June 11, 2008

'Hypermiling' to Save Big on Gas

Take a spin with John Flory on a glorious summer day and you'll notice a certain focus from the Yale lab supervisor. He ignores the Connecticut countryside and sprawling homes, eyes fixed on the road and his miles per gallon gauge. "Going downhill is kinda like road candy," he smiles. "Here's some free miles per gallon for you."

Flory is among the growing numbers of "hypermilers" -- drivers obsessed with tire pressure and wind drag, controlled starts and rolling stops. He does his best to time green lights and only uses his air conditioner while coasting downhill. He shuts off the engine at stop lights and only parks "nose out." They may seem like annoyingly minor techniques, but they add up to big savings. The sticker on his Honda hybrid promised him 66 miles per gallon. He wants to double it. "For my 68-mile commute, I've averaged 103.6 mpg. That's my best so far, but I think I can do better."