January 19th, 2016

Hypermiling for better fuel economy

Posted by NRG SVR in Fuel Economy, smart car

We originally posted this on June 12th, 2008. We’ve moved it up to 2016 to make sure more readers see it.

Contact me by e-mail with any comments. ( click the e-mail link to the left, or just type it: keith@100mpg.ca )

I now own a smart again! I purchased a 2006 canada1 cdi coupe in November 2015.

Due to the very weak Canadian dollar, I am not stocking the ScanGauge II at this time.

I am still involved with energy efficiency however, and will evaluate the market conditions in the coming months and determine if there is still sufficient demand for (after-market) real time fuel consumption monitoring.

Much has been written about ‘hypermiling’ and the driving style of ‘hypermilers’. The ability to squeeze 80, 90 or even 100 mpg out of my diesel smart car is clearly a good thing when fuel is $1.50 a litre in Canada / $5.00 a gallon in the US. Not only that, but there’s the impact of our vehicles CO2 emissions on the climate. A big impact. About 50% of the average Canadians greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from their vehicle.

There are some really common sense approaches to getting better mileage. And they don’t involve coasting dangerously through stop lights, disconnecting your alternator, letting your car sniff acetone, or strapping hideous and poorly paint-matched cardboard all over your car to increase the aerodynamics. (Don’t ask. It wasn’t me.)

Fueleconomy.gov has a good list… click on the drive more efficiently link.

Cleanmpg.com appears to be the home away from home of Wayne Gerdes, who coined the term ‘hypermiler’ some time ago. A bit of a scientific read.

A pretty exhaustive list of both common, and uncommon methods of saving fuel can be found at ecomodder.com… have fun with those 100+ ideas…

The list would not be complete without metrompg.com. Darin, the website owner, first brought the Scangauge to my attention back in June 2006. The site has a wealth of information, and some great interviews with fuel economy pioneers.

Here’s the main hypermiling techniques I utilize day in and day out to get better fuel economy in my smart car:

