By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — The concept of hypermiling is making a comeback. Popular three or four years ago, hypermiling fell out of fashion when gas prices dropped.

It’s a strategy that emphasizes driving efficiently, smoothly, and smartly.

“Basically it’s all about anticipation, distance, and efficient use of the energy you have on board,” says one local hypermiler who calls himself “Hobbit.”

“It is absolutely about 360 awareness and 100 percent attention to the task at hand, which is driving. No distractions,” he said. That includes cell phones and texting behind the wheel.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

The biggest tips for would-be hypermilers are all ways to keep your RPMs low.

You want to avoid jackrabbit starts or sudden stops whenever possible.

Anticipate red lights and stop signs, and coast into them, rather than accelerating and then jamming the brakes.

In other words – drive smoothly.

A lot of hypermilers tend to own fuel-efficient vehicles, like those with hybrid engines. But you don’t need a Prius to improve your MPG. Other tips include making sure your tires are inflated to the maximum pressures listed on their sidewalls, and emptying out your car of any extra weight in the trunk or back seat.

Some strategies run afoul of the law and common sense. Trying to “draft” by tailgating a large truck on the highway, for example, might save you some pennies, but comes at a huge cost. There is also ongoing debate over whether it is a good strategy to put your car in neutral when coasting down a hill, for example.

AAA of Southern New England points out, in some states, going into neutral is not legal either.

“People just want to know, is there a way I can maximize my fuel economy?” said AAA spokesman John Paul.

Paul said one hypermiling strategy, turning off your car’s engine when you know you are going be idling more than a minute, is definitely a good one.

“Sometimes it can be good, and sometimes it can be bad. That’s the problem,” added Paul.

The Hobbit has catalogued on his website a long list of things you can do to boost your miles-per-gallon.


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