What Is Hypermiling And Should You Do It?

With fuel prices skyrocketing, some drivers have resorted to innovative ways of saving fuel and adopting fuel-efficient driving techniques called hypermiling. In this article, we explain what it is and whether you should do it to save fuel costs.

What is hypermiling?

Hypermiling is a term used to describe a driving technique that allows a driver to achieve better fuel economy. There is no one specific technique that can be classified as hypermiling, but rather it is a combination of different driving habits that can lead to better fuel economy.

Some of these techniques include driving at a steady speed, avoiding sudden acceleration or braking, and using cruise control when appropriate. Drivers who use these techniques are referred to as “hypermilers”.

Keep in mind: It’s important that drivers do enough research about their car and local driving laws before practising hypermiling techniques.

What are some hypermiling techniques to save fuel?

Each car is different and so hypermiling techniques will differ from vehicle to vehicle. Routes taken by drivers will also have an impact on hypermiling techniques. The following are some common techniques that can be applied to most vehicles:

  • Planning the route
    To start with, rather than drive at all, a hypermiler evaluates whether they can walk or cycle instead of taking a 5-minute drive.If they do have to drive, hypermilers will try their best to avoid heavy traffic and plan a route that is the most fuel-efficient. Another tip hypermilers follow is “the park and ride” technique, where you drive until you can ride a bike (to use public transport) to your destination.A good tip is to plan to arrive a little early at your destination so that you don’t get pressured to drive faster and brake later.
  • Removing unwanted weight
    Additional weight in the vehicle means more fuel consumption. Removing the roof rack and clearing the boot, for example, is a basic hypermiling practice to follow.
  • Regular maintenance
    A hypermiling car will be optimised for maximum fuel efficiency. In addition to regular maintenance and service, the tyres will be inflated at the proper pressure to ensure the best rolling resistance possible.Save £50 when you book an MOT and service together on ClickMechanic.
  • Driving smoothly
    Smoothing the overall driving style is one of the best ways hypermilers maximise their vehicle’s mileage. For example reducing unnecessary braking and braking too late. So for example, if you see that there is a red light ahead, you can take your foot off the accelerator and cruise toward the light if safe to do so.
  • Hills and slopes
    Hypermilers use the coasting technique when going downhill, using the accelerator little and allowing gravity to do most if not all of the work. With climbing up the hill, maintaining the car speed without additional acceleration can save fuel.
  • Air conditioning
    It is a known fact that air conditioning uses up fuel – using air conditioning can increase fuel consumption up to 10% in some cases.

How much fuel can I save by hypermiling?

Woman refuelling before hypermiling

Some estimates suggest that you can save up to even 40% on fuel costs by hypermiling. It is difficult to estimate how much fuel you can save by hypermiling because it depends on a number of factors, including your car’s fuel efficiency, your driving habits, and the local driving conditions.

Recently, Kevin Booker, Paul Clifton (both UK) and Fergal McGrath (from Ireland) set a world record for most miles travelled using the least amount of energy – using just 9,500.796 W.hrs/100km.

Kevin Booker calculated his hypermiling techniques had ended up saving him £40 a month on his daily 70-mile round trip commute for work.

Read our guide on 10 ways to save fuel in your car.

Is hypermiling a safe technique?

As with everything, hypermiling is safe if done correctly and keeping in mind basic road safety. Hypermiling has been a controversial topic due to some of the dangerous techniques involved that can pose a safety risk to the driver as well as others on the road.

What are some of the dangerous hypermiling techniques to avoid?

As fuel-efficient as some of the hypermiling techniques can be, some of the more drastic ones can be dangerous and cause damage to the vehicle and sometimes even catastrophic accidents. Some drivers even go so far as to ‘draft’ behind larger vehicles to reduce drag!

Some extreme fuel-saving hypermiling techniques to avoid:

  • Driving with the engine switched off or “coasting”
    This is a controversial hypermiling technique and may also result in a fine as it reduces driver control. Extreme proponents of hypermiling have been known to let their cars idle in neutral and sometimes completely switch the engine off to conserve fuel.
  • Tailgating behind large vehicles such as trucks
    This technique is also known as “drafting” is especially dangerous. The low air pressure behind a vehicle means the following one uses less energy to achieve a given speed, a strategy used by hypermilers to boost their economy. This also means the driver is breaking the 2-second rule and the truck in front will most likely not be able to see in the blind spot.
  • Over-inflating tyres
    Is a common strategy used by hypermilers. Overinflating tyres can reduce rolling resistance – which means less of the tyre will touch the road surface thus using less fuel. However, overinflating tyres will cause them to wear out quickly and also affect the overall handling of the car.