  • Use a Scangauge - it’s a fuel economy computer that plugs into the OBDII socket on most 1996+ cars. Yeah, I do sell them. There is a huge motivation factor when your actual fuel economy is displayed to you as you drive - and the Scangauge can even be programmed to show the cost of your trip. The Scanguage reinforces the need to adhere to almost all of the other points. If your car has a fuel economy readout in it already - use it. In my opinion, it should be required equipment on all new vehicles. I can’t think of any hypermilers that don’t use a Scangauge or other similar device.
  • Keep track of your fuel economy. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Hypermilers know their fuel economy inside out. Saying ‘I usually get 300 miles to a tank’ doesn’t mean much - how much fuel did you use? 330 miles is 10% better, but how will you really know how your changes in driving style have affected your fuel economy if you’re just guessing? Even worse… ‘It costs me $40 to fillup’. Uh, okay… when was that? Last year? You don’t have to get the scalpel out, but you should keep track of the volume of fuel that you use, either by recording the odometer or trip meter reading on the fuel receipt. You can work out your fuel economy on a per tank basis, and if you’re keen, you’ll enter it on a spreadsheet or at one of many websites that help you compare against other drivers. My favorite is spritmonitor, a German site, but that’s only because when the smart first came to Canada, the only way to find other drivers was to visit a European website. And too, Europe gets all the really cool diesels that we in North America do not.
  • Shift at the precise RPM that will drop you into the next gear right at the beginning of the power band, and shift quickly between the gears as you accelerate. In the smart diesel, 2500 RPM is an ideal shift point on the flats. Which means you need a tach, and if you haven’t got one of those, the Scangauge can show you the RPM as well. And yeah, you MUST drive the smart in manual mode to get better fuel economy. When cruising, drive in as high a gear, and as low an RPM as possible, without lugging (putting too much load on the engine).
  • Anticipate lights, stop signs and traffic flow. This is crucial in the city. It’s a total waste to keep your foot on the accelerator, and then have to use the brakes. Coast where possible, but don’t be a nuisance to other drivers. Practice makes perfect. I can travel miles through suburban areas and never touch the brakes…
  • If you have a manual, gear down for the corners and only take your foot off the accelerator - brakes are bad remember. Another trick you should use on freeway offramps is to gently rock the steering wheel very slightly left and right as you make the turn - you will have better control of the car if you don’t try and hold the wheel firmly in one position. This means less braking and more time coasting down to suburban speed.
  • Don’t idle. I turn off the ignition for trains and really long lights. Avoid drive thru lineups like the plague. IMO, they should be banned.
  • Keep your oil clean. Change it as recommended by the manufacturer. I change the smart oil out with synthetic 0w40 every 5000-6000 kms.
  • Tire pressure must be maintained. I like mine a bit higher than recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, but I never exceed the pressure that the tire manufacturer lists on the sidewall. You need to know the difference! Somewhere in between is ideal for fuel economy, handling, tire life and comfort of ride. Experiment, and make sure you use a good gauge when the tires are COLD. Even 2-3 PSI higher can get you better fuel economy.
  • A word on bike racks and luggage carriers. They may look cool, but they put a drag on both your car and your wallet. A bike rack on the diesel smart car with a bike on it can increase consumption by 20% easily. (Trust me, I tested it.) That thule box on your VW TDI might impress you friends, but take it off between the monthly trip to the slopes. The money you’ll save will pay for your dinner AND drinks at the Keg afterwards.
  • Control your speed. You will exponentially use more and more fuel the faster you go over 55 mph / 90 kmh on the freeway. Certainly don’t annoy every other vehicle on the road by driving too slow, but don’t speed… I can still get 3.5 L/100 km or 80 mpg driving the smart close to 60 mph / 100 kmh.
  • Use cruise control on the flats. Be careful uphill though. It’s better to gear down and slow down a little bit on the hills. Trying to maintain your cruising speed from the flats could use 50% more fuel than need be. On the hills, I keep an eye on the Scangauge and lay off the accelerator a bit.
  • Windows up? Yes, you will cost yourself more fuel driving with windows down and even a bit more with the top down in a convertible. But I don’t worry about this one too much… unless I am on a fuel economy run, where naturally, every percent counts.
  • Hypermiling involves pretty much all of the above as a minimum. There are more, shall we say ‘dedicated’ techniques, but if you adhere to this list, you’ll be more than well on your way.

    The reality is this - your right foot and your ego has the most to do with how much fuel your chosen vehicle burns. Even a Toyota Prius or Honda Civic hybrid is no guarantee of fuel savings if you don’t put a bit of effort into it. Or as one hypermiler put it: ‘fanatic’ is what the lazy call the dedicated.

    I plan on purchasing a 2008 gasoline smart car for extended fuel economy testing. The gasoline smart may not be as frugal as the diesel, but I’m sure I’ll figure out the nuances of the gasser quicker. I didn’t have a Scangauge in 2005 during the 100 MPG Challenge. This saw ‘NRG SVR’ and I drive round trip across all ten Canadian provinces averaging 3.6 L/100 km (78 mpg imperial / 65 mpg US). I was promoting the One-Tonne Challenge for the City of Abbotsford at about the time climate change concerns started to reach the public forefront.

    The best fuel economy I have achieved to date (as of 2008) in the smart is 2.23 L/100 km, or 126 mpg imperial / 105 mpg US. You can read about that here. On my daily commute between Abbotsford and Cloverdale BC, 3.0 L/100 km is pretty standard, except in inclimate weather.

    At the time this was originally wrote in 2008, I was working as a fuel analyst for a large trucking company in Western Canada. I managed the fuel purchasing and was involved in all areas related to fuel consumption and sustainability. Indeed, ‘hypermileage’ is where it is at. In 2008, the company was getting close to spending $50,000,000 a year on fuel.

    Contact me by e-mail with any comments.

    January 19th, 2016

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    September 12th, 2011

    2.1 L/100 km

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    Edmonton, 10:30 PM

    Just a quick note from Edmonton on my return back from Saskatchewan.

