Fuel efficiency


Hypermilers Increase Fuel Efficiency, Save Money on Gas

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How much gas can you save? 

In this tough economy, that question has become a challenge many are eager to attempt.  People are looking to save as much as they possibly can on gas. Some even resort to extreme measures, and manage to increase their fuel efficiency to well beyond the listed EPA estimates.  You may have already heard of them – they’re called “hypermilers.”

Hypermilers have graced plenty of headlines in the past few years.  The word was even added to the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2008, and was chosen as “best new word of the year.”  Unfortunately for hypermilers, some headlines were not as positive.  The technique came under fire for unsafe practices, eventually resulting in the creation of the Hypermiling Safety Foundation in 2008 to improve the image of hypermilers who use safe techniques to save money on gas.


Some of the techniques that have attracted media attention are dangerous practices like drafting and coasting.  Drafting involves tailgating the vehicle in front in order to decrease wind resistance.  Athletes use this practice in bicycling, car racing, speed skating, and even running.  Drivers will also “coast” through stop signs.  Obviously these practices are very dangerous, and illegal in many states.

Some hypermilers even compete at fuel economy competitions and set world records.  For example, at the Maximum Fuel Economy Contest in Elkhart, Indiana, a driver set a record for the Honda Insight by getting 213mpg.  To achieve such impressive fuel efficiency, however, drivers often use dangerous techniques that could not be implemented in real world driving situations.

The Hypermiling Safety Foundation works to promote safe hypermiling techniques.  Such techniques include accelerating slowly, braking gently, and maintaining the speed limit.  Higher speeds can result in greater drag, and you actually waste more gas.  According to CleanMPG, drivers can improve their fuel economy by 10% by driving 55mph instead of 65mph.

Other safe ways to increase fuel economy include reducing your cargo, avoiding idling, checking your tire pressure and following your car’s maintenance guidelines.  Hypermilers will also carefully watch traffic ahead, plan their route carefully, and avoid congestion.  They may also park their car so they can roll forward out of the spot, instead of backing out.

If you are looking to emulate hypermilers, we at PenskeAutomotive strongly urge you to follow safe driving practices.  Be aware of state laws, never break the law or put yourself and others in danger.  Obey stop signs and traffic rules.  Paying for gas might be expensive, but paying for an accident will cost you much more.  Your life is priceless – saving a few cents is never worth your life.  Stay safe!

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2012 Honda Insight Gets Better Gas Mileage

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Honda has announced the starting price for the 2012 Honda Insight: $19,120.  The price includes a $770 destination and handling fee.

The 2012 model has only undergone a few updates to refresh it for next year.  Such updates include redesigned 15-inch wheels, and a lower front fascia to make it more aerodynamic.  With its new aerodynamic design, the hybrid hatchback gets a better fuel economy, with 41 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 42 mpg combined, giving it the highest EPA fuel economy rating for new vehicles under $20,000.

Honda also redesigned the interior, making it more comfortable for passengers.  Better sound deadening materials give it improved noise insulation, making for a quiet ride.  Backseat passengers can enjoy increased legroom and headroom.  The base model also includes automatic climate control and power windows.  On the outside, a thinner spoiler and a more compact rear-wiper motor give the driver better visibility.

The 2012 Honda Insight comes in three version: base, LX, and EX.  For the Insight LX, which starts at $20,895, drivers can expect better seat fabric, a four-speaker sound system, USB audio interface, security system, map lights, steering wheel audio controls, and more.  For the Insight EX, which starts at $22,585, the benefits increase even more, with automatic headlights, synthetic leather and fabric for seats, a six-speaker sound system, a Bluetooth hands free phone system, and a navigation option that includes a rearview camera.

The Honda Insight was one of the first hybrid electric vehicles to come to the US in 1999.  The first generation of the Insight ran from 2000 to 2006 and used a subcompact hatchback design that only fit two people.  In 2009, Honda released the second generation Insight, this time using an all-new 5-passenger, 5-door platform.

Overall, the new Insight is quieter and more efficient and features a nicer interior, providing drivers with a more comfortable ride.

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How to Save the Most on Gas

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Since September, we’ve seen a steady decline in gas prices, but apparently they’re not falling fast enough.  Falling gas prices are typical in fall.  Compared to this time last year, the national average price of gas is about $0.70 more per gallon.  In Fall 2010, the average cost of gas was $2.71; this year, it’s 3.41.

While gas prices should continue to decrease over the next week, drivers will undoubtedly still be looking for ways to save money on gas.  Overall, drivers can save money by practicing safer driving and following their car maintenance guidelines.

Here are some tips to help you increase fuel efficiency:


Don’t Idle

While your car does use a little bit of gas to turn on, in general, if you are stopped for more than a minute, you’ll use more gas standing than you would use if you turned your car off and back on.  So if you are picking up your kids from school or waiting with them at the bus stop for longer than a minute, turn off the car and save gas.


Keep Your Tires Inflated

Properly inflated tires will reduce friction between the tire and the road, allowing you to get better gas mileage.  Make sure you fill up to the recommended tire pressure, and then continue to check your pressure with a tire gauge every month.


Follow Maintenance Guidelines

Your car was built to work a certain way, and if you skip getting your vehicle serviced, you might run into more problems than just poor fuel efficiency.  Check your driver’s manual to see when you need to change your oil, filter, etc.


Compare Gas Prices

…but don’t go crazy.  Look for the cheapest gas prices in the area.  However, if you have to drive ridiculously out of the way just to save a couple more cents per gallon, then you’ll probably waste more gas than you end up saving.


The Most Important Tip: Drive Safely

Tailgating is not only dangerous, but it consumes more fuel.  Every time the car accelerates, it uses more gas.  So when you have to slam on the brakes suddenly, then accelerate suddenly, you’re using more gas than you need to use.


Instead, keep a safer following distance. That way, when traffic ahead slows down or stops, you can ease off the gas and, if necessary, brake gently. Once you have reached the speed limit, the car does not use as much fuel to keep going, since inertia will carry it forward.  When you let the car slow down naturally, you won’t waste all that gas you used to accelerate in the first place.  Using cruise control can help you maintain your speed.



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