Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Sublime Hypermiling Time

100 mpg is easier than making ice cubes.

I yearn for this warm weather with the fervor of a teenaged dork longing for a Back To The Future Time Machine Lego kit. Not because it's warm, but because with it comes super sweet fuel economy. Hey, I'm not averse to burning up poisonous dinosaur juice, but I'd rather buy toys and candy than gasoline fuel.

The 1st generation Honda Insight is the most aerodynamic mass-produced vehicle to ever hit the streets. With a drag co-efficient of 0.25, it's very wind-resistant. And with a mere 1,800 lbs. to haul around, you can get better mileage than any motorcycle.

With warmer weather comes hypermiling possibilities, and it wasn't long before I was cranking out 99.1 U.S. mpg in the ol' Honda Insight. Convert that to the Imperial system, and it seems even more impressive at 119 mpg.

Hypermiling is the term given to drivers who squeeze out better mileage than the EPA standards suggest for a specific model of car. Typically, one can expect to achieve worse than the EPA numbers, as the cars are tested under the most ideal circumstances possible, and may or may not be covered in magical fairy dust. However, with an aluminum & magnesium car whose sole purpose is to get great mileage it is possible, with some hypermiling tricks, to achieve almost unbelievable mileage figures.

Hypermilers are stiff. I mean, we don't mind a bumpier ride. Filling the tires more than the car manufacturer suggests is the first easy step to saving money. We run 40 psi all around in our Insight. Others have gone as high as 50.

What's the rush? If you're tyring to hypermile, slow is the name of the game. I drive at the exact speed limit, carefully letting off the accelerator until I'm almost coasting. If there's no one behind me, I'll actually drive slower.

Hills help. Downhill sections of road are the easiest way to save fuel. Instead of keeping my foot on the gas and building up speed, I let off completely and let gravity take over. If there's an uphill section immediately following, I will build up speed on the downhill and use my momentum (Science!) to carry me up the next hill, accelerating only if necessary.

Over the past 3 years I've learned when the electric motor will offer its assistance. With a CVT automatic Insight, the electric motor rewards a quick pedal jab with hefty torque. Starting from a stoplight, a quick stomp of the pedal gets the electric motor spinning, and avoids using so much fuel. Slow starts use only the gas engine, so I do my best to slap the donkey's ass and initiate that electric motor.

Coast through life. Don't forget the virtues of coasting instead of braking. I watch traffic lights and plan ahead so I can coast as much as possible, which has two benefits. Brakes last longer and liquid pteradactyl consumption is much lower.

Finally, a controversial tip. Drafting. Get too close and the Police may view it as tailgating. But if done with extreme caution, you can carefully draft a transport trailer without getting too close, and increase your mileage considerably. I personally only follow when road conditions are excellent. I keep a safe and nag-free distance and ONLY follow trucks in the right-hand lane, giving me a shoulder to veer onto should sudden braking occur.

The results? Try it and see for yourself.

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Blogger Ms. Creek said...

Ahhhh, very very interesting and it is USEFUL info!

10:11:00 PM

Blogger Becky said...

I am physically unable to drive slow. I can't do it, at least five over the speed limit or I will explode, literally! I have issues! lol

11:58:00 AM

Blogger Monogram Queen said...

I really need to practice your fuel conserving tips in my Charger! Just popping for a quick catch-up today!

1:07:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

Thanks for stopping by! Yes, even with a Charger you can save gas by doing any one of these tricks. But why? It's no fun in a Charger!

1:35:00 PM

Blogger honkeie2 said...

get a stick, there are more possibilities when you drive a manual tranny....and I am not talking about a transvestie that goes both ways either.

2:38:00 PM

Blogger TheatreChick73 said...

I just knew I wasn't tailgating....I'm drafting for fuel economy. Thanks so much for the clarification!

2:46:00 PM

Blogger Michael Manning said...

Hard to imagine a DMC 12 with cruise control. But the one I've seen since I've lived in Arizona was cruising aong beautifully at dusk. Such a great looking machine. I guess I'm out of step on the fuel eficiencies because I'm too in love with cars like yours! If I ever visit Canada, I'd like a ride! I don't know anyone who can say "I've riden in a DeLorean". :)

10:40:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

The DeLorean is definately a cruiser/GT Touring car (which gets surprisingly good mileage by the way). While it can't compete with the 1980s Ferrari's speed-wise, it certainly does style-wise.

If you're coming for a visit, just make sure it's during our brief 8 weeks of summer!

10:25:00 AM

Blogger The T-Dude said...

I do the coasting/planning ahead at lights and it does make a difference!

7:47:00 AM

Blogger Jay said...

OOoooooooooooooooooh :)

8:21:00 AM

Blogger Michael Manning said...

Martini: I took the test and wound with a Saab 9-3! Many thanks for the heads up!!!! :D)

11:55:00 PM


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