Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Readers Digest Article on Hypermilers

So I was happy to see the new Readers Digest resting on my coffee table
when I got home yesterday, and the cover advertised an article on how to
get great mileage.

What made me unhappy was that it was a reprint of an article I read
online a couple months ago about a true hypermiler who drives unusually
and can achieve fuel economies of over 100 miles per gallon.

While I applaud that ability, I am concerned that the casual reader may
see that as too extreme to even be tried, and thus miss out on the
simple ways to improve fuel economy that are easy for everyone to do.

Not everyone wants to take an offramp at 50 miles per hour, and I don't
see the point in coasting around a parking lot just to avoid idling in a
stopped car; I mean, what's the point in getting 50 miles per gallon if
you're just coasting around a parking lot?

Likewise, I don't think it's wise to put yourself in physical danger by
driving significantly under or, in some cases, over the general speeds
of other cars in traffic. The fuel you personally save is more than
wasted by other traffic avoiding you by braking, swerving, and
accelerating ahead of you.

But things like keeping your tires pumped up, looking ahead at the
traffic in the distance, and driving with the proverbial egg between
your right foot and the gas pedal are easy ways to becoem a more
conscientious driver and more of a fuel saver.

I agree that using the brake is ultimately a waste of gasoline, but you
must balance your need to arrive at your destination with your desire to
save fuel. This balance point id different for everyone, but we all
must take other people into consideration as well. If you are going 55
miles per hour on the highway in rush hour, and the speed limit is
actually 65 and there's a line of cars formed behind you, the gas you
save is just being wasted by the bottleneck of cars as they brake to
slow to your speed and then accelerate hard to pass you.

So I believe in at least going the speed limit.

If that's too rough, look for a tractor trailer to safely draft behind--
not too close that you can't see around it, of course...

But I am encouraged that Readers Digest had this article. Hopefully it
will cause more people to think, and realize that they have the power to
make a small change in driving habits that will have a large effect on
fuel consumption.

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