Are we saving fuel, or just saving OUR fuel?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Fuel Economy' started by Tom G., Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Tom G.

    Tom G. Junior Member

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    What is the purpose of our hypermiling behaviors?

    If it is to save money, fine. Right now I'm paying less then seven cents a mile for my fuel.

    If is for bragging rights, fine- I'm averaging 59 on the computer for 17,000 miles, 56 on bought fuel.

    But if it is to be green and reduce total fuel usage, don't we have to consider the impact of our driving on other drivers? What does our behavior do to their mileage?

    Example- I'm maintaining speed/slowly decelerating on a grade, but a truck is coming behind me trying to keep his momentum. In that case, I will accelerate so that he can do so, and in so doing my total fuel savings will offset the loss in my tank.

    If I am in a long line of cars I will be careful to allow oncoming cars to make their left turns in front of me in order to avoid several other cars decelerating or idling behind that car- even if it costs me a little fuel.

    I'm sure there are other examples of how our driving habits can save more fuel than just OUR fuel.
     
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    I wish to have minimal impact on my fellow drivers. Saving him fuel at the cost of annoying him is not a win.
     
  3. Insight-I Owner

    Insight-I Owner 2006 Insight-I MT + 2011 Prius

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    On other side of this is that I can't drive for other people beyond a certain point. If someone (and this includes some truck drivers) is driving distracted (on their cell, whatever), speeding, or just plain such a lousy driver that they can't even change lanes to go around me, that's their problem, not mine. And it's not just a fuel problem, it's a safety issue as well.
    Sure I'll stay to the right, let vehicles merge ahead of me, help them by, do what I can to avoid annoying people, and certainly never try to force people to drive my speed. But there are limits.
    Also worth pondering: when a speeder comes up behind and slows down, that doesn't waste fuel. What wastes fuel is his acceleration back up to his previous speeding and the aero drag from there on. His choice, not mine.
    Finally, what about ME getting annoyed by dangerous distracted driving behaviors? A semi driver speeding along, 80,000lbs controlled by one hand while the other is holding a cell to his ear? Certainly HE isn't worried about annoying ME.
     
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  4. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    Sure it is. Annoyance (especially in the realm of driving, which is rife with annoyance) is a minor thing. Fuel is one of the biggest problems we have.
     
  5. wheezyglider

    wheezyglider Active Member

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    From the thread title I thought you were asking if our use of less fuel just helps keep gas cheap enough for the guys driving Hummers or for the zillions of new car buyers in China. But to your actual topic, I think you're right -- that truck is going to burn *way* more fuel than you'd ever save by slowing him down.

    There was also a recent study that showed that cars who drive like trucks (hey that's us!) help to smooth the flow for everyone, which no doubt saves fuel. It would be great if clogged freeway sections had automated changeable speed limit signs that kept everyone moving at a constant speed -- even if it was just 10 mph -- instead of zoom to 30, slam the brakes, cut someone off, and repeat. But human nature, oy veh!
     
  6. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    Most of the hypermiling behavior recommended here will decrease fuel usage for not only the one doing it, but many of the cars around them. Driving smoothly, driving without brakes, keeping a good distance away from cars in front, these all save fuel for many people. Some, like driving the average speed in a traffic jam will help reduce the traffic jam not only increasing everyone mileage, but getting them home quicker.
     
  7. Insight-I Owner

    Insight-I Owner 2006 Insight-I MT + 2011 Prius

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    On a multilane highway, what works is to give a semi coming up behind you 10-15 flashes of the hazard flashers (just as a truck would do to another truck). While he is still WAY back and can find a slot in the next lane to ease left into. No problem, assuming he is not too preoccupied with his cell to notice. That said, there ARE limits. Around here 40mph is legal in 65mph zone, but I wouldn't go that slow because traffic has a hard time handling those closing speeds. But 50-55mph works OK.

