July 21, 2008

Hypermiling... the art of maximising fuel efficiency

I was introduced to the concept behind hypermiling when I was a kid, back in in South Africa by our Geography teacher, Mr Wahee. He used to run the hiking tours taking groups of six to eight twelve year olds through outstanding parts of the country on two to three week treks. On one trip from Joeburg to the Knysna forest Elephant Walk our combi ran very low on petrol.

Wahee's strategies for conserving fuel was to coast down the hills, gathering speed and momentum to take us
as far up the next hill as possible without rapidly accelerating, discard useless weight and slip-stream trucks down the highway. The memories lay dormant for decades, until I started realising that my emissions-spewing, hoon-like diving style was at odds with a new understanding of the causes of climate change. So I resolved to drive more fuel efficiently, and picked up where Wahee had left off.

It was a revelation. It's quieter when you coast with your foot off the accelerator — and in neutral, down a long hill, it feels like the difference between sailing and stink-boating. You become more conscious of your car's performance, and more aware of traffic around you. The latter is for the same reason why motorbike riders are hyper-vigilant in traffic, you are driving in a manner that is different to the flow. You quickly add another rule. Your hypermiling is not to interrupt the flow of traffic.

I was discovering a better quality driving experience that offered me the satisfaction of competing against myself to beat my fuel mileage record, while saving money and co2 emissions.

Now I discover that there are other freaks like me.

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2 comments:

Bob said...

Very interesting!

John Marsh said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.