Movin' Very Slowly: Hypermiling

When we had our old Acura Legend, we were addicted to its fuel-economy display. We generally averaged around 21 mpg, which included a 33-mile Walnut Creek-to-San Francisco commute that was 2/3 open freeway and 1/3 brutal congestion (hello, MacArthur Maze and Bay Bridge). On a trip from Portland back down the East Bay, we were running low on gasoline coming down out of the Cascades. The meter showed that we were gaining miles to empty, prompting our friend Brett to exclaim, "This is the best car ever! It actually makes gas!" Wayne Gedes also got hooked on eking fuel economy out of an Acura — in this case, his wife's MDX.

And post-9/11, he made a commitment to use as little fuel as possible, exploring techniques and acronyms that have earned him the title "King of the Hypermilers." We've been known to compare our hairball run from Ozona, TX to Sacramento, CA in an overloaded Durango with a misfire towing an improperly-loaded trailer as some sort of low-speed 24 Heueres du Mans. At one point, we planned to fill up in a town where all of the gas stations were closed. And then we had to climb a mountain. Our tags were out of date, so if a cop pulled over to assist, we were toast. The trailer was our only shield. We had to make it to the top of the mountain, where sweet, nourishing petroleum and caffeine awaited us. And we did, just barely. But it was literally 20 minutes of the most nail-biting, sign-of-the-cross-making, RPM-counting, Blarney-stone tonguing, rabbit-rabbit-on-the-first driving we've ever done. And we've engaged in some rather hairball extralegal stuff over the years.

Hypermiling is all about strategery. And according to this bit in Mother Jones, nobody's better at it than Wayne. We doff our cap to his brilliant 180mpg performance. [Thanks to the Mighty Thnderblt for the tip.]

This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk [Mother Jones]

Related:
Honda Accord Hybrid Gets Price Increase, Mileage Decrease [Internal]