Hypermiling is a popular—though sometimes controversial—topic, with MPG marathon events and online hypermiler communities hell-bent on beating their car manufacturers’ stated ‘miles per gallon’ figures by as much as possible.
Popularised in the United States in the early 2000s when petrol prices soared, many drivers bought more efficient hybrid cars and tried to make them even more efficient by using driving techniques to use less fuel.
Hypermiling is a range of different techniques designed to increase the number of miles you get per litre of fuel and isn’t just for fuel-economy fanatics—with high UK petrol prices, all drivers can enjoy learning about how to maximise their vehicle’s fuel economy and reduce pollution.
Fast and furious
While hypermiling aficionados are keen to stress that safety is at the heart of their strategies, this fuel-saving practise can involve more dubious methods.
‘Drafting’ is the main one — which involves driving close to the car in front. This originated from NASCAR racing and because cars use a large amount of energy pushing the air in front out of the way, if another car does this for you, you need a lot less petrol to keep to the same speed. At least that’s the idea.
Some sources claim drafting can save as much as 40% in consumption, but conflicting information exists about this and, even if this were true, the reduction in visibility and reaction time—if the car in front slams on the brakes—could cost motorists more than petrol.
Coasting is another questionable hypermiling method and extreme hypermilers put their cars into neutral to save fuel, by letting the engine idle while driving downhill.
There are reports of other fanatics turning the car off while driving to save fuel (a technique known as Forced Auto Stop, or FAS). FAS can be dangerous because you could also lose your power steering and risk engaging the steering lock.
Responsible hypermilers don’t suggest FAS or drafting and say motorists can save just as much fuel by keeping a safe distance from other vehicles and anticipating events by looking as far up the road as possible.
Optimise your speed
The common belief is that speeding up fast is bad for fuel-efficiency, which is what we thought until we read how Dutch and Swedish research has found this not to be true.
Dr Mark S. Dougherty, a computer science professor at Dalarna University in Borlange, Sweden, said:
“It’s not commonly understood by people who drive.
”They think that the way to get best fuel economy is to accelerate very gently, but that proves not to be the case. The best thing is to accelerate briskly and shift.
“Don’t give it everything the car has, but push down when you’re going to shift, using maybe two-thirds of the available power, and change through the gears relatively quickly.”
Dr Dougherty added: “The main thing is to anticipate better when you are going to need to stop. Then you should take your foot off the accelerator and use air resistance and friction to help slow the car.”
In a hypermiling feat, British racing driver and expert car tester, Rebecca Jackson—together with motoring journalist Andrew Frankel — took on a challenge to drive south from the Netherlands through as many countries as possible before they ran out of fuel.
Ms Jackson said: “We tried not to use the brakes as much by easing off the throttle to reduce speed. If you can keep moving slowly rather than stopping in traffic that’s good, but you do have to be conscious of not being a pain to other drivers by leaving too much of a gap behind the car in front.”
Learn from the enthusiasts
A hypermiler will start by deciding whether they even need to drive—if they can walk, drive, or use the bus instead of making a five-minute drive, they will. If they need to drive, they will plan for the most direct route that also needs the least amount of acceleration and braking. They will also try to drive when traffic is less busy. Hypermiling is all about maintaining momentum, and the more you brake and speed up at hills or in heavy traffic, the less efficient your driving is. When heading to a city centre, using the local park and ride helps to save fuel. Many people even carry a folding bike in their car so they can park out of town and cycle the rest of the way.
When making several stops, hypermiling fans try to plan things to make their furthest destination their first stop, and then make the rest of the stops on their way back. Engines don’t run at their best until they are warm, so making the longest drive first increases fuel efficiency.
‘Pulse and glide’ is a new driving technique used in modern fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles like the Prius, which shut off the engine when you’re freewheeling to save petrol. Hypermilers use it to save fuel and increase mileage in a big way. The technique is best for when fewer vehicles are on the road.
The strategies for hypermiling are vast and vary depending on whether you’re driving a petrol or diesel powered car versus a hybrid versus a plug-in hybrid or a pure electric powered vehicle, but for more ways to get the most mpg, look at The Ecomodder.com forum for tips on hypermiling.
What’s your opinion on hypermiling? Are you already using any of these techniques? Do you think the more extreme techniques are dangerous or savvy? Tell us in the comments.
Ok… so how does the motorist save money when it comes to driving.
I’m a qualified and approved City & Guilds vehicle tech and an advanced driver with over 34 years driving experience. I’ve driven all types of vehicle over the years and owned prestige vehicles such as a Lexus. I currently drive a late 12 plate MPV with a 2.O L turbo diesel.
I use technology in two forms… electronic and science and these combined have boosted my tank mileage from 325 to 645 miles and averaging 60-75mpg per journey*
Technology… even on a brand new car you can make savings! I use a ‘tuning box’. I can adjust the one I have using Bluetooth. It remaps the engine without making it permanent. The tuning box manufacturer sets it up according to your vehicle manufacturer’s spec and then modifies the ecu engine management output and performance by increasing the BHP…. so I have the additional boost and reduced turbo lag etc whilst running the engine at optimum speed which I found it to be 58 mph.
Redex – quite simply improving engine combustion. Keeping emissions optimum whilst maintaining regular regeneration of the Cat .. Think about it. What does ‘average joe’ buy fuel wise? Supermarket brands? Do they have additives in as claimed by other leading brands?
Nanotechnology – Again, you only learn by research. So I put two vehicles to the test. Mine and another – petrol 1.2 litre withou technology assistant. Difference. The 1.2 has seen between 4 (urban) and 7/8 mpg increase on the motorway. Time to do it? Just after your annual service.
What does nanotechnology do? Reduce co efficient friction. Engine heats up quicker and the hotter the engine, the better economy and responds quicker . Unlike oil, it doesn’t drain but places a microscopic film layer coating which reduces wear and rear in the piston cylinders.