    On a two-lane road maintain the speed limit if a truck (or a car) is behind you rather than speed and endanger yourself. If no one is behind you, go below the speed limit if you want to (for example at the top of a hill or when you expect to need to slow down soon anyway).

    I found it hard to develop an awareness of traffic behind me after so many years of speeding, which focuses attention forwards.
     
  8. fjpod

    fjpod Member

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    Saving fuel...are we really saving fuel?? We use less gasoline, so the price of oil comes down, so people react by using more fuel.

    If we have too much fuel, or if OPEC has too much because we're not buying as much, they will just sell it somewhere else, or slow down production until prices rise. It's a vicious cycle. Hard to tell if we are really helping...anyone but ourselves.
     
  9. wheezyglider

    wheezyglider Active Member

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    I'm gonna remember that and give it a try next time the opportunity is ripe. If I suddenly stop posting here then you'll know I did it wrong. :D

    Ah see, when I used to speed I always kept an eye out for Ponch & John (the CHP that is). It's sooo much more relaxing now just making sure that pickup behind me has an empty gunrack.
     
  10. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    I made a choice to save gas, I cannot make 'the other guy' chose to save gas, I was not appointed 'gas monitor'. I ride the white stripe to the right so 'they' can see to go around me and drive so as to not impact traffic more than needed.

    I hear folks claim if you do the limit, 'they ' will drive you down. I wonder if they appointed themselves to slow down all other cars, as I have no trouble driving the limit where I go. 95,000 miles in 3.25 years
     
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  11. Insight-I Owner

    Insight-I Owner 2006 Insight-I MT + 2011 Prius

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    Empty?? That means he took the gun off the rack and is aiming it at you!!!!!
     
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  12. walter Lee

    walter Lee Hypermiling Padawan

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    My personal purpose, value and meaning of hypermiling is the one I give it.

    The collective "our" purpose to hypermiling is the one a designated group collectively decides.
    This can differ depending on how you define the collective group.

    If it is to save money. I'm getting about 20% better fuel efficiency (60mpg) when calculated at the pump. My average cost has been $3.30 per gallon over 24000 miles. My previous car got 22 mpg. If I didn't hypermile I'd estimate I would be getting about 50mpg on the Prius. My goal is not to save money but just to see how far I can go...as the Frenchman said "It's Just a Game, my Love."

    If it is to be ecologically friendly, I'm using about 60% less fuel than my previous car and about 20% less fuel than if I had not hypermile at all.

    One can only drive one's own vehicle. Everyone else is going to have their own ideas about how to drive. The only one you can really save is yourself. People have a tendency to dislike being told they need saving. People tend to not like being *saved* without their permission. IMHO, most drivers (that I see locally) tend to drive the same way regardless. From what I can tell -most Washington DC metro area drivers don't care about saving fuel (theirs or yours). In fact, some the DC area drivers don't even care about safety either... unless there's a police cruiser near by or a traffic camera...

    However, if a vehicle followed my driving patterns then they would likely save fuel/energy. For example, I tend to time my Prius to go through the green traffic lights - so by following me a vehicle could possibly avoid stopping at traffic lights and increase his/her MPGs.

    The only sure way get the everyone to save fuel is to get everyone out of their private motor vehicle and to use public mass transit (or ride a bike). At one point, I was using public mass transit exclusively just because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. The Prius is much more sexier than public mass transit. Sexy is fun. :)

    Is there a way for all vehicles to somehow drive more fuel efficiently? Yes - remove the nut behind the wheel and make all vehicles robotic (like the self driving google prius). Computer simulations show that computer coordinated driving (using networked swarming algorithms) can increase fuel efficiency of the ALL of the vehicles on the road significantly.

    Skynet is not far behind....;)
     
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  13. Insight-I Owner

    Insight-I Owner 2006 Insight-I MT + 2011 Prius

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    This is what I failed to say earlier.

    When I first started hypermiling in 2006, it was all about the MPG. That has changed.