    Saturday, I put on about 750 km, going between Wadena SK, and Roblin, MB with various loops in and around places in between. Managed a 2.7 L/100 km overall, which includes the return trip from MB in a strong headwind. More to the point, the car showed itself to be capable of 2.1 L/100 km. Again, the only modification to the car is the narrower tires/wheels.

    Once I’m back in Abbotsford, I’ll do a proper recap of some of the trips with specific mileage reports. I am expecting to stop at smartieparts in Westbank to get a cruise control installed… which I am pretty sure would have helped me yield a 2.0 L/100 km on some trips.

    September 9th, 2011

    This is Hypermiling Country

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    10:00 am, Maple Creek, SK

    I’m grabbing some breakfast and as you can tell, some free wireless too. I arrived in SK last night and camped again just past the AB-SK border.

    I have aired up the tires to 45 PSI cold, and filled up. From Maple Creek, I am heading south to the Red Coat Trail (Hwy 13) and then east to Weyburn. From there, it’ll be north to Wadena, and that’s when I’ll likely be in full hypermiling mode.

    I’ve managed decent mileage thus far, even though I have been sticking to the speed limit mostly, which means 110 kmh at times. Managed a 3.0 L/100 km (better than 90 mpg imperial) from outside of Calgary to Maple Creek despite this, so I’m thinking it’ll be a good day…

    I’ve been using the boost gauge as one of the four that the Scangauge displays in real-time. The latest version of the Scanguage programming (v4.05) includes the ‘BST’ gauge standard in the preprgrammed set, and you can also adjust for the relative air pressure of where you are. The boost gauge alone could help you get better mileage out of your diesel. The lower the value, the better your fuel economy. I use the boost gauge to determine if shifting down a gear for a hill is better than staying in the higher gear and trying to hold my speed… ‘You cannot manage what you do not measure’.

    Until the next post….

    September 8th, 2011

    100 MPG Challenge 2.011

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    7:50 AM, Vernon BC

    I’m in my 2006 smart cdi, now heading for Saskatchewan. Spent last night in my tent. Having departed Abbotsford quite late, I only made it past Kelowna at 1:30 am.

    Between Friday and Monday, I will be making an attempt to top my previous best mileage, which was 2.23 L/100 km, 126 mpg (imperial) 105 mpg (US). I’ll be calling this the 100 MPG Challenge 2.011.

    The cdi I currently have is one of only four like it in Canada. It’s a limited production special edition called the ‘canada1′. Mine is a red convertible. My friend Mike in Ladysmith also has one, except his is white. My friend Roy has a red coupe, and the fourth car is in Ontario, a red convertible.

    I’ll be updating with photos and trip reports through the weekend.

    My car is equipped with 135/70/15 tires on 3.5″ wheels on the front, and 155/60/15 tires on 4.5″ wheels on the rear. I also use wheel spacers on the rear to keep the stock track. I’m anticipating about 0.2 L/100 km advantage from this narrower wheel set-up. Other than that, the car is stock - I’ve not yet installed cruise control. I am of course using a Scangauge II fuel economy computer for that much needed real-time feedback on my performance in the car.

    You can reach me by e-mail.

    Cheers,

    Keith

    August 13th, 2011

    Wadena SK - always great gas mileage!

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    I met up with ‘Walter from Wadena’ Saturday afternoon after arriving from Birch Hills in a strong headwind, and an otherwise unremarkable fuel economy result. After chatting with Walter for a couple hours, and showing him this blog, I filled up at the Co-op, and headed due north. The Scangauge had me pegged as low as 3.4 L/100 km when I arrived in Tisdale.

    Prerssing onwards west to Melfort, the wind was less favourable, and I ended up with a 3.6 L/100 km, which is 78 mpg (imperial)

    Realistically, if I had been running the OEM width tires as opposed to the wider Vredesteins, I would have done 0.3 L/100 km better. Which means the 2008 gasoline smart would be capable of 3.1 L/100 km in ideal conditions, driven at 80 kmh. That’s 91 mpg Imperial or 76 mpg US. And that’s without any other modifications…

    So there you have it… the gas smart is quite capable if driven nicely. I’ve actually got the 2008 up for sale now, and hope to find a good home for the car.

