How I Learned to Cruise at 99 MPG: 10 Eco-Driving, Hypermiling Tips from Ford’s Hybrid Team

April 26th, 2009

Ford’s hybrid experts and world record hypermiler champion Wayne Gerdes have set up headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia for the “Ford Fusion 1000 Mile Challenge.” They’re pushing the new 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid to go 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas. When I received an invite to check out the action and learn a few tips for improving fuel economy, I couldn’t resist going, despite having to drag my whole family there on a beautiful early Saturday morning.

This video shows some highlights from my “eco-driving” lesson. Using just a few hypermiling techniques, I was able to improve my gas mileage by nearly 10 MPG! I clocked 38.4 MPG prior to my “eco-driving” lesson, and 48 MPG afterwards! What’s more, I actually hit 99.9 MPG on the downgrade of a hill. Now that was exciting!

10 Tips for Maximizing Your Fuel Economy

#1. Reduce Your Speed
The trick to hypermiling? Drive very s-l-o-w-l-y. Speed increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and mechanical friction which reduces fuel economy.

#2 Coast & Glide
Coast to the Highest Point of the Hill and then Glide Down Hills . (You’ll see Tom Rolewiszc, Ford Fusion Hybrid Main Calibration Expert, explain this in the video).

#3 Avoid Using the A/C and other electrical and mechanical accessories
If you crack the driver and back window, you’ll create a cross-breeze. Use of air conditioning can reduce your fuel economy by up to 25% at low speeds.

#4 Don’t Accelerate Quickly or Brake Heavily
This reduces fuel economy by as much as 33% at highway speeds.

#5 Lighten Your Load
Excess weight decreases fuel economy. That’s one reason I was amazed that I still managed to shave 10 MPG off a typical drive , despite the fact that 5 people and 2 carseats were in the car. (I stayed near the posted speed limit as opposed to crawling along, as most hypermilers do).

#6 Take Flat, Smooth Roads

Hilly, mountainous, or unpaved roads reduce fuel economy.

#7 Tune Your Engine
A poorly tuned engine burns more fuel.

#8 Watch the Weather

Did you know you get better mileage on beautiful sunny days than on rainy or snowy days? It makes sense: less resistance against the car, and better traction.

#9 Drive to your furthest destination first.

Then, as you are heading home, stop at the closer destinations in order from furtherst to closest so the car is warmed up for the longer portions of the ride.

#10 Avoid Idling.
Consider shutting down your engine if stopped for more than 7 seconds as that is all the fuel it takes to restart today’s fuel-inject engine

Want to learn more? Check out CleanMPG, a site run by hypermiler champion Wayne Gerdes.

Was it a fun day? Look at this Flickr stream for pix of OrganicMania_DH and the Eco-Kids at the Ford event.

Have you tried hypermiling? Do you have other fuel economy tips? Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

9 Responses to “How I Learned to Cruise at 99 MPG: 10 Eco-Driving, Hypermiling Tips from Ford’s Hybrid Team”

  1. Ableblogger on April 27, 2009 4:24 pm

    That is very good indeed

  2. Carnival of The Green | Sustainable Group on April 28, 2009 6:00 pm

    […] Lynn from Organic Mania shares some tips she learned to reduce her fuel consumption by nearly 10 miles per gallon! […]

  3. » Carnival of the Green #177 Green Me: Healthy and Green by the Day on April 29, 2009 7:33 pm

    […] some tips she learned to reduce her fuel consumption by nearly 10 miles per gallon!  Presented at Learning from the Hypermiling Experts at Organic […]

  4. Ridealong with the Ford Fusion | City Sparkle DC on April 30, 2009 5:05 pm

    […] Miller at OrganicMania provided some fantastic tips from her trip on how to maximize your fuel […]

  5. Sommer on April 30, 2009 5:14 pm

    Now these are some cool tips! Fun day Lynn!

  6. Mommy bloggers: Do you protect kids’ anonymity online? | Moms to Work on May 5, 2009 6:27 am

    […] My friend and green mommy blogger extraordinaire, Lynn at OrganicMania chastised me for twittering the name of her youngest son online.  Sorry Lynn.  (It was an innocent tweet, your honor.) I asked Lynn if her son was better after falling down the steps, cracking his chin and getting five stitches. To protect her kids’ privacy, she uses the names Big Boy and Boo such as  in this blog post on Hypermiling (Driving for efficiency. […]

  7. Green Age on May 6, 2009 3:50 am

    Fair play that is some good mpg! Weight is the big one though. Keep your cars tidy!

  8. Sameer Ranade on June 9, 2009 9:42 am

    Great suggestions Lynn! One thing I’d like to add is that we should be checking our tires every month to make sure that they are properly inflated. This can improve our gas mileage by about 3%, and save the average car up to 20 gallons of gas annually.

    By the way, I’m working as a communications intern on the Drive Smarter Challenge with the Alliance to Save Energy. It is a public awareness campaign focused on informing drivers of the numerous easy to follow driving and vehicle maintenance tips, like the one mentioned above, which can be taken to conserve money and gas.

    Please visit the website at… and take the challenge, and ask your friends and family as well. Knowledge is power, and the more we can get the word out about this, the better. Thanks so much!

  9. » Blog Archive » Lessons Learned When a Boy is Nearly 7 on July 14, 2009 5:11 pm

    […] How I Learned to Cruise at 99 MPG: 10 Eco-Driving, Hypermiling Tips from Ford’s Hybrid Team Ford’s hybrid experts and world record hypermiler champion Wayne Gerdes… Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. […]

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