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Today’s love: Wired’s How-To Wiki

June 10, 2008

Wired’s How-To Wiki page, found here, is a pretty fun site. With how-to’s on everything from ‘Composting‘ to ‘Staying Plugged in while Traveling’ it offers a variety of useful (and amusing) information.  I only wish I had found some of them sooner as the ‘Avoiding Late Fees’ How-To might have kept our family from being banned from every Hollywood Video, Iggle Video and library in the North Pittsburgh area. (By ‘family’ I mean Kels and I.)

Given all the fuss over rising gas prices (it’s over $8/gallon here), I thought that posting their latest offering, “Get More Than 40 Miles Per Gallon Without a Hybrid” would be beneficial:


(NOTE: I certainly do not recommend turning your engine off in traffic or doing that ‘drafting’ thing or inflating your tires an unsafe amount. don’t be stupid. paying a few more bucks for gas is infinitely better than getting in a car accident.)

Get More Than 40 Miles Per Gallon Without a Hybrid

From Wired How-To Wiki

With gas going for more than four bucks a gallon, lots of people are ditching their SUVs in favor of hybrids. That’s great, but you don’t have to shell out that kind of cash to get better fuel economy. A few simple tricks can boost your fuel efficiency by 10 to 40 percent. No single technique will max your mileage, but add ’em up and you’ll squeeze 5, 10, even 15 more miles out of every gallon.
Hypermiling 101:

  1. Go easy on the accelerator and follow the speed limit. It’s a no brainer, but how many people actually drive 55 mph? Fuel economy drops like a stone above 60 mph, so slow down. You’ll bump your fuel economy by 7 to 23 percent.
  2. Take all the junk out of your trunk. Why are you hauling those tire chains in July? When’s the last time you used those golf clubs? That big brush guard with the million-candlepower lights may look cool, but it’s killing your fuel economy. Every 100 pounds of stuff you’re needlessly hauling around drops your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent. Ditch it and it’ll rise accordingly. While you’re at it, lose the roof rack and gain another 5 percent. Keep the spare though. You’ll need that.
  3. Get a tune-up and use the lightest viscosity oil your engine will live with. A well-tuned engine is an efficient engine, and lighter weight oil reduces drag. Can’t remember the last time you had a tune-up? Getting one could raise your fuel economy as much as 10 percent.
  4. Keep your tires properly inflated. The softer the tire, the greater the rolling resistance – and the more gas you burn. Being 10 pounds under pressure can cut fuel efficiency by 4 percent. Pump those babies up!
  5. Don’t idle. How many miles per gallon do you get sitting in the drive through? Zero, that’s how many. If you’re going to be stationary for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.

Advanced hypermiling: OK, you’ve mastered the basics. Now you’re ready for the big time.

  1. Buy a fuel economy gauge. Nothing will turn you into a hypermiler faster than seeing, in real time, exactly how much fuel you’re sucking down. If your car was built after 1995, fuel economy computers like ScanGauge are plug-and-play. Older cars may require a vacuum gauge, but they’re pretty easy to install.
  2. Coast. Hyper-milers suggest turning off the engine and coasting downhill. Be warned, though – automakers and some consumer groups say you could lose the power brakes and steering, making the car hard to turn and stop.
  3. Inflate tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. The pressure recommended by the automaker is a compromise between fuel efficiency, handling and comfort. If you want maximum efficiency, go for the maximum pressure. The ride quality will suffer, but you’ll get better mileage. Here, too, critics have a warning – over-inflating your tires could lead to premature wear and poor handling.
  4. Lay off the brakes. In traffic, maintain a slow creep instead of accelerating and braking. Ignore the horns and middle-finger salutes.
  5. Draft. This one’s controversial because it’s dangerous. But we trust you: Inch up behind, say, an 18-wheeler, and kill the engine as you enter its slipstream (you’ll feel it). You’re drafting now, getting pulled along by the truck’s gas instead of your own.

Want even better fuel economy?

Check outthe long list of tips at or the hypermiling primer at



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