    I’m looking to return to SK in September with the ‘canada1′ diesel, and make an attempt at 2.1 L/100 km over a 1200 km stretch. That would be 135 mpg (imperial) or 112 mpg US.

    August 13th, 2011

    Prince George to Lloydminster in a gasoline smart

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    Just a quick update before I depart from Birch Hills, SK.

    My mileage between Prince George and Lloydminster was a fairly respectable number. 973 kms on 39.16 litres for 4.02 L/100 km. That’s 58.5 mpg US, or 70 mpg imperial. And that is running on 175/55/15 on the front and 195/50/15 on the rear, which are each 20 mm wider than stock, and likely costing me 0.2 L/100 km, or 2 mpg US.

    Today, I’m heading for Wadena, SK, and hope I do a bit better.

    August 11th, 2011

    Attempt to get 75 mpg with a 451 model smart car with a gasoline engine

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy, Events

    As I write this, I am in Edson Alberta, preparing to head out Friday for familiar hypermiling territory in Saskatchewan.

    I’ve brought my 2008 gasoline smart, also known as the 451 model. It’s rated for 4.9 L/100 km on the highway, but already this trip, I have achieved 3.9 L/100 km between Prince George, BC and McBride. I’ve not made any serious attempt to beat 4.0 with this car until now. I am looking to see what it is capable of, and am hoping to beat 75 mpg (imperial).

    The car is stock, except I actually am running LARGER wheels and tires, 175 mm on the front and 105 mm on the rear, versus the 155/175 set-up as delivered. This should be costing me about 0.2 L/100km. Also note - I have a full compliment of camping gear in the car.

    Friday, I’ll be passing through Edmonton and will be making a stop in Mont Nebo, SK, before finishing the day in Birch Hills, SK. Saturday will be the real test, as I head off for Wadena and possibly Yorkton, in search of the best mileage I think I will get. I took my first diesel smart here in 2005 and 2006, and achieved my best mileage record to date, surpassing 100 mpg US on the 2006 run.

    Interestingly, I did not have the benefit of real-time feedback that the Scangauge II provides in either od those years. Although the gas smart won’t touch the numbers the diesel can reach, I’m fairly confident I can get a pretty respectable number. I’ve got a handful of Scangauges with me on this trip if anyone is interested in purchasing one. You can reach me at ’six oh four, six three six, twenty-one eighty’. I’ll be heading back to BC westbound, possibly through Calgary on Sunday.

    More updates and photos will be posted as they are available.

    August 25th, 2010

    smart city hunt - Vancouver BC, August 28th, 2010

    Posted by NRG SVR in Events, smart car

    For those with a smart car who live close to Vancouver BC, there is an official Mercedes-Benz Canada smart event this coming weekend.

    You can register and get all the details here.

    The registration begins at 9:30 AM at the North Vancouver smart centre, located at 1375 Marine Drive, North Vancouver BC

    The scavenger hunt will officially kick-off at 10:30 am and last into the early afternoon

    It would seem that original owners of smart cars were mailed an invite - I did receive one in the mail. But we’re not sure which model years were included in the mail out. I have purchased two cars brand new from smart, and received just one card.

    Anyway, you don’t need the card… but please make sure you register so they can plan accordingly.

    I know this is short notice, but it’s likely to be the biggest event in Vancouver for awhile.

    May 20th, 2010

    2005 diesel smart car for sale with Scangauge - capable of 100 mpg

    Posted by NRG SVR in smart car

    Thank you for the interest in the car. It too is now SOLD! (as of June 4th, 2010)

    Did you know that the 2005 smart, according to a German automotive survey, had THE LOWEST quantity of breakdowns per thousand vehicles when compared against 77 other competing models?

    contact me by e-mail.

    $7950.00 in Canadian funds, private sale, price is firm.