Next I’ll be adding the coolant version as it claims to reduce fuel bills.
I bought the oil treatment off eBay for £19 per sachet. Similar price for the collant additive and would recommend anyone to do their research ..
Ok. So I spent a fair few quid to get it right but literally every 3/400 miles depending on the wind strength* over 4 x 95 mile journeys is one hell of a saving! .. £45.50 @£120.7 per litre or 645**
* heading into strong wind reduces mpg
** Summer 2018
Whilst what I have written a review and been informative. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damage to any readers vehicles through their actions. I
I did my homework weighed up the risks. What worked for me may not work for you. Save money and be more economical… take your foot off the gas but by all means, make safe and efficient progress. Accelerate to overtake and plan your journey to be economical rather than having a fuel tanker following you everywhere..
This is far safer than the article of hypermilling. Remember.. you hit the guy from behind, you are automatically at fault. So, car potentially written off, points on your licence, insurance premium increase and what if some dies. One split second or a wet and greasy road and it could change everyone’s life. Hand on heart, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
AS A PROFESSIONAL DRIVER(NOW RETIRED) I USED THE SAME TECHNIQUES AS YOU TO GET THE BEST ECONOMY FROM MY MPV USING FUEL CONSUMPTION RATE METER TO GAUGE THE BEST SPEED AND ACCELERATION RATE.
Can you gauge how to turn your caps lock off?
No need to be sarcastic, try to be helpful instead.
Got a sense of humour by-pass?
No, I don’t have a sense of humour bypass, far from it according to people who know me.
I just don’t think humiliating people on a forum is funny. It stops some people who could have useful contributions to make on a particular topic from posting. I think it is nicer to encourage people and help rather than making fun of them. Humiliating someone is a form of bullying. We do not need that on this forum.
well said John,
I guess i’ll be the next to get burned but I agree 100% with everything you said and hope it makes for a better web experience for all users.
Actually, if Harry turned off his caps lock there would have been no need for anyone to be sarcastic or to be suffering from a humour by-pass.
LOL and hes retired hasn’t even lean’t not to shout – had plenty of time
Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit
Only to those that haven’t the wit to use it.
Not ni e maybe he has problens with his eyes and alwsys uses caps.
Sarcastic young troll. And I am NOT someone who EVER leaves messages like this. You just need to address the subject in hand, grow up and learn to be polite. As a great grandparent, I am DELIGHTED you are NOT one of mine! Happy New Year to you.
Friendly advice, using capitals for every word is considered by some users to be classed as shouting. Doesn’t bother me, but there are people who just love to get off the topic and try to score points off you. Don’t let it put you off making comments, you make a good point about fuel saving.
I bet you’re a barrel of laughs down the pub, lol.
Sounds like you enjoy a drink when you are driving, don’t fall in the barrel.
I AGREE JOHN DOES NOT MATTER A JOT RE CAPS LOCK . .. YOUR A LONG TIME DEAD . DO WHATEVER MAKES YOU COMFORTABLE IN THIS LIFE ….PERSONALLY I CANT SEE WELL SO CAPS LOCK HELPS ME TO SEE MY ERRORS IN SPELLING ……….SHOUTED FROM THE MOON CAROLINE
I do my variant on hypermiling and find it does make a noticeable difference to fuel consumption – forget the stuff about driving close to car in front to reduce drag. I simply look ahead and anticipate with the aim of minimising use of brakes and never having to stop for traffic lights, roundabouts etc. I do wish manufacturers would fit free wheel hubs as that would make a difference too.
The advanced driver’s phrase -planning to stop, hoping to go-is a good starter for drivers interested in fuel saving. Maximise safety margins around the vehicle when possible, and look, well ahead, taking in the full picture. The correct speed of approach to hazards enables better assessment, and often a safer and smoother passage.
To me, this costs nothing, does not involve changing anything on the vehicle, but changes the driver instead. The hidden advantage is that the driver will become more pro-active to the driving task, instead of reactive – sometimes sudden – which sadly we see too often. I am an experienced advanced driving examiner, and it works for me.
But you should not crawl up to the tail end of the queue or the traffic lights, that wastes fuel and means the light change later as it is misled into thinking there is less traffic.
I’m absolutely with you on this one Dave. Far too many (as in most) drivers do not make anywhere near enough observations and forward planning. This often includes even so called professional drivers. A little bit more thought into how we drive makes a massive difference to traffic flow, fuel consumption and so on.
Rover cars all used to have a free-wheel built into the transmission, with a big handle on the dash marked “Fixed” and “Free”. You could only change it when you were stopped or had taken up the drive, to avoid a sudden jerk that locked the rear wheels — somewhat like a synchromesh gearbox.
Free wheel hubs are never going to work. How do you reverse? Engine braking is also a whole lot better than riding the brakes all the way down a long hill.
My rover 100 had that.
Never used I tho. 2 and 6 a gallon !
Freewheeling is illegal.
Planning ahead is the best strategy though.
Not sure it can be anymore. Audi/VW DSG’s freewheel as a standard feature since 2014 in ECO mode straight from the factory.
Proper freewheeling is illegal but how they would catch you I don’t know but years ago there was a car the Saab 96 that had a gear like the one on a bicycle so you could freewheel that way and remain in gear
Relying on technology to do the driving for you reduces driver awareness and makes you a worse driver.
Agree, especially the nanotechnology, my vehicles are always secondhand n a few miles on clock, I always add zx1 after changing oil n filters, a micro lube developed for oil drilling, as you state coats the internal parts, I get a good fuel consumtion and engine rus smoother, some will say not needed as a good quality oil does job etc, this is micro lube tech, different completely, each to his own, also regular filter changes and making sure car is tuned and running spot on, tyre inflations correct, roof rack bars removed, and common sense driving, ( a few on here state really gd driving points )
my personal opinion .. we help each other : )
You are not automatically at fault if it can be proved the car in front stopped for no good reason. Such as “crash for cash”
Guy: proving that the driver in front stopped for no good reason is almost impossible, even with forward-facing video cameras. That driver only needs to declare that he braked to avoid hitting an animal (such as a fox) in the road and he/she is bullet-proof.
