don't employ that technique out of common sense.
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Old 12-14-13, 10:10 AM   #13
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An extreme example of hypermiling might be to pull the car over and finish the trip by bike.
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Old 12-14-13, 02:14 PM   #14
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I knew a guy tangentially back in college who had an old car he was turning into a hypermilling machine. This was some years back, but he'd messed with the engine electronics for it to kind of auto-kick into neutral when it hit a certain RPM...or I could be misremembering. In any case, this was something he was testing out on back roads, and I left that school before I heard the final result.

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Old 12-14-13, 02:40 PM   #15
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An extreme example of hypermiling might be to pull the car over and finish the trip by bike.
That's going to be an unpopular suggestion on this forum.
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Old 12-14-13, 04:33 PM   #16
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That's going to be an unpopular suggestion on this forum.
Ironically.

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Old 12-15-13, 09:26 AM   #17
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The problem is that there's really two levels of hypermiling.

The first level is just efficient driving. Keeping speeds down (typically at the lower end of motorist speeds, but not below that), keeping the engine around optimal brake specific fuel consumption during acceleration (minimum fuel burned for the power generated, which usually means moderately high throttle and the RPMs around the torque peak, but it depends on the engine), avoiding unnecessary acceleration (which also means avoiding unnecessary deceleration), taking advantage of larger vehicles in front of you as wind blocks (gains can be found at quite far distances), ensuring proper vehicle operation and equipment condition, selection of routes that reduce fuel consumption, up to coasting in neutral or with the clutch depressed instead of in gear (although that's illegal in some states, so it borders on the second level).

The second level is exotic techniques to get the most out of an engine and car, and some of these are illegal and dangerous. Engine-off coasting, pulse-and-glide (basically, only use the engine if you're near the optimum BSFC, and otherwise shut it down and coast in neutral, pulsing around the target speed), very low speeds even on limited-access roads (below that of almost all other motorist traffic), following larger vehicles closely, that sort of thing.

Sometimes techniques from the first level don't fit into how motorist traffic is flowing, and using them in those cases pushes them into the second level. It could be argued that cycling on the roads is a form of the second level, due to the level of conflict that it presents with motorists.

And, driving like the second level will piss off motorists just as badly as cycling - more, in fact, because it's harder to pass a hypermiling car than it is a cyclist. See, the motorists that are complaining about cyclists on the roads don't really hate cyclists in particular. They hate anything that slows them down. Often, it's a cyclist, but it can also be a hypermiler, a tractor (in rural areas), or anything else in their way. The nasty one is that in some areas, driving the speed limit can fall into the second category because that's how fast the flow of traffic is.

Oh, and if you've ever been slowed down on a downhill by motorists, and grumbling about how you lost your momentum, while cycling... that's how a hypermiler thinks. Basically, hypermiling is like cycling in that a lot of it is about preservation of momentum.

Also, many hypermilers "ecomod" their cars - aerodynamic mods, weight reduction, engine modification to reduce fuel consumption (sometimes at the cost of nitrogen oxide emissions), gearing modifications (a lot harder on a car than on a bicycle), and such.

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Old 12-15-13, 11:27 AM   #18
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Hyper-miling was about saving money for me. Recently I compared the mileage of a vehicle that has options for different motors. One is a Flex Fuel motor that can run on E85 or gasoline. The other is a diesel. New diesel motors must add diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to cut down emissions. That stuff costs money. Which fuel is cheaper to use?

Diesel motors cost $4500 extra and their fuel costs more. The Flex Fuel motor is standard and doesn't cost more.

The vehicles using E85 get about 25% less miles per gallon than they would using gasoline. It seems that the people selling E85 have priced that fuel in such a way that the user doesn't save money. They pay less for the E85 but they need more of it so the cost difference is negligible. Personally I think that is a bad move because it doesn't give people a financial reason to use it.

E85 does have advantages in that it doesn't pollute very much. It has only 15% of the toxic output as a gasoline motor. Cleaner fuels also extend motor life. Motors that run on pure 100% alcohol can last three or more times as gasoline motors. That is where savings will come in for an E85 user.

Diesel motors cost more and their fuel costs more. The difference is the miles per gallon is a lot more. They also last about double the miles of a gasoline motor. The math I worked out showed that even with being forced to buy DEF a diesel motor in a light duty truck would begin saving the motorist money after 150,000 miles. If one takes into account that diesel motors last longer then that is another financial benefit for the user.

If I were going to be a car owner and a hyper-miler I would go for the diesel option if it were available. Diesel motors not only save money in the long run, they also save the energy needed to produce a new vehicle. This is because the one with the diesel motor will last for many more years than a gasoline powered vehicle. How much energy and pollution goes into making a new vehicle? That should be taken into account when thinking of overall pollution.

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Old 12-15-13, 12:00 PM   #19
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There's also the consideration that diesel engines tend to be underrated in EPA tests (especially the ones that use DEF instead of NOx traps, because the EPA cycle isn't long enough for the DEF engines to show their advantage in that regard), and gasoline engines tend to be fairly accurate.

The cost difference is due to the emissions control hardware that is mandatory for them to meet the EPA standards (although they're far better in some other emissions than is required), and gasoline engines not needing that hardware yet.

The downside is that the payoff takes even longer if you're car-light. And, they don't do short trips well at all (especially with the modern emissions controls), but if you're car-light, you probably don't do short trips with a car.
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Old 12-15-13, 05:21 PM   #20
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I guess I hypermile on my bike when I get real tired. There are many techniques to get more forward movement out of less pedaling effort. Pedal a few strokes in a harder gear and then coast as long as possible, coast down hills, avoid windy routes, etc.
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Old 12-16-13, 08:12 AM   #21
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I guess I hypermile on my bike when I get real tired. There are many techniques to get more forward movement out of less pedaling effort. Pedal a few strokes in a harder gear and then coast as long as possible, coast down hills, avoid windy routes, etc.
I think what we refer to as "hypermiling" in a car usually goes by the term "coasting" on a bike.

[although... guessing you can also coast in a car.]
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Old 12-16-13, 08:25 AM   #22
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As I have two prii hypermiling is an everyday thing for me.

In the Gen2 prius the electric motor will go until 42mph, then the ice (internal combustion motor) kicks in, but the traction battery has to have the juice or the ice kicks in anyway.
To hypermile is to go about 32mph just touching the gas and watching the mfd (multi function display), the display shows juice going from the traction battery or to the traction battery, but there's a tiny window, when just touching the throttle where the traction batter is neither giving or receiving on the display, so basically your coasting with just a touch of juice, true no ass gas or grass for free, but this is a way to go many miles using electric but the traction battery isn't draining in three miles (3 miles is all the traction battery will give you when it's full).

Drafting another car could be called hypermiling if one wished
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Old 12-16-13, 11:34 AM   #23
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Prius. The silent killer.

What the heck is a "traction battery"?

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Old 12-16-13, 12:02 PM   #24
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My old SAAB 96 was good for this .. V4 motor 4 stroke replaced the 2 stroke,
but the transmission remained, with it's freewheel bearing .

so coasting was as simple as taking your foot off the throttle.
EZ 30mpg with a simple carburator engine.
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Old 12-17-13, 08:40 AM   #25
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Prius. The silent killer.

What the heck is a "traction battery"?

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The battery that powers the drive wheels, as opposed to the 12 V accessory battery.
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