Constant use of your car and cutting fuel costs are not usually words which are used in the same sentence, but a new trend called Hypermiling believes this is possible.
With Cardiff’s average petrol cost at 132.4p for unleaded and 139.5p for diesel, Hypermiling aims to maximise fuel economy and reduce emissions by using a set of driving techniques.
The driving craze has been splashed across the internet and filtered through to garages and driving schools in an attempt to pinch the pennies by up to 40 per cent on ever-rising petrol costs. But some driving schools and garages question its effectiveness.
One Hypermiling technique is ‘drafting’ which involves following the vehicle in front and sitting in their slip stream. But some Hypermilers take this to the extreme of tailgating. Dewi Jones, 47, manages his driving school called Drive-tastic in Thornhill, Cardiff and believes cutting corners in driving is not always the safest road to success. He said: “I’ve seen lots of tailgating on the roads and safety always has to come before saving a few pence.
“This kind of driving will just reduce your life expectancy. It’s all about finding a balance.”
But for some people Hypermiling is almost a necessity to save money. Kyle Galtry 22, is a student at Cardiff University and said after becoming a Hypermiler he has saved eight miles to the gallon on petrol. He said: “With the rise in fuel costs I have to use these tricks because it really does save money.
“I find it a safer way to drive because I keep a constant speed and try not to brake harshly.”
Lee Cronick, 30, manager of Atlas tyre service said: “Some of the hypermiling tips are spot on like keeping your tyres pumped up. There is definitely an issue of people leaving their tyres under-inflated which will slow your car down.
“But some people keep their car in free roll while on the motorway and it is not the safest thing to do.
“My best advice is to get a motorbike, and look after your tyres.”
The key seems to be to not take the Hypermiling lifestyle at face value and to use certain techniques in an appropriate situation. Ted Wakely, 76, from the Red Dragon Driving School taught driving for 40 years and said: “Eco-driving is definitely a good thing; it’s all about driving at a constant speed and keeping control, which is what we teach here.
“I think Hypermiling makes a difference. Speeding and racing won’t get you far because the car will just gobble up the fuel. Driving like an idiot won’t get you anywhere.”
The Hypermiling Techniques
1: Slow down - The faster you go the more drag and resistance is placed upon your car.
2: Coasting - to save on fuel simply remove your foot from the accelerator when approaching a junction or red light. When coasting in gear a modern engine will not use any fuel.
3: Drive without breaks - Every time you brake you effectively turn fuel into heat & brake dust. Using your breaks less will maximises your car’s stored momentum and energy.
4: Drive defensively - Plan your journey and anticipate the road ahead and you will effectively have control over your safety and fuel consumption.
5: Don’t drive! - Short journeys use much more fuel than longer ones. If you don’t have to drive than put the keys away and put on your walking shoes!