Hypermiling – is it worth it?

I just read an article about Hypermiling on CNN.com. Hypermiling is fuel economy maximizing behaviors – for any vehicle type. Where I agree with Mr. Gerdes that many behaviors can be modified to increase fuel economy, the article does not at all mention the pitfalls to some of these methods. Before everybody maxes out their tire pressures and keys off at every stop – a few things should be noted.

Regular maintenance and smooth driving can make the biggest difference in your gas mileage! While the former is touched upon, by the brief mention of changing filters, the later was not addressed at all. Smooth driving is easy:

Generally fuel economy is maximized when acceleration and braking are minimized. So a fuel-efficient strategy is to anticipate what is happening ahead, and drive in such a way so as to minimize acceleration and braking, and maximize coasting time. Gentle acceleration and deceleration is helpful in avoiding unnecessary acceleration. Wikipedia

I would also add that using cruise control to maintain consistent speed is a surefire way to save fuel (edit)as long as you are on flat terrain. When it gets hilly, turn off the cruise and accelerate smoothly to maintain speed. If you are driving an automatic, use minimum increments of throttle so the transmission does not select a lower gear – do this to reach your cruising speed before you select “resume” from the cruise control as well. As for the rest…

Maxing the tire pressure: while inflating the tire pressure to the maximum rating on the tire will not damage the tire itself, irregular wear is the inevitable result. Given the price of most OEM tires, especially run-flats, you have to weigh the fuel savings with the possibility of premature tire replacement. A new set of 4 tires can easily run more than $500 installed – you might want to calculate at what point the savings are nullified. I prefer to keep my tires 2-4 psi above the manufacturer’s recommended pressure for everyday driving, and boost it 10-12 psi above for long distance highway trips. Tire pressure can also dramatically change traction in adverse conditions – something to consider for driving in rain or snow.

Forced stop is the practice of keying off the engine at every stop and even while coasting. While it can be argued that the driver has less control with the engine off, again, my concern leans more towards the maintenance side. It can be detrimental to the gas mileage as well as the internals of the engine if the car is not up to normal operating temperatures when this method is employed. It will also accelerate starter wear. While I’m sure starters have come a long way over the years, they were not designed to start the car 20-50 times a day. Thats over 10 times an increase in starts per day assuming 3 trips. Modern cars with stop-start technology have been designed from the get go with more robust starter motors. Again, one must weight the cost and headache of a possible starter replacement with fuel savings.

What gives me hope is the influx of stop-start vehicles in the future; with the 9% fuel savings that the stop-start equipped European Mini claims, the technology can’t come soon enough!

Low Viscosity Oil is another item requiring an informed approach. Low viscosity oil can break down under high temperature environments and cause severe damage to engine components. In temperate climates and low engine load conditions this may not be as much of as concern.

All of the above methods will conserve fuel – but what needs to be considered is at what point is it worth it for you.

Added more info to cruise control usage – I had glossed over that originally, thanks to the comments for bringing it to my attention.

NPR just ran a story on Hypermilers this morning. The more extreme methods of Hypermiling are not discussed (other than rolling through stop signs). The fact that Curtis Adam’s wife drives separately negates the whole idea!

As predicted

Our last minute costume

This weekend was totally insane. Outside of the fact that I spent most of the weekend helping Katty with her move, my uncle and aunt were in town, I sold the Jetta, and there were more than a few Halloween parties to go to! Let me begin with Friday morning…

We often park Katty’s car in the alley next to her building when bringing a bunch of stuff up or down the stairs. We always put the hazards on and we never leave it there for more than 15 min. Until Thursday night. It totally slipped both our minds. Friday morning we went out to get her car and go sign the lease – when we got outside we saw a familiar car sitting in the alley. I was convinced it was somebody else’s car as we would never have left it there! Luckily there was no ticket. But the leaving the Hazards on all night kills the battery. D’OH! As Katty called AAA I got out of the car and decided to ask the only guy walking down the street if he had a vehicle and jumper cables. He sighed and said… “yea, I do”. He totally came to our rescue! The situation was resolved in 5 minutes! Of course it just added to the stress factor already present!

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Continue reading As predicted

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin


We drove up to Wisconsin after work to watch Matt’s friend Jay participate in a historical race at Road America. When we arrived they had just finished looking over the day’s data. The sun had set and there was an unusual silence in the air. Each beast had been put to sleep for the night, awaiting their wakeup call in the morning. Jay’s beast is a 1960s CanAm McLaren M6B – and an incredible specimen at that! Can’t wait to hear it amongst its brethren!


From one entry about cars to another! I can’t help it, I’m too excited about what I accomplished this past weekend not to post about it! Yes, part of this weekend did involve seeing Pixar’s Cars but I’ll get to that in a moment. First I must get to these videos!

YES! The Beast is finally running again! I could hardly believe it myself! With the assortment of parts I have in my GTI from different VWs, I was quite hesitant to start it up for the first time – but start it did! Besides a minor oil-leak (which I already know how to fix) it runs great! I have quiet a few other things to take care of before its an everyday driver, but this was a HUGE first step!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Katty and I caught a showing of Cars on Sunday night! I very much enjoyed it! There is humor for everybody, but I REALLY enjoyed the stuff targeted to the car crowd! It really got me stoked to go on a nice scenic drive with the GTI!
Continue reading Cars!

To Hell and back – in a Ford GT

A sign that you are in Hell

HELL, Michigan (AP) — They’re planning a hot time in Hell on Tuesday. The day bears the date of 6-6-06, or abbreviated as 666 — a number that carries hellish significance. And there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that the day will go unnoticed in the unincorporated hamlet 60 miles west of Detroit.

This was the story I found on CNN recently. How many people can say they have been to Hell and back? What better vehicle to do it in than a Ford GT

Continue reading To Hell and back – in a Ford GT


Atajo is the spanish word for shortcut. This picture was taken while follwing the now infamous “Jane” (gps) shortcuts. In order to avoid the 8km of stopped traffic entering Burgos Jane took us through some of the most scenic roads I have been on in Spain. As we were the lead car in the caravan I could only imagine the reaction of Tio Santi when we turned on to the gravel road! Aita was laughing histerically as we kicked up a storm of dust! After 10 min of gravel road we had a steep climb that ended directly at the highway! I was almost as much in disbelief as the rest – but I knew better. Jane knows better!