Let’s face it: we’d all love our cars to go a bit further without spending more money. With fuel prices continually on the rise, it’s no wonder why we want our fuel to last as long as possible.
Unsurprisingly, this practice is already well established under the guise of ‘hypermiling’. But what exactly is hypermiling? And could it be beneficial to you? Let’s find out.
While hypermiling may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, it’s simply the practice of trying to achieve the absolute best possible fuel economy from a car.
To some, this may sound like a reasonable decision only taken by the most practical of motorists. However, some hypermiling techniques go against car manufacturers recommendations to the point where body modifications get involved.
By far, the country with the most intense fans of hypermiling is the US. In the States, motorists strap large cone-shaped pieces of metal to the back of their cars in pursuit of better aerodynamics. The reason for this is simple; as with any vehicle, the less wind resistance it faces, the quicker it can cut through the air while using less fuel to help it do so. This does net drivers with far better fuel economy, but it isn’t the most practical of ideas.
Hypermiling is thought to have gained most of its popularity in the early 2000s in America. This was a difficult time for the American market, with fuel prices skyrocketing at the start of the millennium, before slowly decreasing as the years passed.
Back then, the car market was being introduced to more and more hybrids seemingly every few months, with the Toyota Prius being the first one to gain mass adoption in the States. In fact, the release of the Prius was quite a monumental moment for motoring; never before had there been a car able to promise so much mileage, for such a relatively low asking price of $20,000.
Naturally, although the Prius’ fuel efficiency was high, motorists wanted more. This is where hypermiling practices first began, with motorists looking to push their cars to the absolute limits.
Thankfully, there are some tricks that hypermiling has taught us over the years. Many of which can be applied to your daily commute without requiring any structural changes to your car. Here are some hot takes that you should consider adding to your driving style for better mileage:
Even though a regular service regime may sound expensive, it is a crucial element to keep your car’s engine and chassis in working order. Generally, servicing happens in three intervals:
During these services, mechanics will be able to spot any developing faults before they turn into real issues and will top up or replace any fluids that your car needs.
It’s a well-known fact that petrol and diesel prices fluctuate. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, prices were at an all-time low as the streets became empty. However, in2022 prices peaked with a pence per litre number of 191.43p for petrol, and 199.05p for diesel. Although these have lowered since, fuel is not as cheap as it once was.
To combat this, drivers should borrow some advice from the financial investors of the world with the mantra of “buy low, sell high”.
Your tyres are like shoes for your car; if you’ve ever worn old shoes, you can only imagine what worn tyres are like. UK law states that the middle tread depth on a car should not go below 1.6mm.
However, we always advise regular inspection of your tyres for cracks, holes, and uneven wear. A healthy, inflated tyre with full tread is much more likely to last longer and have a reduced chance of puncture.
Another aspect of tyre health to monitor is air pressure. Generally, most cars have a suggested tyre pressure of between 30-32 psi; however, inflating to 36-40 psi decreases the tyres rolling resistance. This pressure means that your tyres spin for much longer without requiring any extra power from your car’s transmission.
Just be sure to pay close attention to the numbers and letters on the side of your tyre and your car’s recommended ranges. These will inform you of just how much pressure you can get away with.
Read more: What is tyre tread and how can you find yours?
The more weight your car carries, the harder it has to work. You can make things easier on your car by taking out any old possessions like coats, shoes and anything that’s gathering dust.
Extreme hypermiling drivers can take this one step further by taking out non-essential plastic trim pieces. Just be mindful that while this will allow your car to go further for less, it could make your daily driving much less comfortable. Don’t forget, if your car is on finance to check with your lender before making any changes to your vehicle.
The phrase “killing two birds with one stone” is very applicable for this next tip. When driving, try to see if there are any ways you can cut down on your journeys by combining them all into a day’s work.
If there’s a shop on your way home, try visiting it then instead of coming home and then going back out again. You’ll decrease the number of times your car engine is turned over, reducing wear, and ultimately prolonging its lifetime and fuel efficiency.
Although there are some clear advantages with wanting to make your car go further for less, there can be some controversial aspects to the practice. Such as the following:
Coasting means to disengage the transmission from the wheels of the car, essentially leaving them in free fall while in motion. This can be achieved by holding the clutch pedal down, or simply leaving the car in neutral. Many hypermilers coast to keep engine revolutions at a minimum, saving them fuel.
Doing this removes any presence of engine braking, further reducing the amount of control a driver has over their car.
Drafting is a racing tactic that’s common in open-wheeled racing like F1. It involves driving very closely behind another car, utilising them to minimise the amount of air to cut through. Drafting not only decreases the amount of engine power needed to get a car moving, it can also result in some speed gains.
It’s important to remember that F1 drivers are highly skilled at their craft, and the cars used in F1 are designed specifically to allow for closer racing margins. Road cars, however, are not built this way.
Drafting significantly reduces the tolerance for delays in reaction speed, making it incredibly hard to pull off, and driving so close to another driver could reduce braking distances and raise the risk of crashes
While taking out old clothes, discarded items, and other general waste from your car is a good idea, it’s important to not go too overboard. Some components of your car’s interior are critical to cushion any impacts in the event of a crash, such as cushioned trim pieces and airbags. If these components are removed, passengers and drivers are left with severely compromised safety ratings.
Adding a little bit of extra air into your tyres is generally harmless. As mentioned above, overinflating by around 5-10 PSI can be helpful in reducing your tyres’ rolling resistance. However, we highly advise keeping a close eye on this, as inflating by anything higher than the recommendations from your tyre manufacturer may cause them to pop, or gradually deflate due to cracking.
Although some hypermiling tactics may seem extreme, there are some practical pieces of advice that we can take to achieve better mileage.
If your current car is showing signs of aging with decreased fuel efficiency, perhaps it’s time for a change. At findandfundmycar.com, there are thousands of high-quality used cars from trusted dealers across the UK.
*Information is provided for guidance only#
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