On smart driving and hypermiling

Hypermiling – I first heard of it on the car radio while driving. The radio program was talking about efficient driving and tips on hypermiling. Hypermiling is the process of getting more mileage by driving efficiently and maintaining your car properly. The tips I heard were quite useful and practical. But it takes a conscious driver to practice those tips.

I drive an Accord, which is not really the most fuel-efficient car. Since I heard those fuel-saving tips over the program, I tried to do them so that I not only save on gas, I also help Mother Nature by reducing my carbon footsteps.

1. Proper planning. I try to plan my trips so I don’t have to go back and forth areas. I also try to leave early so that I don’t have to rush and over-accelerate. Over-accelerating is one practice that wastes a lot of gas.

2. Cruising. When there is no traffic, it is often tempting to accelerate. But I’ve learned it’s more efficient to cruise – maintain a steady speed and cruise without stepping on the gas. I do this until I notice the speedometer slowly drop so when it does, I start stepping on the gas gradually again.

3. Correct tire gauge. An under-inflated tire is said to increase fuel consumption by as much as 6%. Every time I gas up, I also have my tires checked. It’s become a habit. Lately though, I’ve been using nitrogen which costs a bit more, but I was surprised because it improved my fuel efficiency by about 10 kilometers per full tank. Not bad.

4. Proper maintenance. Did you know that poor car maintenance wastes as much as 50% of fuel?? Don’t forget periodic check-ups that include changing engine oil and cleaning or changing the air filter. A clean car also has lesser emissions.

5. Drive coolly. Over-speeding aggressively to catch up with that stupid driver who cut you on the road is useless. It’s a waste of precious fuel, time and energy. There are a lot of stupid people on the road, and there’s nothing you can do to change them. 😛

Are you a smart driver?

Shell Pilipinas is searching for the country’s Smartest Drivers to join the Philippine team in the Shell Eco-Marathon. YOU can be part of the team. How?

1. If you have a valid driver’s license, you can join the search. Simply shoot a video that shows how your driving techniques minimize fuel consumption. Don’t forget to end the video with the catch phrase: “Ang Pinoy na matipid sa gasolina, _________________.” Be creative!

2. Log on to www.topgear.com.ph/shellsmartestdrivers and upload your video.

3. Submission of entries is up to June 20, 2010. All participants will be given a premium item from Shell.

4. Ten finalists will be selected out of all submissions. They will each be given P10,000 worth of Shell fuel vouchers. These ten finalists will go through a fuel economy boot camp on June 26, and from them the two Smartest Drivers will be chosen.

5. These two lucky, smart drivers will be part of Team Philippines the first ever Shell Eco-Marathon Asia in Malaysia from July 8 to 11, where they will compete with other drivers on fuel-efficient driving.

6. Grand prize winner gets a fuel-efficient car!

So grab your video cams now and shoot your fuel-saving tips. It could win you a car, and a chance to be an Earth hero too.

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