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By Robert Rapier on Apr 30, 2008 with no responses

Advanced Techniques for Improving Gas Mileage

Note: My article on the recent trip to Choren is finished, but I am waiting to hear back from them before I post it. I signed a non-disclosure agreement before I toured the plant, and I want to make sure they are OK with what I wrote. As soon as I hear back from them, I will post it.

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I ran across an interesting article today. Some of the claims are suspect, but I may have to test some of them out:

“Hypermiling” drives savings as fuel costs soar

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – As U.S. gasoline prices hit records on almost a daily basis, an increasing number of motorists are following a radical driving technique designed to eke out every last mile from a tank of fuel.

Known as ‘hypermiling,’ the method can double gas mileage, even in gas-guzzling vehicles that would normally get less than 20 mpg.

Promoted on a growing number of Web sites, hypermiling includes pumping up tires to the maximum rating on their sidewalls, which may be higher than levels recommended in car manuals; using engine oil of a low viscosity, and the controversial practice of drafting behind other vehicles on the highway to reduce aerodynamic drag — a practice begun a few years ago by truck drivers.

That practice wasn’t begun a few years ago by truckers. I used to do it 20 years ago. But I don’t recommend the practice. It is very dangerous. I would also be careful about that tire pressure; I have seen a few blow out before.

As far as the claims go, I think some of these are pretty far-fetched. But I have never personally attempted any these techniques:

Adherence to hypermiling and other disciplines are designed to boost mileage well in excess of the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration’s official ratings, which apply to each car model.

Wayne Gerdes, a former nuclear plant operator from Wadsworth, Illinois, and the originator of hypermiling, said he gets 40-70 mpg out of his Ford Ranger pickup truck, about doubling its official fuel consumption of 25 mpg.

Hypermiling can even make fuel-sipping gas-electric hybrid cars more efficient. Chuck Thomas, 50, a computer programmer from Lewisville, Texas, said he has been getting 71 mpg from his Honda Insight, a hybrid whose EPA rating is 58 mpg, in the two years since he has been hypermiling.

Those kinds of claims sound to me like “you can run your car on water.” Anyone have any first-hand knowledge of getting much more than the EPA’s official ratings?