Save gas with hypermiling, just like NASCAR

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A man and woman enjoying a nice Sunday drive in their top-down convertible. Maybe they're so happy because hypermiling has saved them so much gas…

Hypermiling is a great way to save gas, money AND the environment. (Photo: ThinkStock)

If you think gas is too expensive and would like to improve your automobile’s fuel economy, consider hypermiling. This “gentle driving” technique that has been perfected by NASCAR will help you save money by enabling you to squeeze as many miles per gallon as possible out of your gas tank. As How Stuff Works puts it, what works on the track can work just as well on the highway. With hypermiling, you may even get more life out of your older car before you need an auto loan to get you on your way toward your next vehicle. However, if you’re in that situation, check out these ways to save on your new auto purchase.

Hypermiling means leaving the lead foot at home

Hypermiling is sometimes called “gentle driving,” and there’s good reason for that. As opposed to quickly accelerating out of a stop and driving fast until you have to pound the brakes to stop, hypermiling techniques suggest slow and gradual acceleration and deceleration. Some studies have indicated that a car’s mpg can nearly be doubled with a soft touch. If it’s safe to drive 30 or 40 mph on surface streets instead of 50, hypermiling advocates taking advantage. Furthermore, if you have the confidence to coast into a stop instead of accelerating until the last possible moment, you can hypermile. Even with SUVs and similar vehicles that traditionally consume more gasoline showed as much as a 35 percent increase in some tests, according to Yahoo Autos.

Have trouble maintaining a constant reasonable speed? Use cruise control

Cruise control isn’t a new invention, but not everyone has the patience to use it. In order to be effective at hypermiling, however, drivers must condition themselves into slowing down and working the accelerator and brake gently. One study cited by How Stuff Works found that using cruise control at 30 to 40 mph can increase fuel economy by double-digit percentages.

NASCAR isn’t always pedal to the metal

When there’s a caution flag and NASCAR drivers are following the pace car, no passing is allowed and all vehicles must maintain a slow pace until it has been deemed safe to restart the race. It’s times like those when hypermiling is possible. Saving fuel when things slow down could mean one less pit stop before the end of a race, which could be the difference between victory lane and finishing in the middle of the pack. If it’s good enough for noted NASCAR drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (he once told the Associated Press that “everyone’s doing it”), shouldn’t it be good for the rest of us on the highway? Considering how many gallons of fuel NASCAR goes through in a typical season (an estimated 175,000 gallons, according to some reports), they should lead the way in how to save fuel. They’re doing their part, and hypermiling plays a large role.

For even more helpful tips on how to improve your gas mileage, check out this article.

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