Thursday, August 25, 2011


A question, my readers: I've moved states and am not sure what to do about the "What's In Season" articles.  Would you prefer it moved with me, or should I finish the year in Southern California style? Let me know your thoughts via comment.

On my way out to Missouri, I decided to give as much hypermiling as I could a try. Hypermiling entails making small modifications to your driving habits in order to gain the maximum fuel efficiency from a car as possible. has a great article on the subject for around-town driving, but for distance, this is what I did.

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First, I checked my tire pressure and made sure my tires were properly inflated. It's a small thing, but it can make a huge impact on your mileage. I also checked my fluids and oil levels, since this was a significant trip. I've noticed that when my oil gets low, my gas mileage can drop as much as four miles a gallon.

When I drove, I used a lot of the freeway tips. I was in a car caravan with someone pulling a trailer, so we were driving below my usual rate. I'd guess I was going about 60mph, but according to the other car we were going around 55mph. I was on rural freeways, so I didn't end up using my brakes that much, and it was fairly flat so there wasn't a lot of loading.

I was shocked when I consistently got 43-46mpg out of my little, ancient car. That was an increase of ten to thirteen miles over my previous driving! But for comparison, I had one day when I scored only 36mpg. On that day, I'd been going closer to 65 or 70mpg. So even when driving at a consistent speed, the overall speed matters quite a lot.

I'm finally in a town that requires less driving (huzzah!). Now I'm turning into a cyclist and bus-taker, at least as long as the weather is nice. More on this as I start finding my way around on two wheels instead of four.

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