    These days I'd say my purposes are (in order of importance):

    (1) Safety - Despite what non-hypermilers conjure up in their minds as hypermiling methods, real hypermiling is far safer than what passes for "normal" driving today. Actually DRIVING the car and paying attention to the road and traffic, no jabbering on the phone. Obeying speed limits. Keeping to the right. Looking far ahead to identify traffic issues. Maintaining a buffer ahead, not tailgating. Keeping a good eye out behind so if there is no following traffic, one can slow a bit. And so on.
    (2) Stress reduction - Because I'm not rushing everywhere, trying to get ahead of other traffic, scanning for speed traps, etc., hypermiling is far less stressful and therefore less tiring than driving used to be.
    (3) MPG - it's a fun game that keeps me occupied on the road. I have to make a long road trip later this morning and I actually look forward to it, to see what MPG I can get today. Before I retired, I looked forward to my commutes for the same reason. But I'm not going to compromise (1) or (2) for MPG.
     
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  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    As Corwyn notes, the "Free Money" hypermiling techniques make you a safe driver and help traffic flow, although sometimes I find I'm not "aggressive" enough in my light timing/smart braking so I may end up holding up drivers behind me sometimes (although I'm sure I help at other times).

    But I do some altruistic hypermiling:
    - my car idles efficiently so it's better that I wait and let a guzzler go or keep moving
    - if a car is waiting to turn onto my road and a glide would cause them unnecessary idling I'll delay the glide until I have passed them
    - if I'm coming to a guaranteed timed stop and there are non-hybrid cars behind me then, unless they hypermile a glide would increase their fuel consumption since their higher drag would necessitate use of the gas pedal. So, instead I'll use gentle braking.
    - if I'm approaching an intersection with a turning lane and my slowing down could delay a following driver's passage through the intersection in a different direction to me, I'll wait until they have an opportunity to signal before deciding what to do. (Turn signals and brake lights are a form of communication. If you don't tell me you're turning how can I help you?)

    And I'll curse other drivers for being on the road and hurting my fuel economy. :p
     
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  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i drive as little as possible, saving fuel and annoyance to other drivers.
     
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  16. Tom G.

    Tom G. Junior Member

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    Good ideas.


    The impetus for my original post was a conversation with someone who pointed out that in traffic he tried to give enough space to allow cars to cross over, especially if there was a backup behind him.

    That got me to thinking that there were other ways we can save fuel than only hypermiling.
     
  17. NiHaoMike

    NiHaoMike Member

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    Trying to hypermile the other cars most likely won't work. So I just hypermile and hope others would follow along. One time as I was using SHM on the highway, another Prius was following at a safe distance for a few miles (apparently taking advantage of SHM as well) after which he went another direction.

    I suppose you could get a bumper sticker for a hypermiling site to help others realize what you're doing and get more drivers to understand how to hypermile.
     
  18. Insight-I Owner

    Insight-I Owner 2006 Insight-I MT + 2011 Prius

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    I got a license plate that says "MO MPG". I thought that was quite clear. It's surprising how many seemingly intelligent people ask me what it means.
     
  19. Braddles.au

    Braddles.au DEFAnitely using an EBH

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    Putting hypermiling aside for one moment, ask yourself if you drive in a way that helps other drivers in general. Such as:
    1. When you see someone turning into the road you are on, do you make room (by changing lane, slowing down, speeding up)?
    2. When lanes merge, do you let cars fit in "like a zipper"?
     
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  20. walter Lee

    walter Lee Hypermiling Padawan

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    Three years ago, common driving courtesy was a very rare thing in the Washington DC Metro area. Fast forward to today, not only is common driving courtesy very rare but aggressive and distracted driving has gotten much worst. So I have put aside asking myself what I could do to helps other drivers. It seems to me that the only person that I can truly save is myself. Eventually - it boils down to "don't get hit" and "don't die."
     
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