But these people just cut across in front of you even when u have left a safe breaking distance, which a dashcam would show !
Sounds very informative and useful information. But fuel consumption apart I think most people lose the most money on vehicle depreciation which never seems to be taken into consideration. I still run my Volvo 940 estate 1992 model year which now has 276,000 mile on it. I have owned it for 19 years. Okay, I change the oil and filters every 5000/7000 miles and it uses no oil between changes. It is easy to service, changing timing belts etc and the parts are cheap.It has no rust on it and driven at 75/80 on a motorway provides about 34/36 mpg. Just my personal choice, what other people decide to is their choice . I just like servicing my old Volvo and keeping it running.
75/80 mph is illegal for a start !
I love the disclaimers. Would anyone realy sue the writer if that person became unstuck because he followed the advice therein?
You essentially state exactly the same “common-sense” I was taught by my father (a professional driver) when I learnt to drive c1980 — try to pre-empt events and as you say minimise use of brake pedal, concentrate on other traffic and NOT be distracted by in-car stuff like radio, drinking coffee, and nowadays sat-navs (I don’t use them, sadly most young drivers rely on them totally so can’t concentrate on their driving). As a mechanical engineer who’s also done my research all my life I’d argue additives like Redex may help sometimes, in worn OLD engines, but for most cars far better to use good quality engine oil changed regularly, I use fully synthetic oil bought when on promotion say £20 a service, hence its a fraction of the cost of fuel yet essential for good fuel economy, and cheaper than using additives too which often negate good engine oils. Most additives have been proven over and over to be a con. And as for your nanotech “research” , twixt apparently 2 different vehicles, which therefore is not a true comparison, unless this was done on 100% identical controlled conditions (identical vehicle on identical road surface and route and weather), that is not “research”. I humbly suggest your perceived marginal mpg improvements are probably purely placebo effect, plus of course the inevitable differences between your test vehicles. Far better off investing in good quality tyres with proven low rolling resistance and maintaining them at correct air pressure, again buy wisely and top performers like the Contis I use aren’t much dearer than the “cheap” rubbish from (avoid at all costs) Kwik-Fit. I’m amazed you don’t even mention this key factor. Agree with yr last paragraph tho. Stay safe but maybe check your “research” before you try and lecture others, esp as let’s face it all of us reading this probably know the basics anyway – it’s the other 99.9% of drivers who couldn’t care less that we need to be worried about..
ZX1 as mentioned above seems to make a difference for me. Just add a little to the oil filler cap…
What additive (name) did you buy? I drive a Citroen 1.4 tDi. I am retired and every penny counts. I have managed to get through last two MOTs with Redex added, but unsure about this year. I have 80000 miles on the clock. The car is 9 years old.
I am very unsure about the next MOT in about 5 months with the new regulations! Q
Anonymous, always worry when someone doesn’t have the courage to put their name.
I like you have driven vehicles of all different kinds over the years and strived to get the best mileage, when I was young I fitted a vacuum gauge to my little Bellett and found if I drove using the vacuum gauge my miles to gallon shot up from sub 30 to 45 to 50/gln.
Your analysis is very compelling however I’m not bagging diesel or petrol vehicles are horses for courses if an ICE vehicle suits you I’m all for it.
If you want to save money and fuel and IF a BEV is suitable change to an electric car.
Just based on your figures above
£45.50 in my Nissan Leaf I can get 1,820miles on that amount.
Again I’m just stating a fact, saving fuel and saving money.
Also No Emissions, no C02 and most of all no N02 which is detrimental to the health what price do we put on that.?
It’s amazing how many people think electric vehicles are emission free. The electricity you use does not come from nowhere (although it’s better if it comes from renewable sources I would agree).
Yes BEVs are free of emissions they don’t have a tailpipe! Any vehicle that has a tailpipe from an internal combustion engine has emissions even if they are classified as clean.
I’m a client of Ecotricity 100% renewable, my Nissan Leaf is agnostic it doesn’t care we’re the electricity comes from, coal fired power stations are on the decline in this country and a very small % of electricity is generated by coal, and coal fired power station are on the schedule to be closed over the next few years. Check this video out.
Easy way to save fuel. Slow down. Drive as if you have slippers on instead of divers boots. If your car is fitted with an ‘economy’ gauge/meter use it!. Freewheeling is loss of control. Engine stops, brake assist stops?
My 3yr old Kia Rio (petrol) usually averages a day-to-day 42mpg. Driving down to the coast last year, I had a fairly clear run and kept to a steady 60–65 most of the way (100+ Miles). The result – 62 mpg!! Careful, considerate driving is safer and cheaper!
Couldn’t agree more Vicki. I run a 2.0ltr Mazda 6 diesel estate as my general work hack but on decent motorway runs regularly get 60+ mpg simply by sensible driving and by this I don’t mean sat at 50mph as some highly frustrating (and dangerous) drivers do. This behaviour merely slows everyone else down and creates more inefficient driving as trucks, coaches and the likes have to slow down for these folk, pull out to overtake which then slows everyone else only for them all to have to pick up speed again. Keep up the great driving.
Reminds me of the Mobil Economy runs of the 1950s/60s. They achieved very respectable results given the tech. secs of the cars of that period.
driving to close is the last think you should do not smart at all
I use a Torque Pro Elm 327 dongle plugged into the diagnostic port and linked to an android Smartphone, which I have set up to display instantaneous and average fuel consumption. I was always taught to get in the highest gear possible as soon as possible – WRONG! It seems wrong, but it is more fuel efficient to drive at 30mph in 3rd gear at 2000rpm than in 4th gear. In 3rd gear you hardly need to touch the accelerator to make it move, whereas in 4th gear it needs more – this is the crunch, its all about your right foot and the position of the accelerator pedal – this controls the amount of fuel your engine consumes.
