Bay area gas ‘hypermilers’ squeeze miles out of each gallon

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Saving money at the gas pump is always a good thing, but some drivers take it to the extreme.  They’ll do just about anything to squeeze every mile out of every drop of gas.

They’re called “hypermilers.”

Insurance executive by trade, hypermiler when he’s on the road, Nile Madley tries to go as far as possible on each tank full.

It made economic sense in college, but now, it’s more of a game.

His Honda Civic is supposed to get 32 to 37 in the city.

“Right now, I have 43, earlier today I had 48,” he said.

Hard core hypermilers draft or follow trucks, to increase miles per gallon.

Madley said patience is his secret sauce for a cheap ride. “Accelerate not too quickly. You don’t want your revs to get too high. You want to steadily increase your speed, while also letting off the gas as you shift into the next gear,” he said.

A gauge tells him his current mileage. “It’s so fun. Like right now, I’m coasting at 43 miles per hour, and I’m sitting steady at about 60 miles per gallon,” said Madley.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers tend to see more hypermilers when gas prices surge.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins is all about people saving money, within the law. But, following too close is dangerous and illegal.

“If you’re out here, we’re on 19, so we’re looking at 55 miles an hour.  You’re looking at five and a half car lengths between every vehicle, as a good safe rule of thumb,” said Gaskins.

Florida hypermilers share their savings on a Facebook page. “It’s definitely a nice little reward when you see how high it can get. And how long you’re stretching your tank of gas,” said Madley.

Avoiding stops saves money, but cutting through parking lots is illegal.

“And what happens is, you’re trying to cut through to get across to the other roadway, people are parking and walking through the parking lot and so forth, and we have crashes,” said Gaskins.

As News Channel 8 tooled around Dunedin, Madley’s gas warning light was on, but no worries.

“That means that I have 3 days left,” he said.

Easy ways to try and save gas include cleaning out your trunk, checking your tire inflation, staying out of the bus lane and turning off your air conditioning when it is cool.

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