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· Administrator
298 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do not accelerate quickly or brake heavily: This reduces fuel economy by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town. EPA tests do not account for this kind of vigorous driving.

Do not idle if not necessary: Decreases average FE. The EPA city test includes idling and in many cases, it is not necessary. Consider shutting down your vehicle if stopped for more than 7-seconds as that is all the fuel it takes to restart a modern day, fuel-inject engine.

Avoid driving at higher speeds: This increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and mechanical friction which reduces fuel economy. The EPA test accounts for aerodynamic drag up to highway speeds of 60 mph, but most exceed that speed far more often then necessary.

Cold weather and frequent short trips reduce fuel economy, since your engine doesn't operate efficiently until it is warmed up. In colder weather, it takes longer for your engine to warm, and on short trips, your vehicle operates a smaller percentage of time at the desired temperature. Note: Letting your car idle to warm-up does not help your fuel economy, it actually uses more fuel and creates more pollution. Drive to your farthest destination first and then as you are heading home, stop at the closer destinations in order from furthest to closest as the car is warmed up for longer portions of your drive.

Remove Cargo or cargo racks: Cargo and/or racks on top of your vehicle (e.g., cargo boxes, canoes, etc.) increase aerodynamic drag and lower FE. Vehicles are not tested with additional cargo on the exterior.

Do not tow unless absolutely necessary: Towing a trailer or carrying excessive weight decreases fuel economy. Vehicles are assumed to carry three hundred pounds of passengers and cargo in the EPA test cycles.

Minimize running mechanical and electrical accessories: Running mechanical and electrical accessories (e.g., air conditioner) decreases fuel economy. Operating the air conditioner on "Max" can reduce MPG by roughly 5-30% compared to not using it.

Avoid driving on hilly or mountainous terrain if possible: Driving hilly or mountainous terrain or on unpaved roads reduces fuel economy most of the time. The EPA test assumes vehicles operate over flat ground.

Courtesy of Wayne Gerdes AKA The Grandfather Of Hypermiling

· Registered
787 Posts
Since these tips cover ICEVS, too, I wish to add one more that I use:

If stopped for a few seconds and on a level road, the gas engine is running, in "D" it is moving the transmission/transaxle, and you have to hold it with the brake. Shifting from "D" to "N" disengages the transmission/transaxle (like a manual transmission) and the engine idles lighter and cooler without that load. And you can take your foot off the brake, allowing the rotor to coll sooner and reduce pad wear. When the traffic moves, shift back to "D" and go. With experience and road familiarity, you can shift into "N" before stopping and let the ICEV coast without power until you stop it, then release the brake.

If the stop takes longer, then you can turn the engine off. Just remember that when the traffic moves or else you get many angry horn blasts while trying to start the engine and shift into "D".

With my 1995 Buick Regal, I did this every day It lengthen engine oil and transmission/transaxle fluid life, needing only one oil change a year, and two transmission fluid changes and only two brake pad replacements in 21 years.

· Registered
8,893 Posts
Wayne is held in good regard, but some of those tips don't exactly apply in all situations.

Brisk acceleration can be more fuel efficient than very mild acceleration. A typical peak engine efficiency is around 75% engine load and 2,500 RPM. It's use of brakes that kills fuel economy.

For the same reason, hilly terrain can be more efficient than flat, depending on how steep the hill is. As long as you don't have to hit the brakes on the downhill, they usually increase fuel efficiency.

A more extensive list is here, along with the discussion:

Best way to save fuel; don't drive an ICE vehicle, or reduce the trips made. Next best; drive a fuel efficient vehicle. After that, drive at lower speeds.
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