Out of necessity, I’ve become a hypermiler. I am now commuting up to seventy miles a day in a 5,000 pound Ford F250 pickup truck powered by a V10 engine. In the city, I get approximately 11 miles per gallon and about 13 on the highway. It’s safe to say this vehicle is not a gas hog; it’s a fuel sucking Tyrannosaurus rex.
Hypermiling is the practice of driving using techniques that maximize fuel economy. Those using these techniques are referred to as hypermilers. It gained popularity as a result of the rise in gasoline prices during the late 2000s. A month ago I was getting about 380 miles per tank of gas but now I’m hitting close to 470 miles. As a former racecar driver, it is difficult for me to drive in a manner that conserves energy over distance; my instinct is to save time over distance. I’m learning that it takes a lot of awareness and concentration to optimize fuel efficiency.
With all the computers now in our vehicles and in the smart phones we carry, where is the app that can help me hypermile? These devices have GPS and accelerometers so they should be able to coach us with voices commands and advice. Examples: 1) “Given the speed limit on this road, you are accelerating too fast, back off the gas pedal, 2) “The next traffic light will turn red in 5 seconds, left off the gas pedal and coast”, or 3) “the next two traffic lights will stay green for 45 seconds, increase speed to 5 miles per hour over the limit to avoid breaking for a red light”.
All the technology exists to help us save millions of gallons of fuel per day across the country. We just need to apply it in a smart way.