If you’re driving along a level, or slightly downhill road, lift your foot on the pedal – it’s amazing how much you can do this before the vehicle slows down – find the point that just allows you to keep going. If you’re in no rush, driving at 50 or even 60mph uses a lot less fuel than 70.
Plan your route, if you can avoid uphills which consume lots of fuel. If you cannot the don’t charge up the hill with your foot flat to the floor, choose a speed and gear that will allow the minimum of accelerator use.
I agree with a previous comment – it is far better to accelerator swiftly to get to your running speed that to try and do it gently.
When I goy my latest van it was really poor on fuel consumption doing 28mpg around town and 32mpg on a run, far less than the manufacturers specs. Using these techniques I now get 32mpg around town and 40mpg on a run. I have had 48mpg travelling at 50 on a motorway.
Old fred. I said about driving in 3rd gear months ago in a thread, how easy it was to slow without braking an pull away smoothly and get better fuel economy. Got bout 10 thumps down for some reason. You have found the same works for you. Also don’t drive up to red traffic lights or a que, lift your foot at first sight an roll on when they change, the wife is a bugger for this drive up than stand car on it’s nose. I drive hgv so smooth is best for time and fuel economy.
yes, Shed, 3rd in a 30 limit is recommendation by advanced driving organisations and ADIs. In addition to other effects, speed management / control is improved whilst in 3rd gear and is instrumental in helping to avoid going over the 30 limit. Speed awareness courses give the same advice.
These days of 6 gears to a car when for normal driving 5 is enough, like you my wife insists 50 in 5th ought to be in 6th but then I say the engine won’t decelerate the car 6th, gives a slight freewheel effect it, just keeps going
I drive with a big enough gap to the vehicle in front so that i can drive smoothly and make my own decisions. Basically if you have to brake because the vehicle in front has, you’re too close
Excellent comment, ease and squeeze with the accelerator is much better than relying on the brake.
That’s true, although you should indicate any significant reduction in speed by touching the brake pedal to turn the lights on.
Trouble with that solution is that some idiots will then try to drive into the gap, especially if queueing!
The recommendations appear to apply for manually changing gear not for automatics!
They apply to both auto and manual vehicles as regards to driver behaviour…
The recommendations appear to apply mostly for manual gear changes but not for automatic gear changes.
Your automatic box is probably better at this stuff than most drivers ever learn to be. It can have smart rules programmed in, including learning from driver behaviour and having alternative modes. Even 1960s autos adjusted change points depending on torque, speed, gradient, towing load, and throttle position.
Autos almost always have lower official MPG figures than the same car with a manual box though.
The best and easiest way ton save money on FUEL is to stop using you car foe EVERY journey and use public transport instead There is a way of getting to a bus stop ,tram stop or railway station it is called WALKING which many car driver seem to have forgotten all about
I wasn’t aware this conversation was about alternatives? Thought it was about getting the best mpg poss. Public transport is great…. if you live in an area where its available. Me, I’m in the country with nothing but a bus stop approx. 2 miles away with no where to park to bring back my shopping. Therefore I need articles like this to get more bang for my buck…..literally!
To be fair on bishbut the article does talk about hypermilers avoiding travelling and taking alternatives…but then I agree with you that has absolutely nothing to do with hypermiling! As usual the article is poorly written.
Some places have 2 buses a week and they are both on the same day unlike other places every 7 minutes or so through out the day and there are no trams and the railway station there is a choice of 4 and they are all about 20 miles away and a bike through country lanes is not the ideal transport to get you to work in a reasonable condition
The SEAT Alhambra auto has a coasting option or freewheeling which activates whenever you take your foot off the accelerator pedal. The reduction in fuel consumption is very noticeable when used as part of your hypermiling techiques. The Skoda Superb auto has the same option so the same or similar VW gearbox must be used. I drive with it switched on all the time.
Hybrid cars get more mpg than ordinary cars. That’s a new one, so carrying all that extra weight around and converting energy from one form to another doesn’t cost anything?
The point is that any internal combustion engine is designed for optimum economy at a specific power output (usually about 70% of maximum power). Above 70% demand there is insufficient time in the power stroke to release all the gas expansion possible. Below 70% demand the amount of air/fuel mix (restricted by the throttle) does not reach the optimal compression ratio. (Incidentally, that also means that driving a big car slowly does not improve MPG.)
Using a hybrid (fuel + electric storage) means that the engine can be much smaller for the same performance, because at maximum demand both power sources are available. Then the recharge cycle can use the fuel engine at its optimum level, storing the excess output again. It can also use electric braking, recovering the kinetic energy instead of throwing it away as heat in the discs.
I hate the electric technology, mainly because mining Lithium is a filthy business that lays waste huge areas of land in South America. But the theory is correct — adding electric storage to a petrol engine can raise its overall heat efficiency from 30% to 65%. Some of the extra weight is offset by the smaller engine and smaller fuel tank possible.
The big polluter is cobalt from Dr Congo now and prices have tripled.
The best efficiency for an ice is to have the throttle fully open so there is no dragging air past partly open valves. That’s how diesels used to work. If you can manage that you’re on a winner and you can use a smaller engine. Trouble is that you end up with a depleted battery and an underpowered engine trying to drag the car around and charge the battery.
I am not convinced on hybrids. The regenerative braking is a positive. But quite small Toyota’s have bigger engines than small and mid range Ford’s.. I test drove a Yaris and was disappointed with the fuel consumption at motorway speeds, my Fiesta gets better. On a long motorway journey our BMW 318i can turn 50+ with careful driving and average 65mph into the bargain. Looking further ahead than the end of the bonnet helps.
