I’ve been doing some more experimenting with hypermiling lately. One big thing I’ve found is that 40mph is kind of a sweet spot for driving efficiency for my car (the 2007 Dodge Charger). The way I know this is because of how the car coasts. If I’m going 50 on level pavement, and I put the car in neutral to coast to a light or stop sign, the speed quickly drops at a rate of about a mile a second until it hits 40mph. Once it hits 40 then it drastically changes the deceleration and is about one mile per 5+ seconds. It has proven to be very consistent.
What this tells me is that, if possible, I should try to typically drive no faster than 40mph on surface streets. Doing so will significantly reduce drag, increase overall efficiency, and overall mpg. This has altered my driving a bit and I either try to avoid higher speed streets, or I end up not always “keeping up” with the other drivers and actually driving the speed limit more often. Even though my driving style needed to be altered to accommodate for my findings, it’s all worth it in the end – for at least two reasons. One is the increased mileage, and two is the less aggressive driving style. Of course there are negatives too – most commonly, more people tailgate me now. I’ve learned to ignore them.
I’m not going to have as many opportunities to practice my hypermiling in the car starting in about a week. I bought a motorcycle for my daily commuting and my wife will start using the car as her daily driver instead of the Yukon (yes, the full sized SUV. Can’t trade it in….). She is also going to be getting a scooter soon so the car may end up sitting for long periods of time in the near future. Between my motorcycle and her scooter, we’ll be going from around $450 a month in gas to about $100 a month, as well as producing a lot less CO2.