Micro-Hypermiling: Saving Gas Where You Drive the Most

Bringing Better Fuel Economy Closer to Home
The following post may classify as stating the obvious for some, in which case I apologize, but as it’s helped me to save some gas – I thought I’d share. Let’s start from the beginning...

When I wrote about hypermiling community site CleanMPG, an anonymous commenter confessed that they could never quite get comfortable with the term hypermiling. At the risk of worsening this commenter’s jargon-overload, I’d like to propose a new term that’s been playing on my mind recently – micro-hypermiling. The idea came to me as I was driving home recently – I’ve been trying to learn the art of squeezing the most mileage out of my fuel, using the usual techniques of curbing my acceleration, keeping an eye out ahead for obstructions etc (as well as avoiding unnecessary trips of course!). However, I noticed that it’s much harder to follow these rules on unfamiliar roads, where you are a) distracted by having to learn your surroundings, and b) less able to anticipate stop signs, lights, sharp turns, hills etc. So while I continue to try and drive as efficiently as possible elsewhere, I thought it might make sense to really concentrate my efforts on the route I take most regularly – my route home.<br/>So I’ve started memorizing the cycle at the two stop lights between my house and town, figuring out how long it takes for a red to turn green – that way I’m able to judge better when to lift the foot off the pedal when I see a red up ahead, and when to keep motoring in the anticipation that it’ll soon be green again. I’ve also learned just how far from the turn off for my house I can lift my foot off the gas, to decelerate to an appropriate speed to take the corner without using the brakes (I only do this when nobody is behind me!). On hot days I’ve started turning the AC off a few miles from home, so the remains of my journey are still cool, but I don’t crank out the cold air till the last minute.

I’ve yet to figure out just how much these small moves are saving me, but I’ve certainly noticed that by increasing my awareness of how I drive on this route, I’ve also ingrained the habit of conservation-minded driving on longer trips too. Of course the cleanest mile is going to be the mile not driven – but when I do need to leave the house, I’m confident I can do it just that little bit greener with a little forethought.