Hypermiling: making a game out of being green

I love the fact that environmental issues are getting much more press than they ever have before, and that individuals are paying more attention to how we can make the world a cleaner place. Recently, Scobleizer wrote a quick post about cruising around with a friend in his friend’s Toyota Prius. The Prius has a great heads-up display that encourages “hypermiling” – which is the new word for driving in a way that conserves gas. The display screen makes driving more economically like a game, where you can see where your power is coming from and what your instant gas mileage (your score in the game) is:

Prius Dashboard

I think they could take the Prius hypermiling game a step further by scoring you on the gas you have used in the current month, and displaying how much you had used at the same time in the previous month. The car could display this gas usage score in dollars by having the car ask you how much you paid every time it detects a fill-up, then tracking it as you burn it up. That way your hypermiling score takes into account driving your car less, finding cheaper gas, and other things that should give you credit. It also wouldn’t hurt to show your “highest score” on the display. Maybe you even get to type your three initials in when you beat the high score – ok, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far.

There are many ways to conserve gas while you are driving, but the main way according to recent CNN coverage of hypermiling is to basically drive with slower accelerations and decelerations – don’t slam the pedal down to get rolling, and let it go and let the car drift to a stop when braking. While this type of driving is somewhat granny-like, it’s the best way to win the game, and save the planet while you’re at it.

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4 thoughts on “Hypermiling: making a game out of being green

  1. A few stats from the life and times of Elroy the Prius, as driven by yours truly:

    – Average mpg to O’Hare and back to the Loop: 60.1; conditions: sunny, 80 degrees; traffic: heavy.

    – One-week average during July 2007: 56.1 mpg; conditions: mostly hot and sunny; traffic: typically awful.

    – Average February 2007 mpg: 38.2; conditions: absurdly cold; traffic: disillusioned winter drivers.

    Couple of observations: weather is clearly a factor; A/C does not appear to dramatically affect mileage; first five minutes of driving inevitably have worse mpg than subsequent; attractive women appear to appreciate a man in a Prius (hearsay).

    Am I a hypermiler yet?

  2. I read that CNN report and cringed, already envisioning legions of priuses clogging the already too slow roads of our nation. In fact, any time I get behind a Prius I groan because I know the driver of said Prius is going to Granny it along, and probably feel smug while doing it.

    ‘Cept for Al Gore’s kid, driving a Prius-pharmacy-on-wheels at 100 mph. Now that’s a driving style I can get behind.

  3. Avi: It seems like you’ve got the scores, you’ve got the ideas for why they might be changing, now all you need is to put those ideas into place to increase your score – then it seems like you would truly be a hypermiler. Thanks for the additional tips, I wonder why the weather is such a factor?

    Now here’s a car for the people who want to be green without giving up the juice, the Tesla Roadster. It looks like you can burn through that battery pretty quickly though, and you need to drop almost $100K.

  4. Pingback: discussion 8

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