    2005 diesel smart car fortwo for sale

  • Black tridion
  • metallic grey panels
  • ALL service records available
  • Oil changes ALL done on time.
  • Second private owner of this 2005 smart car has ALL service records since new.

    Oil change, tranny oil change and air filter just done, as well as the alternator belt.

    Front brakes were done and include drilled rotors.

    New tires all around on alloy wheels

    73000 kms

    No accidents! Nothing needed! Not an ex-lease or ex-security or ex-auto parts car! Private owners, car enthusiasts.

  • This is the pulse edition
  • clock and tach pods above the dash
  • Has heated leather seating
  • glass roof with sunshade
  • paddles shifters on a leather steering wheel
  • sound upgrade for the stereo
  • Sale will include a Scangauge II Fuel Economy Computer, which will help you achieve up to 100 MPG.

    February 5th, 2010

    Winter Expedition in a smart car - to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada, well above the Arctic Circle

    Posted by NRG SVR in smart car

    I’m posting a few links below which will take you to the facebook page and related news stories about the smart car expedition that has just about finished, a Mercedes-Benz Canada initiative for the smart fortwo involving 12 days, 3 legs, 7 smart fortwos, 3 support vehicles and 34 journalists…

    First off, here is the facebook page. Tonnes of pictures, links to news stories, and even a few videos. Here is a direct link to the Inuvik pictures.

    Here’s a well written news story from the Winnipeg Free Press. Paul Williamson provides a great recounting of how this project came together, including his own skepticism.

    The cars that went on this Arctic trip are all standard equipment passion coupe models fitted with Continental Snow Tires. This model is referred to in the enthusiast circles as model ‘451′, which is a designation within the VIN # of each vehicle. This model has a 3 cylinder 1-litre gasoline engine, which is different than the first smart cars that Canada had in 2005 and 2006, which were equipped with an 800 cc 3 cylinder turbo-diesel. (I took one of the diesels across all 10 Canadian provinces and back in 2005. You can read about that here.)

    I’ll post a few more items on this trip in th next day or two. I’m not expecting the fuel economy to be stellar per se, and though it certainly won’t be 100 mpg like I can get in a scangauge equipped diesel smart, it will probably still be pretty decent considering the extreme temperatures and road conditions.

    September 2nd, 2009

    The 100 MPG Challenge Revisited - Who are the Champions of Fuel Economy anyway? Part One

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    By Keith Hebert, Fuel Efficiency Analyst

    Send Keith an e-mail. To order a Scangauge, visit here.

    Hopefully you are wondering by now, if you have read any of my latest articles, just who are the champions of fuel economy anyway? With all the hypermiling drivers getting 100 mpg or better, who has achieved the highest? Maybe you’re thinking there must be some Guinness Worlds Record holder(s)? Or perhaps you’d like to know who has made a lasting contribution to the world of fuel economy?

    In the five years that I’ve been closely following fuel economy trends in both the passenger vehicle and class 8 highway tractor truck market, I’ve come across nearly everything you can imagine. Including a whole lot of hype for products and concepts that clearly don’t help you get better gas mileage. On the other hand, I’ve also seen what works in person, come across hundreds of websites, and read about as much on fuel efficiency as one can. As a Fuel Efficiency Analyst for two different trucking companies (each with 200+ vehicles), I’ve been able to take a mere curiousity to the next level, and make a difference on a massive scale. I estimate the fuel savings as a result of programs I’ve implemented have resulted in savings of 2,500,000 litres or 660,000 US gallons, annually. That’s close to 7,000 tonnes of Co2, never mind a lot of money.

    And with that, here is Part One of my own list of ‘Fuel Economy Champions’.

    1. Helen and John Taylor

    Helen and John first came across my monitor in 2006 during their Around The World in 78 Days’ record setting journey. They are in fact, holders of 82 driving records of one kind or another, including many Guinness Records. Here’s an excerpt from their fuel academy website:

    Adventure. Insanity. Challenge? What inspires two people to drive 30,000 kilometres (18, 000 miles) around the world, through the harshest of extremes, with minimal air conditioning or heating, using less than 40 tanks of fuel? And why would we support it? The simple answer is that John and Helen Taylor, and Shell share a passion for fuel economy. And together we’ve taken economical driving to a new level and set a new Guinness World Record for the lowest round the world fuel consumption.

