Posts Tagged ‘hypermiling’

More evidence that the Prius’ display changes driving behavior

May 26, 2008

From today’s Washington Post:

(Lee) Peterson, an Ohio retail consultant and former Jeep driver, had never been interested in mileage. But when he got a Prius, he became fixated with stretching his mileage as far as possible. Peterson keeps track of his mileage the way golfers chart their handicaps. His record back when his wife wanted the car was 57.4 miles to the gallon. But the monitor put him at 58 — more than double the 27.5 mpg that non-hybrid passenger cars are required to get in the United States. He had a quarter-tank to go…”It has totally changed my driving in that for the first time I’m completely cognizant of how the car works.”

Other home monitoring systems that incorporate sophisticated technology and real-time feedback are on the way:

The Kill a Watt plugs into a wall and accepts plug-ins from appliances, showing exactly how much energy is being consumed.

The Wattson, a small console designed by a British company, wirelessly connects to a home’s energy meter and displays numbers showing how many watts of electricity the house is using. If the console glows blue, less electricity than normal is being used. If it glows red, it’s just the opposite.

When will academics start to study hypermiling?

May 21, 2008

Hypermiling, which has been gaining popularity over the past year, is a method of increasing a car’s gas mileage by changing the way you drive. Poking around hypermiling web sites, you’ll find that claims of 50-60-70 miles per gallon are common. Some of the changes include gentle accelerations, driving the speed limit, less aggressive braking, and trying to avoid coming to a complete stop while in traffic. Committed hypermilers swear that a prominently displayed miles per gallon meter changes driving behavior (we can only assume that academic experiments and working papers on hypermiling are forthcoming). For those without a mpg display in their car, a mental game of “driving without brakes” – in which you try to drive the optimal speed that allows you to avoid using your brakes – is a good substitute.

P.S. We are awaiting the first city employment contract for bus drivers that includes wage bonuses for hitting fuel efficiency targets.