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Drastically increase your fuel economy

Published by The Editors | Filed under automotive

How can you increase your fuel economy without buying a new hybrid? Through driving techniques known as eco-driving or hypermiling.

Even without futuristic technologies, drivers can achieve eye-popping fuel economy in their current cars with nothing fancier than their brains and some lighter feet. The idea is to maintain momentum much as on a leisurely bicycle ride: accelerating only gradually, coasting whenever possible and constantly adjusting speed to minimize the need to stop.

Trials in Europe, Japan and the U.S. are finding that drivers commonly improve their fuel economy upwards of 20% after deploying a handful of eco-driving techniques. Among them: Driving more slowly on highways, shifting gears earlier in cities and shutting off the engine rather than idling at long stops.

Can’t handle driving this way on your own? Don’t worry, auto manufacturers are adding technology into cars that will let you automatically drive this way.

Within the next two years, Nissan Motor Co. plans to start offering in the U.S. and Japan a feature that it calls the “eco-pedal” — a sensor that, when the driver is accelerating too piggishly, pushes back against the driver’s foot.

Key Stats: A Toyota Prius made an 844-mile trip around Texas on a single tank of gas.
Car engines operate most efficiently at 60% of full throttle.

Resources: WSJ - Efficient Drivers Cut Emissions, but Stir Up Hot Air
MotherJones - This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk.

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