    2. Advanced Technology Vehicle Program (Transport Canada)

    I know I just finished asking in a previous article ‘what has the government done for us lately?’, but the story of how the diesel smart car came to Canada is truly fascinating. It was actually Transport Canada staff who had been testing several smarts acquired in Europe, who ended up convincing Mercedes-Benz Canada to bring the car over. The ATVP Program had been showcasing their european vehicle fleet at autoshows across Canada, and staff could tell there was a built in market just chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of a frugal sipper. This from the former ATVP website:

    The Advanced Technology Vehicles Program (ATVP) has been in operation since June 2001. The goal of the ATVP is to support Transport Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources and achieve a transportation system for Canada that is sustainable. The program is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from on-road vehicles by:

    * evaluating the fuel efficiency, emissions and safety performance of advanced technology vehicles;
    * identifying opportunities and market potential for the introduction and use of advanced technology vehicles;
    * identifying barriers to the introduction and use of advanced technology vehicles and recommending remedies;
    * raising public awareness of advanced technology vehicles; and
    * supporting Transport Canada’s environmental programs.

    I had a chance to visit the ATVP program and drive some of their vehicles back in September 2005 during my own hypermiling across Canada journey. Thanks again to Brian Bond and John Neufeld.

    The program has now been renamed and has a new website ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles. Although their website is a bit clunky to navigate, you can read their Summer 2009 eTV Newsletter for more information.

    3. Darin Cosgrove, metrompg.com

    The tagline on Darin’s metrompg.com website is ‘fuel efficiency geekery’. No doubts about that. That said, Darin is the most thorough backyard fuel efficiency technician I know of.

    His website contains a plethora of information on vehicle modifications and test protocol, and although originally geared towards owners of the Geo Metro / Suzuki Swift / Pontiac Firefly cousins of the late 90’s, the site has actually grown, and continues to grow in applicability. Everytime I go there, something new is found. Who knew there was a ecomodder in 1930? Speaking of which, Darin’s other website ecomodder.com is a great resource with discussion forums for those who wish to delve into the world of replacing the highest gear in your manual transmission or taping cardboard on your honda Civic to reduce it’s wind drag.

    In all seriousness though, Darin has so much material to share, you really should just go and visit. And he’s a fuel economy champion to me personally, because he introduced me to the ScanGauge fuel economy computer back in 2006 not too long after it hit the market.

    Part Two to follow later this week.

    September 1st, 2009

    The 100 MPG Challenge Revisited - Yes, there are a few cars capable of hypermiling over 100 mpg.

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    By Keith Hebert, Fuel Efficiency Analyst

    Send Keith an e-mail. To order a Scangauge, visit here.

    It was four years ago today, that my quest to beat 100 mpg in my diesel smart car was realized. It was on a 393 km segment between Birch Hills and Yorkton, SK that I achieved 113 mpg imperial. The total for the day (over 400 miles) was 103 mpg imperial. And this, from a car with a conventional internal combustion engine that you could get in Canada, but not the United States. (This is a topic for another story, later.) I went on to achieve better than 100 mpg on 5 tanks during the trip, all without any gimmicks or modifications to the vehicle. At the time, I didn’t even have the benefit of any fuel consumption instrumentation, a Scangauge would have been pretty handy!

    In 2006, still on the quest to beat 100 mpg US, and test how the smart performed on biodiesel, I headed back out to Saskatchewan. Through various trials and tests, I was able to yield 126 mpg imperial / 105 mpg US on a B20 blend of biodiesel. You can read about that here and here.

    100 mpg US is achieved by a diesel smart car in Canada

    Then in 2007, another diesel smart car owner proved that 100 mpg could be beat on a full tank of greater than 600 miles. (more…)

    August 28th, 2009

    Welcome to 100mpg.ca - your source for information on achieving 100 mpg since 2005!

