You may have heard the term “hypermiling” thrown around quite a bit these days.  The term hypermiler was “coined by Wayne Gerdes to describe a driver who strives to exceed their vehicle's EPA fuel economy rating” (cleanmpg.com).   To me this simply seems nothing more than a driver trying to gain maximum fuel efficiency through choosing the best variables possible for someone’s specific operating conditions and vehicle.  After reading up a bit on this practice, it seems that the four-wheelers involved in this new trend are doing nothing different than what we in the trucking industry have been doing for years, both with the aid of OEM control systems and changing driver habits while behind the wheel.
 
Many things lead to gaining fuel efficiency through the choice of trying to hypermile, such as aerodynamics and driving behavior.  No one factor leads to being the ultimate “hyper-miler” when it comes to efficiency though, as it is only achieved as a result of many small factors culminating together into one equation.  Making your ride as “slippery” as possible (drag reduction) is a major part, as the easier a vehicle cuts through the air, the less fuel energy it uses to get to where it is going.  There are many factors that can all contribute to a car hypermiling, that coincidentally all pertain to trucks as well.  They include (but are not limited to) things such as:
 

  • Proper Tire Inflation
  • Oil Viscosity
  • Maintaining Optimum Speed
  • Proper Gear Selection
  • Smooth Acceleration and Braking
  • Coasting or Gliding (e-coast)
  • Anticipating Traffic and Adverse Road Conditions (Driving Eyes Ahead)
  • Reducing Parasitic Loss
  • Good Trip Planning
  • Using Best Fuel Type
  • Minimizing Thermodynamic Loss (Idling)
  • Reduction of Total Vehicle Weight
  • Light-timing in the City

(List factors are from “Beating the EPA - The Why’s and How to Hypermile” by Wayne Gerdes and “Energy-efficient driving” in Wikipedia)

 
So, as you can see from a very basic list of some key factors of hypermiling, it looks as though these are things we have been working on in the trucking industry for a while now.  Whether the changes came from things like OEMs developing AMT transmissions with e-coast features, or from education as drivers on how to change our driving habits to be more fuel efficient, these practices are nothing new to the world of truck driving.  Although some of the practices mentioned and not mentioned can be risky to safety (i.e., going slower than the flow of traffic, drafting, etc.), hypermilers do not encourage unsafe practices to achieve results.  In fact, some of the practices have made safer drivers out of hypermilers trying to increase fuel efficiency.  Whether they would ever admit it or not, the automobile community can learn a thing or two from the big trucks that they share the roadways with!  What are some of the tricks you use to try and increase your truck “hypermiling” and how have your tricks worked for you so far?

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Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez is the Owner/President of Angus Transportation, Inc., based in Chino, California.  Jimmy pulls a 53' dry van hauling general dry freight for his own small fleet, operating on its own authority throughout all of Southern California and Southern Nevada.

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