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ke7ofi 07-26-2018 07:32 PM

How should I get into hypermiling?
 
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Howdy!

I'm a mechanical engineering student from Portland, Oregon, and I'm looking at getting into hypermiling a bit more. I mostly just played around with my Justy on dirt roads (37mpg on the highway, 22mpg one time when I kept it in first gear and 4WD for hours on end, but usually about 30mpg), dailying the family Civic and getting about 35mpg in that.

I've been living without any sort of car for the last few months, and after getting 52mpg in a rental Fit in my first serious attempt at hypermiling, I've decided I want to give it a try full-time.

The Justy has a nasty habit of breaking hard-to-find or expensive parts whenever I take it anywhere, so I'm looking at getting either an Insight (if I can find one for under $2000 or so) or just some random $500 car I don't feel bad about basjoosing. Right now, I'm leaning toward using the cheap car as a testbed to see if I can max it out, then buying an Insight and cutting only sparingly into my beautiful aluminum car.

Does anyone have recommendations as to a platform for a cheap car? I'm thinking of just getting a sedan so I can make a good road trip car, but I'm also tempted to get a ZX2 and shoot for top speed or something like that.

Daschicken 07-26-2018 11:23 PM

Gee, I thought you needed to be told what techniques to try, this is just another one of those difficult "which car should I buy?" threads! I vote cheap testbed, we need more people doing serious mods. :thumbup:

Civics are usually a good platform with several engine choices as well as taller transmission choices.

ke7ofi 07-26-2018 11:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daschicken (Post 574662)
Gee, I thought you needed to be told what techniques to try, this is just another one of those difficult "which car should I buy?" threads!

Sorry, I haven't lurked enough to know what people usually talk about. I mostly just DWL and minimize braking (which somehow got me 58% over EPA in the Fit!), but I am curious as to how to optimally handle long hills. Is it better to apply constant throttle in high gear or just downshift? I don't understand the underlying processes enough to know.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daschicken (Post 574662)
I vote cheap testbed, we need more people doing serious mods. :thumbup:

Yeah, the Aerocivic is pretty inspiring. A Civic would definitely be nice, but I don't see any VXes on Craigslist, and an engine/trans swap is way beyond my skill level right now. One of the things making aeromodding so tempting is that it seems like it can be pretty effective even when applied with only a rudimentary understanding of aerodynamics, and it doesn't take a ton of mechanical skill to make belly panels or (rear) fender skirts.

mpg_numbers_guy 07-26-2018 11:40 PM

Cheap beater cars that can be ecomodded...first that comes to mind is the Toyota Echo. Super cheap, even cheaper insurance, and great MPG. A Civic would be great too, except that when you're looking at the sub-$1000 range a lot of the ones can be beat up ricer cars (thanks a lot, younger generation :rolleyes:....oh wait, I'm part of that younger generation. Ecomodding isn't rice is it???)

But yes, driving style really does count for 90% of your MPG gains! Most of my mods are removed temporarily at the moment, and with just a grille block and air dam I'm getting well over 50 MPG during personal driving in my '04 Civic sedan (automatic too). The Honda Fit is a great little car too; if they came as a sedan I'd be all over one, however the hatchback style isn't aerodynamic enough for me. :p

...And by the way, welcome to Ecomodder! :)

slowmover 07-27-2018 12:02 AM

Itís not the car, itís the driver. The tools to be used.

First (foremost) are records. Whether the Fuelly phone app or a journal one needs to know the annual fuel cost. This is expressed as cents-per-mile. It is part of the annual ownership & operational cost. It is not separate. All the other costs are as important and total higher than fuel itself.

Before the car itself is also the plan for it. How long will it be kept? How many miles in that period? Where will it be stored out of the weather (as it is rarely in use)? Who will maintain & repair it? What specific tools or manuals are necessary? What other entities will service it?

Beyond the convenience of private transportation, will it offset or produce income? What IRS rules apply? Etc.

Once acquired, how can engine cold starts and run time (engine hours) be minimized for the 90% of driving that takes us to 90% of the same places 90% of the time? (DHS study result).

These are all questions (among yet others) that are the backbone of economical operation. Stunt-driving (hypermiling) has little to do with fuel economy until use is understood and optimized.

A typical car owner can cut city fuel burn by probably twenty-percent by first cutting annual miles to achieve the same ends as before. (Heís in competition with himself; the absolute numbers donít matter).

Second, the desire to simply be a better driver means acquiring new habits. That heíll always use. Till the day he quits driving altogether. FE is second to safe operation. They track most of the way together.

Distinctly, before stunt-driving or vehicle mods are worthwhile, the driver needs new mental tools to work with, and to have a plan for the lifespan of the vehicle. To keep all costs under control. To understand trade-offs, and not use juvenile emotions to rationalize bad choices. (To which we are all subject).

Iím of the school that the best car is not the cheapest one. Neither to buy or to fuel up. Itís the one that lasts longest (at lowest cost with highest reliability) that combines family transportation with safe design (optimal mass & size). Built well enough to last over a decade in full time service.

So, start with records. FE isnít tank-by-tank. Itís a trend ó the average ó that is the game. Takes 3-5,000 miles to establish that average. Contrast it against engine hours for the dawn of understanding.

Good luck

.

ke7ofi 07-27-2018 12:55 AM

I've been tracking my fuel receipts since I got a smartphone, and I should really start tracking maintenance costs as well. I pretty much plan on just getting a disposable car for a few hundred dollars and running it for a year or so (unless I suffer some sort of failure that costs more than the car). This should give me more than enough time to test various configurations of aeromods (not in any scientific way, but well enough for my satisfaction) which I can then apply to the next one.

I don't need an aluminum tail or anything like that; over the course of a year, it's still cheaper to build it out of Coroplast and replace damaged parts. I'm still taking lifetime costs into account, but my specified service life is short enough to have pretty low standards for many things.

In summary, I currently value having something that won't depreciate over having a "good" car, although I have some basic standards so that I don't end up stranded or with economy impaired by engine condition. When I'm a proper adult with regular hours to work, I'll probably have to make some compromises for reliability and coworkers' opinions, but for now I can be pretty aggressive in terms of cost-cutting and shortsightedness.

California98Civic 07-27-2018 02:10 AM

An '04 era Saturn Ion with the tall 5 speed manual. I drove one I considered buying. Great gearing. If you get the suicide door coupe you woukd have a unique vehicle. Also, a sixth gen Civic with the five speed, especially the CX or the DX HATCH (not coupe) will come with the same gearing as the famous HX but without the added lean burn complexity. The older lean burn cars are proving hard to maintain fully operational in high miles and beat up examples.


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