Didn’t the government say ” do away with new diesel and petrol engined cars by 2030 and hybrids by 2040 ” So they have moved the pollution to the country side to the power stations that instead of taking it easy at night will be working flat out to recharge the cars that can get to a charging point, I think that is causing more pollution as the air was cleaned over night now there is more rubbish being pumped in to it
My Vauxhall Insignia does 50+ at around 65ish which is good for a big car, it is for some small ones too.
Nuclear (!) Then hydroelectric and wind farms all have their detractors but at least in the short term all provide power more cleanly than hydrocarbon fuel. Polution is thus steadily being reduced. Battery recharging takes time and only light load so the effect upon power sources is spread out over a period making it unlikely to cause inefficient generation. Now we need to concentrate upon education of drivers .
So this how Brazil is going to rid itself of indigenous people so it can dig up the rain forest willy nilly starve the planet of oxygen but London, New York, Moscow and Beijing will have clean air with no oxygen in it. Lets be honest we are our own devils we are if we do we are if we don’t. remember the London smog in the 50’s nearly 70 years on we are still at it, nothing has change except all our dirty industries ike our steel work, ship building, cars, have moved and now we have no control over them
Tyre pressures have a big influence on fuel consumption. I always now try and check them before using the car on any given day so they have not reached ‘running temperature’.
Tyre pressures will fluctuate according to ambient temperature and they leak slowly anyway. So check them at least every time you fill up. There’s so little to be gained from only half-filling or topping up daily as some people do – a full tank weighs as much as a passenger. You save more from removing seats that you aren’t using if you can. Also if you’re doing a short journey on a dual carriageway the time difference between 50mph and 70mph is minimal but the fuel consumption isn’t. In fact in an urban area you’ll just be driving faster to queue for longer at the end. I’d like to see the end of “reduce speed now” signs and the approaches to roundabouts on dual carriageway reduced to 40mph. That makes a lot more sense.
But look at this way John: driving at 50 on a national speed limit DC is forcing every lorry to go around you. If they cannot move out because lane 2 is busy they must brake, then move out and accelerate back to 56. (limited speed) A fully freighted artic will typically do 8 or 9mpg whilst cruising, but when accelerating only half of that. So whilst you have saved a few pennies, you have caused others to use many £ worth of extra fuel. Please don’t travel at less than 56mph on NSL DCs and motorways.
I drive a Ferrari and don’t care about fuel consumption….yay
Tailgating is both dangerous and potentially illegal. Coasting is definitely illegal. The RTAs and Highway Code tell you NOT to coast and to leave a sensible braking gap between vehicles. So they may save a little fuel but are both dangerous and illegal – so don’t do it.
A better way to save fuel is to not let your engine revs drop below 1400 rpm whist drivingf, it’s OK if you are idling in a queue but not wn=hen moving. The fuel injection system on cars, vans and lorries is designed to have a system known as ‘anti-stall’, intended to prevent the engine stalling at low revs. To do that it injects more fuel than is needed below 1400 rpm so it uses more fuel than really needed. If you car has a fuel consumption indication, you will see it go up as the revs drop below 1400 rpm. Better to keep the revs above 1400 and not waste fuel. Plus an engine running at that slow speed is very inefficient and produces more pollution than at mid-range revs.
Freewheeling, driving with the ignition off and driving too close to the vehicle in front are all offences against various Road Traffic Acts and also DANGEROUS.
I don’t “hypermile”, but I do sensible things to reduce consumption, like taking my foot off the gas if a traffic light ahead turns red. In addition many modern cars do some of the things cited in your article – my BMW in “Eco Pro” mode disengages the transmission on over-run and effectively coasts in neutral until you do something else. I normally run the car in this mode if I am not in a hurry. It does not save a lot of fuel, butas they say ‘every little helps’.
If more people were to take the advanced drivers course, a lot of fuel could be saved as they would read the road much better. As an ex driving instructor, I used to incorporate advanced driving skills right from the start in all lessons and to this day would love to see that as further driving test after 3 years of driving following the pass of the normal test.
This is where I truly miss living more central to town. Right now I am a comfortable 5 miles from shops, amenities, etc and then via very hilly, twisty, mud strewn roads. Before I cycled everywhere. I could cycle now but it’s just so impractical and rocking into town all sweaty and mud spattered is not the most pleasant look. Before I was literally 2 mins into town and only 10 mins to get anywhere I generally needed to be and on reasonable tarmac. I love the countryside but for those nearer town, get a bike. I have actually witnessed school run mums bundle their offspring into a car and travel less than 1/4 mile. That’s laziness in the extreme. Mind you, these same mums rock up at Tesco in their nightwear but that’s another story. For local getting about you cannot beat a bike. So….. get pedalling.
5 miles too far to the shops? You must be a really old pensioner I take it? My nearest big shopping towns are both 7 miles away and I’ll cycle to both, on different days, several times a week, (and I’m 59.) The weather has to be really bad for several consecutive days before I’ll resort to using the car.
Unfortunately I am no longer able to cycle, age and knees preclude, but even if young I would not risk cycling on our busy narrow roads amongst arrogant bullying driving. Rather than allow cyclists to use empty footpaths in relative safety the law still requires them to risk their lives on roads that are too narrow to accommodate them.
You might want to look at getting an email bike to let you nip into town.
My 10 year old diesel Mondeo gets 54 mpg routinely. I focus on anticipation so adjust speed to avoid braking. I do wonder about drafting as I see many lorries moving almost nose to tail along the motorway and what happens if they have to brake unexpectedly.
Back in the day I had a SAAB96 that as with certain Rovers had free wheel fitted, i have to say having used it found it a stressful way to drive. I would not recommend freewheeling
It sounds a bit dodgy to me. Getting thje bus or not making the trip are the most fuel efficient ways to save fuel. If you enjoy driving and are paying for a car, just drive it normally and enjoy it.
buses are very inefficieny what a dumb comment – largr v12 engines 9mpg if your lucky. Buses pullute much worse than any car. cycle walk even motorbikes – bus? LOL err no..