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy

    Thanks for visiting 100mpg.ca! We’ve recently added onehundredmpg.com to our domain in order to help our US customers find us quicker.

    To order a Scanguage, visit here.

    Be sure to check out my article ‘Hypermiling for better fuel economy‘, which has helpful tips for saving fuel. My ‘daily mpg reports’ for recent trips can be found here. Yes, a smart diesel can beat 100 mpg!

    The new LiveSmart BC website is up and running. They have an excellent document showing the estimated savings by reducing your speed.

    The Calgary herald ran an article about my fuel economy pursuits on August 29th. It was written by automotive writer Greg Williams, and you can read it here.

    The Abbotsford Times ran a nice article about my hypermiling efforts on Canada Day, which you can read here.

    Also in 2008, I did two interviews with News 1130, one on fuel economy, and one on the water4gas scam.

    A recent and well written article on hypermiling can be found at USA Today.

    And, because some question how anyone can realistically drive between 80 and 90 kmh (50-55 mph), I only ask that you remember the 1973 Oil Crisis. It became US law that 55 mph (88 kmh) be the maximum speed, and this remained in effect for over a decade. Is it time to bring this law back? I say yes.

    August 28th, 2009

    The 100 MPG Challenge Revisited - What has the government done for us lately?

    Posted by NRG SVR in 100 MPG Challenge, Fuel Economy, Admin

    By Keith Hebert, Fuel Efficiency Analyst

    Send Keith an e-mail. To order a Scangauge, visit here.

    No doubt most of you are aware of the US program ‘Cash For Clunkers’, where the taxpayers were subsidizing new car purchases by up to $4500. My take on this is that if there was to be any real, lasting benefit for the environment, it was a poorly executed plan. But it seemingly was meant primarily as a short term economic stimulus, and really, the environmental benefits were just a side dish. True, the MPG of the vehicle purchased were better, with some sources online claiming the average MPG improvement was better than 50%.

    But for me, it’s even doubtful that the ‘economic stimulus’ will have worked in the end analysis. There was no requirement for the purchased vehicle to be American, or even North American built. Despite this, the popular Toyota Corolla (built in California) was a top choice, but if it were me handing out 3 billon dollars, I would want to know I was getting the best possible value for the money.

    In Canada, there was a 2 year program called Eco-Auto Rebate, which was more demanding on the purchaser to buy a very fuel efficient vehicle. Up to $2000 was available, but most qualifying cars and tiny SUVs only qualified for $1000. Also, there was no requirement to turn in a clunker with the federal program. Canadian provinces also had a variety of programs, most notably BC, with a Scrap-it clunker program, and a sales tax rebate, each for up to $2000. This made it possible at one point for the purchaser of a Toyota Prius or smart car to get up to $6000 in total savings.

    The idea of rebates though, has to fade away. It’s not sustainable to commit the taxpayer to paying for it all, especially when it just goes onto some mysterious national debt. What’s the real cost at the end of the day? And no one really seems to want to bring this up: If we’re wanting to impact climate change, then it naturally follows that we should see an economic downturn in our traditional sectors of oil, gas and automobiles. Reducing consumption is going to impact the economy. I have no issue being down 10%. 40% was a bit steep all at once, but some reduction is to be expected if we want a sign that we’re making any progress.

    Governments really have done little for such a long time, mostly by not requiring improvement in fleet fuel economy averages, that it’s no surprise they roll out quick fix ideas. But, with the USA now mandating improved mpg from the automobile producers, I have some optimism that we’re moving in the right direction. Government needs to support the research and developement of advanced vehicle technologies. And, what’s more, taxing inefficiency should also be considered. BC has the carbon tax, which applies to gasoline and diesel purchases… I think this is a model that North America should consider carefully, and implement properly.

    We can’t lay blame solely on the government for a lack of fuel efficient vehicles on our shore, but they deserve a hefty chunk for sure.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    It was four years ago today that I set out from Victoria, BC on the 100 MPG Challenge. Over the next month, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about fuel economy issues.

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