Hypermiling guide: Can it save your fleet money?
10th June 2022
Many businesses with fleets of vehicles will be feeling the bite of current fuel prices, which have been rising drastically since the start of 2022. Fleet managers will be looking for ways to make every drop of fuel take their vehicles a little further. One possible solution to this problem is hypermiling.
What is hypermiling?
Hypermiling is a term used to describe techniques that drivers can use to increase MPG. It is suggested that, by using these techniques, you could boost your MPG by around 40%. In a time when drivers may dread their journey to a fuelling station, getting an additional 40% MPG from every tank of fuel could seriously keep costs down. It is however a controversial set of techniques, as concentrating too hard on keeping fuel consumption low can make drivers less aware of the road.
What is most likely to waste fuel?
With hypermiling being the term for ultra-fuel-efficient driving, the first thing to understand before putting hypermiling techniques into use it what’s most likely to waste fuel in the first place. Having a good grasp on what habits make fuel consumption higher and what external conditions might negatively impact the efficiency of fuel consumption will help those looking to apply hypermiling techniques apply them correctly and appropriately.
How weather impacts fuel consumption
Cold weather causes higher fuel consumption. Firstly, through aerodynamics; cold air is denser than warm air, meaning your car will have to work that bit harder to travel through it than it would on a warmer day. A study by the US EPA suggests that a drop from 24 degrees Celsius to 7 degrees Celsius increases urban commute fuel consumption by between 12 and 28%.
Additionally, cold weather can adversely affect the performance of your vehicle’s components, from under the bonnet to the tires. An engine in warmer condition doesn’t have to work so hard to get warmed up and cold can affect tire pressure which will impact both the safety and efficiency of your vehicle.
What are some hypermiling techniques?
So additional miles per gallon and an increase in efficiency sounds great, but how exactly can you achieve this?
Ask yourself whether the drive is necessary
For most fleets, driving isn’t optional. However, for smaller, local businesses, it could be worth considering. Could the 5 minute drive be replaced by a 20 minute walk or a 10 minute cycle? Efficiency is obviously key for businesses, but could the money saved from not driving negate this small loss of productivity?
Maintain a sensible speed
A general reduction of 20mph can have huge benefits for your MPG. Of course, this is quite extreme – you’d end up driving too slowly in some places. However, it’s worth remembering. Perhaps driving at 60mph instead of 70mph on a motorway would make a lot of difference and keep the fuel in your vehicle for longer.
When you need to speed up, be gentle with your accelerator – don’t put too much strain on your engine.
Anticipate the road ahead
Stopping and starting frequently means more fuel is consumed. Therefore, hypermilers try to avoid stopping as much as possible. If you see a build-up of traffic ahead, begin slowing. Take your foot off the accelerator and apply a gentle brake if necessary. There’s a chance the traffic will have cleared by the time you reach it, meaning you won’t have to stop at all.
What can be achieved by driving smoothly?
Drivers who follow these techniques might also plan their journeys to avoid roads where stopping is guaranteed. If you can avoid taking a route where you’ll have to stop at multiple junctions, and instead take a route that follows a steady flow of traffic, this is likely to be favourable for your fuel economy.
Driving smoothly and avoiding stopping where possible can decrease that unnecessary fluctuation in acceleration, helping you to increase your fuel efficiency.
Drive behind other vehicles
This technique certainly brings considerations about safety to the forefront of the discussion, which we’ll talk about in a moment. Keen hypermilers will try their best to drive behind other vehicles as often as possible. This is because, when a vehicle moves, it displaces the air it is travelling through. That means any vehicle behind will face less air resistance, meaning they don’t have to push their vehicles as hard.
This technique is referred to as “drafting”, and it’s even used by racing drivers to gain advantage over the cars ahead of them.
This is a very controversial practice. It’s argued that when a driver focuses on drafting, they lose awareness on the rest of the road. If you are going to do this, make sure to maintain a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. Failure to keep a safe distance could actually see you getting fined.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
A badly maintained vehicle is a less efficient vehicle. Make sure your tyre pressure is adequate and your oil levels are topped up. A regular service is key to ensuring your vehicles are efficient. For HGVs, daily walkaround checks should be carried out to ensure that your vehicle is maintained well, so you can focus on the driving.
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Reduce the weight in your vehicle
This is another one that may not be possible for certain drivers if deliveries are being made. However, it’s a well known fact that the less weight in your vehicle, the less fuel is consumed. Are you carrying unnecessary items in the boot of your car for example? Removing them could improve your MPG.
Is hypermiling safe?
It can definitely be argued that some of these techniques aren’t safe. Travelling at slow speeds can in fact be more dangerous on some roads. You’ll also not win the respect of many other drivers on the road who might be stuck behind you as you maintain a moderate speed.
Similarly, the controversy surrounding ‘drafting’ as a technique to save fuel will probably not put you in other driver’s good books and does open you up to increased risk of accident that could hurt you or others.
Remember that following the laws of the road is more important than saving fuel, as failure to do so could cost lives. Only use hypermiling techniques when it is safe to do so – do not put yourself and other road users in danger.
How else can fleets save money?
As mentioned, hypermiling might not be the safest or most popular way to improve your MPG, but there are other ways to save on fuel costs!
One of the best ways for fleets to save money is by getting a fuel card!
With a fuel card, you could see discounts of up to 10p per litre. You’ll also save a great deal of time with HMRC approved invoices – no more holding on to receipts!
Get in touch today to find out more about fuel cards – the smart way to manage your fuel and fleet costs.
And if you want to keep a tab on your fleet’s mileage then our Mileage Count tool is the perfect addition to your fleet management tools. Learn more about how Mileage Count can improve the ease of tracking fleet mileage.back