But if the bus is going anyway…… It’s not a taxi you know.
They are more efficient if looked at by emissions/passenger miles.
Buses and coaches usually have straight 6 engines. Hybrids are inline 4s.
Costs about £5 for a return fare to our nearest town, which is 2 miles away. I have to make sure I get to the bus stop on time and if they miss out the service there’s a 30 minutes wait for the next bus, then the whole procedure is repeated for the return journey. In the car it costs about 50p plus £1.50 for the car park and I can bring up to 6 passengers with me for a marginal increase in fuel cost. Public transport is too unreliable, too expensive and a lot less convenient unless you live in a city or large town.
Don’t understand what’s wrong with coasting but drafting is clearly highly dangerous, and turning the engine off is asking for trouble.
with modern cars I understand when the power is off but you are doing say 40 or 50, 60 or more, it actually cuts the fuel off so coasting with your engine ticking over uses more fuel than just lifting your foot off. That is what I was told some years ago I’m sure someone will enlighten me.
If you drive with the engine off ( coasting) then power assisted braking and steering don’t work. Hence the car is less controllable and it is dangerous! Don’t do it Also if your ignition is off your brake lights don’t work and on some vehicles the headlights turn off.
Coasting is another questionable hypermiling method and extreme hypermilers put their cars into neutral to save fuel, by letting the engine idle while driving downhill. Do these people not understand that by being in neutral, the engine burns fuel to keep idling, whereas going downhill (or on the level of course) in gear uses no fuel at all because the fuel flow is turned off…Drafting — that’s tailgating of course. Stupid and dangerous.
Absolutely Keith. Common rail and even older engines shut off fuel delivery completely during in-gear coasting, only resuming it when the engine slows to near-low idle. This might be safer and more economical than selecting neutral. Trick must be to try to recapture during deceleration as much energy as possible that’s lost during acceleration
going downhill in gear uses no fuel at all?
To do that the engine would have to be turned off, my car still uses minimal fuel at tickover engine speed going downhill in gear, yes better economy, so that statement doesn’t make sense, how can an engine run without fuel?
I have a Skoda Octavia 1.6 and get very good economy, up to 79mpg on one long journey, don’t get that figure very often, usually get between 60 to 70mpg.
Not correct Brian, all fuel-injection Skodas (petrol or diesel) since 2000 shut off the fuel supply completely when decellerating, unless the car detects that fuel is required to keep the engine speed above a threshold of 800 – 1000 rpm. So, when going downhill, no fuel is used until the revs fall below the threshold.
I drive a lot on motorways and have long realised that using the brakes will waste fuel. Anticipation and forward planning will drastically reduce the need for braking.
What a silly question Off course you can Drive sensible and save money I always do but then Im perfect
If you coast, your engine is using fuel to keep the engine ticking over. Leave it gear and engine break, even if you’re in 6th, 5th etc. The injectors will shut off and you use no fuel whatsoever. This applies to pretty much every car built in the last 20 years, maybe even 25.
my old vito gave significantly better mpg at 55mph as opposed to 70mph
BUT my new w447 shows almost no mpg difference at any speed.. what differences there are are probably due to traffic differences rather than speed
obviously the engine management system has greatly improved
Strangely, no mention was made of the autostop facility on modern cars. I have a Honda Civic and my wife has a KIA car. Both have autostop when the car is stationary. Trouble is that most of the time , even on long journeys when the batteries are fully charged, they don’t function. The official explanation is that the battery is not fully charged! More likely that there are other issues that they don’t understand. If the failure were due to a diminished voltage output, then why didn’t they design the autostop for lower operating voltages.
There is a charge monitoring module located near the battery. Self explanatory. Voltage is not really a reliable measure as what is being measured is alternator output. This is why the system is inhibited.
Stop-start systems greatly increase wear on starters and batteries (lead acid is not suitable for deep-cycle applications).
In many cases these systems increase repair bills for 2nd or 3rd owners who are slowly realising these systems are a financial liability which will eventually be reflected in resale values. Looks like there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Rev up your bank account for 1500 quid for new starter ring an starter motor after 3 yrs 40k miles. Happens all across the cars with this joke idea. Original idea was a dynastart so your alternator was turned into a starter, good system used on generator sets for years. This system costs money but is smooth transition from stop to start. When car manufactures found a normal starter would last the warranty period they just used a bigger battery an 2p monitoring device for cold engines/battery voltage. Job done. Looking green but costing the second owner dear!.
I have the same problem with my diesel Focus bought at 18 months old, the auto stop was fine for the first 6 months, working after only a couple of miles in warm weather and even with the aircon on after about 4 miles. Then it began to work less frequently until after another 6 months gave up altogether. Local Ford dealer said there is nothing wrong with the auto stop itself, but I needed a new battery as the existing one was failing which was why the auto stop did not work.
As they wanted over £100 for new battery I decided to manage without auto stop. Three and a half years later the car still starts without any problem even with the temperature at -10deg. There must be a moral there somewhere.
Some autostop don’t stop if you have the aircon running hard or the heating turned up high. There are also limits on engine and coolant settings. My BMW doesn’t cut out When the weather is really cold.
My Mini auto-start/stop was working less frequently and I put it down to air-con and the like. It did start to show a battery error if I used ancillaries without the engine running.
Turns out it was the battery, and it tells the car if it’s ok to use the stop/start. One new battery (and extra cost for programming the car to know it was a new battery) and it works a treat.
I’ve 56K on the clock and it’s the first battery, so not too bad considering the fuel I’ve saved.
Here is an easy way to save on petrol and reduce emissions for you, from a cycle commuter. At peak time in heavy traffic, stop roaring impatiently behind a cyclist, pressing the throttle to the floor at the slightest opportunity to overtake them… to run 60 yards further into a red traffic light or some congestion. Cyclists all know how motorists hate them for being ‘in their way’, so they don’t need waste their petrol and risk other people’s lives to make this more obvious. 😉
I cycle plenty. I prefer drivers to get a move on and pass me rather than ineptly tailgate and slow a whole line of traffic.
