No, It's Not Always the Car's Fault
Trikkonceptz, a poster on the EcoModder forums, has a nice anecdote about driving behavior and fuel economy (as his forum-signature says: "The biggest FE mod you can make is to adjust the nut behind the wheel").
He works at a car dealership and is really into hypermiling (he modified the front end of his vehicle to make it more aerodynamic). Some one day a customer came in for the third time complaining that his Sport Trac truck was getting 6.9 MPG and that there must be something wrong with it (it's rated at 13 MPG city, 20 MPG highway for a 2WD)...Improving Fuel Economy 101
After looking and not finding anything mechanical wrong with the vehicle, Trikkonceptz decided to have a closer look and do an educational drive with the customer.
First thing I noticed was that his tires were flat, then I asked if I could get better results with him in the truck would he agree that the problem was with the way he drove and not the truck. He agreed, claiming he was a safe driver. I advised that a safe driver and one conscious of [fuel economy] are two different animals.
After inflating the tires, they went for a 20 minutes drive.
The route covered 10 miles city driving and 10 miles highway driving. All I did was obey the posted Speed limits and coast to a stop in gear, A/c on and everything.
My results; 17.7 city 23.9 hwy @ 65mph. He then cried that I drove like a grandma, to which I replied, "If you still think you have a leg to stand on with a lawsuit against anyone about this, remember this drive and remember that I was driving the speed limit."
So apparently "Safe Driver" to him meant as fast as possible without getting caught for all these years.
Well done. These kinds of basic driving tips should be part of all drivers' education before getting a license. It won't stick with everyone, but it will be better than nothing. Many people would love to save money on gas, but they don't realize how big a difference driving style makes.
Technologies like Nissan's ECO Pedal can also help.
Via EcoModder Forums
Honda Insight Hybrid Wins Hypermiling Competition with 124 Miles per Gallon
Hypermiling Becoming More Popular as Gas Prices Rise
Hypermiling Couple Gets Two Entries in Guiness World Records Book