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King of the Hypermilers: 59 MPG in an Old Honda Accord

With gas prices climbing towards $4/gallon (I was in San Francisco last week, where gas prices had already passed that level a while ago), it's no surprise that people are trying to maximize their car's MPG.

But Wayne Gerdes takes it to the very extreme: he's the king of the hypermilers, and can get 59 MPG in a plain old Accord.

But you may not want to try it ... here's why:

I'm thinking that hypermiling consists of driving like a 90-year-old in a mobile sweat lodge, but I'm about to find out I'm wrong. Really, really wrong.

"Buckle up tight, because this is the death turn," says Wayne. Death turn? We're moving at 50 mph. Wayne turns off the engine. He's bearing down on the exit, and as he turns the wheel sharply to the right, the tires squeal—which is what happens when you take a 25 mph turn going 50. Cathy, Terry's wife, who is sitting next to me in the backseat, grabs my leg. I grab the door handle. As we come out of the 270-degree turn, Cathy says, "I hope you have upholstery cleaner."

Here's an interesting article by Dennis Gaffney for Mother Jones: Link - Thanks MoonCake!


I have a 1999 Saturn SL 1, which I bought used. In normal driving ( not the kamikaze stuff in the article), I clocked it at 45 MPG on a long (900 mile) highway trip, running AC! I did not believe the figure, so I redid it on the return trip. Still 45 MPG! And my normal cruise speed is 75-80 MPH.

Go figure!
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So the trade off for good mileage is turning into kind of a di¢k. No thanks. I bet all this guy talks about is how he's able to get such good MPG. Im guessing that's why the "hypermilers" hang out together, everyone else is tired of hearing about it.
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Just to be clear, both the police and any mechanic worth his salt frown upon turning off your goddamn engine while you're driving on the highway.
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The guy is a tool. Brakes and steering are power assisted by your engine on most cars. Turn the engine off and it makes the car hard to steer and harder to stop.
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Weird. I read this exact article in Reader's Digest. Do they share sources?

Anyway yes his tactics are idiotic, offensive, dangerous and extreme, but take away from it some good tips. Don't race to red lights, braking hard; it's a waste of both gas and your brake pads. Coming to a steep hill? Go ahead an put in the clutch and let your momentum keep you at a safe speed.

Don't be a jerk, of course, but there are many things one can do that WILL help gas mileage.
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"wayne's driving obsession began after 9/11. Before then, he drove "75 miles per hour in the left-hand lane," but in the wake of the attacks he vowed to minimize his personal consumption of Mideast oil. As he sees it, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda received their operating funds from all the U.S. consumers who bought Saudi oil. That money paid for the construction work that made bin Laden's family rich. "If Osama bin Laden didn't have the money to burn," Wayne says, "he wouldn't have been able to do what he did. There was a direct relationship between our addiction to oil and the World Trade Center coming down."

Wow. He does this simply because he thinks it's the right thing to do. Look at the lengths he's gone to. He's a better person than I, by far.
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Well seeing how our number one source of foreign oil is Canada he must hate hockey too. And as we use more domestic oil than foreign wouldnt he be hurting the economy? I guess he can specify exactly which oil he is refusing to use.
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SenorMysterioso, it's easily researchable on Google where the gas at particular gas stations comes from (in terms of countries). Certain stations use gas from certain provides, and their oil comes from certain regions. Chances are - if anyone knows - THIS guy knows exactly where to fill up to send, comparatively, more money North and South instead of East.
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