Reducing emissions and fuel use is about efficiency of traffic flow and there are far too few people on the roads these days who see the larger picture rather. It’s the same way I view dithers as possibly being selfish. I think we all have a responsibility to aid efficient traffic flow and my view is the same whether on foot, cycling, on motorbike or in car.
Of course I do accept that I have a slow vehicle and that cars should overtake me. My point was that there is a time and a place to do it.
Given the highway code suggests given cyclists 1.5 meters or a car width room when overtaking, that’s not always possible, so having great lines of traffic behind you is pretty much common, in the case of agricultural vehicles, they are supposed to pull over at the next safe point, IE laybys if more than 5 cars are behind them, hell would freeze over before a cyclist did that.
Indeed!! For those who never ride a bike: one of the many commendable reasons some people choose to ride to work rather than sit in a car is that in town and high traffic they are faster. If I stopped on the roadside every time a car wanted to overtake me, that would defeat the purpose of cycling. Also: why making your comment irrelevant by making a tractor and a bike sound similar? Not quite the same width are they? Don’t tell me it is as difficult to overtake a single bike as it is to do a tractor 😉
So how would you overtake on a busy B road,fly over him, You can’t give a cyclist 5 feet and not put your life in danger from oncoming traffic, and I might add I have been held up by idiots riding two abreast, I only mentioned the tractor law because there is no law for cyclists to give way when safe to do so when holding up traffic,
Ah, now you have to mention cyclists riding two abreast to make your point more relevant. But that still doesn’t work since most cyclists, especially weekdays, are, like me, on their own. Now don’t make me chuckle by mentioning the 5 feet you are supposed (now by law) to leave between you and the cyclist overtaking them. I drive about 3000 miles a year, but I ride just as many. I can tell you that an overwhelming majority of drivers do not even leave 2 feet – not even on wide, straight roads. “It’s just a cyclist after all, I can push them into the ditch without damaging myself or my car, so why should I bother?” right?
Coasting downhill with the engine idling does not save fuel. Driving downhill in gear in a petrol or diesel vehicle with the foot off the accelerator uses no fuel at all.
Depends on the age of the vehicle, many older cars simply do not have this facility, so coasting does save fuel in that case.
How does an automatic “ free wheel” or travel out of gear??
Our VW Tiguan diesel automatic has a coasting function which I love. It comes on at every opportunity, but if you want some engine braking, it comes on with a touch of the pedal. If the car computer is to be believed, it greatly improves fuel function, particularly on a nice gently undulating route where the downhill coasting doesn’t have to be interrupted.
Joining a slow moving Q at say 20 on say a 60/70 m.p.h. road can cause congestion at the previous junctions i.e. 10 cars at 100 metres between adds to the length of the traffic. NOT a nice Practise for other road users!
When on long winding roads, conditions permitting, I keep closer to the kerb on left hand bends and closer to the centre on right hand bends. A small distance I know but over time it must mount up.
That’s the opposite to safe driving techniques though. On a left bend, the further you stay out to the middle, the further you can see around the corner.
In racing they do a similar thing, and hit the apex at optimal speed. That’s the shortest route whilst maintaining a constant speed. I know you’re not racing, but I find staying out a bit longer then turning to the apex scrubs off less speed then sticking to the kerb.
Back in the 70’s , a trial was carried out using similar tecniques on an E type Jaguar , and nearly doubled the mileage per gallon!
One of the ways was to get into a high gear as soon as practically possible, and stay there for as long as practicable, and to save brake discs / pads when braking, use the gears to slow down , and only brake to a stop when necessary. I use this tecnique in London when approaching a line of stationary traffic at the lights and most times can avoid coming to a complete halt before the lights change and I can accelerate away. Smooth accellerating was recommended, and easing off when a hazard/traffic was spotted in the near distance , thereby saving fuel by not braking unnecessarily when travelling too fast , as braking negates the fuel you have used in the fierce accellerating. Whatever tecniques are used , the oil companies will still make sure you pay through the nose for your fuel !!!
When I have to go across the urban area to a nearby village (6 miles), the car can take 15 minutes, bicycle 40 minutes (outbound is uphill). What I have noticed is my car’s fuel use and journey time can both increase by well over 50%. The reason for this is slow drivers in front who dither/are trying to save fuel.
My point is that those who think of only themselves are part of the problem in increasing fuel use, emissions and congestion. There is not the place for such selfish behaviour and it is about time that this was recognised. Driving standards are too low and advanced techniques should have been implemented years ago if nothing else but to increase awareness of other road users.
That’s right. Everyone should be made to drive at the speed YOU want to travel at.
No Lawrence, he means you in the 40 mph club. You know the one who thinks 40mph in national speed limit is good. Knobs who are not confident/competent enough to control a motor vehicle above walking speed. The baffon who can’t over take a tractor for 17 miles with the snake of other incompetents stuck up his chuff!
Thanks Shed. I was thinking more about the 23 club (in a 30 limit). Anyway, try to make a valid point and there’s always someone who takes the bait.
Many of these people don’t understand the cars’ emission control equipment is ineffective when crawling either.
Alasdair, they only know how to put fuel in to make it go. Most people I talk to are so thick you would not believe it. They don’t know anything about motor vehicles at all. Your right that was why the cat was moved to the top as close to the manifold as possible to get it up to temp, now we have the particulate filter blocking up because no body gives it a rev to blow it through, remember all the old rivers will water pouring out the exhaust because granddad only every reved to 1500 rpm saved 100 pounds on fuel but spent 20k on new exhaust systems!
I drive whilst keeping an eye on my consumption display. Using my cruise control, I increase my speed whilst going down hill and decrease my speed when driving up hill trying to keep my consumption display above a minimum 30mph wherever possible
I have tried to drive as economically as possible for most of my driving life. Why wouldn’t I or anyone. My old Skoda Fabia diesel would regularly do 75+mpg on a long run. I never put on the heater until the car was warmed up. It warms up much quicker and uses less fuel. I always anticipated. Foot off the accelerator as soon as there’s a red light ahead. Change up through the gears as fast as reasonably possible. And drive at a moderate speed. My current Citigo is petrol but on a run will do 68mpg consistently.
It’s all common sense. I do find cars are less inclined to shoot past me when approaching a red light, but you do get the occasional idiot.
No matter how much you try and save on fuel, the fuel company will always put there fuel up to cover the cost of money loss by people trying to save on fuel, so what’s the point of trying to save, not one single car in the world will ever save you money hybrid or fuel cars, because the more you try to save the more the company put the cost up to bring back the money they are losing and this is not just on fuel also on gas, water, food, electric and many other items so what’s the point of trying to save money. You tell me.
I see so many drivers race up to red light and brake frantically. Others drive too close to the vehicle in front and waste an enormous amount of fuel by repeatedly braking. Another very common and wasteful problem is revving through the gears.
I drive a 2 litre Seat Alhambra which has an automatic coasting feature which I find helps with mpg, but you have to remember that if it’s coasting downhill you have to drive back up which somewhat cancels out the benefits of coasting!
but if you weren’t coasting down the hill you would be driving down the hill and you would have to drive back up it away so coasting in gear like 6th with the engine running is saving you fuel as the engine is asking for a minute amount of fuel, but then of course you will need more frequent brake changes so perhap 5th gear is appropriate.
I am sometimes amazed the amount of braking that goes on down hills and at each bend no matter how tight they are when a little deceleration or acceleration makes it easy .
Surely Drafting is tailgating and that is definitely not recommended
Just remember that killing the engine can cause you to lose servo power in your brakes, so you might find yourself having to push the brake pedal much harder than usual. Not realising this quickly could lead to a rear-end accident.
65 years on the road (Now a wiser 85yo), world wide from Jag’s to Pug’s………..
Remove the fuse that powers all the completely stupid and unnecessary LED lights that are permanently ON during even the brightest day.
You don’t get ‘energy’ from nowhere you know.
‘Hypermiling’ – a term presumably invented by some dewy-eyed teenager to tell us about his incredible new discovery that driving sensibly saves fuel. Reminds me of the d-e t who greeted us at the Eden Project to say that waste was naughty. Having been brought up frugally, and continuing to minimise waste, I did not see this as news.
I’m surprised to find this item on a motoring site. I imagine that its editors know of the 20th century cars (was the Jowett Javelin one?) which automatically freewheeled downhill.
Most cars use continuous injection which means the damn things carry on at the same speed for a while when throttled down. This equates to rotors and pads wearing out quickly when braking. My Volvo V70 Classic 2435cc engine is more fuel efficient at 75/80 mph on motorways ( 38 mpg) if I can maintain that speed than driving at 60/70 mph 32/33 mpg. My Triumph TR4a 1967 2138cc will return 34/36 mpg at 70 mph in overdrive 4th gear, and that is running a 60 year old technology engine. I would have thought that modern machinery would be much more fuel efficient than my 1967 cast iron push rod engine car which weighs just short of 20 cwt unladen.
This article mentions things that I have used almost all of my driving life, (48 years), to get the best mileage that I can without compromising safety in any way nor being an obstructive driver whenever I could, although, over the years I’ve noted that impatience causes far more danger and accidents, wherever you are.
Route planning is vital as SatNavs are, er…….c**p!
I was on coach once in the Marbella area in Spain when the driver of our coach rigidly followed SatNav and nearly killed us all by following track that you would normally use to herd goats!
The worst drivers I’ve eve seen were from the USA, they rely so much on automatic gearboxes that they are a danger to everyone as a HAND BRAKE to them is a Safety Brake – which they rarely use as they pull up and leave the car in park rather than neutral!
That “no coasting downhill” thing came about years ago when most cars had drum brakes which were subject to “brake fade”, a phenomenom unknown to drivers of moder vehicles. (Fade being caused by the drums expanding when hot, thereby increasing the gap to the brake shoes, which could, in extreame circumstances, result in the shoes being unable to exert enough pressure to slow the car.)
I do use many of the techniques suggested in your article , I believe tailgating to increase MPG is a very bad idea, not safe and can frustrate the person being followed, and cause more back end shunts, also cutting your engine is very dangerous not only loosing power steering as suggested but more than that, loosing brake servo power, result very heavy non effective brakes.. The best suggestion was planning ahead and lifting off power early is the most effective !
“change through the gears relatively quickly ” to save fuel. what are gears? Do people still use them? Why, when everything else is auatomated, eg. lights come on automatically, engine stops when stopped in traffic. #why have all this automation and then cling to gears?
Dear “Patriarch”, may I presume you were being ironic? If not, here’s the explanation. When a clutch is engaged in a manual transmission, the ratio of the engine’s speed to the car’s speed is fixed by the gear that the driver has selected. With an automatic transmission , the clutch is replaced by an hydraulic coupling (“torque converter” or “fluid flywheel”). This is a variable connection that allows the engine to run faster (so burning more fuel) as it loads up than a clutch does after it has engaged. In effect, it’s a permanent elastic band in the transmission. Cars with automatic transmissions are, typically, about 10% thirstier than corresponding versions with manual gearboxes. That’s the main reason why most cars sold in the UK have manual transmissions: they are intrinsically more economical than the automatic versions – as well as being cheaper to make, to buy and less likely to break down. Typical clutches last more than 75,000 miles and cost about £700 to replace. Repairing a broken automatic transmission is likely to cost twice that amount.
You don’t know the use of the manual vehicle. Not everyone is always driving on tarmac. Believe me, automatic transmission on soft ground is a nightmare.