The secrets to saving money at the pump by “hypermiling” down the road

Such as US gas prices soardrivers known as “hypermilers” have found ways to improve their fuel efficiency and save money at the pump.

One of those hypermilers – one who goes to great lengths to increase his fuel economy – is Wayne Gerdiswho manages to get about 60% more mileage than the Environmental Protection Agency says its Prius should get Plug-In Hybrid.

‘Why burn fuel if you don’t have to?’ he said.

That’s Gerdis’ gospel, especially driving in Southern California, home of the highest gas prices in the country, which came in about $2 a gallon more than a year ago. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular gas is now over $4.25, according to AAA.

Gerdis’ key word is “soft” – soft acceleration and soft braking. Many of his tricks involve subtle changes in driving, but they can make a big difference. An example is simply driving the speed limit, even on the highway. The faster you go, the more fuel you burn.

“Speed ​​kills fuel economy. There’s no getting around it,” Gerdis told CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave.

And little things add up. Gerdis also determines how often he uses the air conditioning.

“I will use air conditioning if it gets above 80. I set it to 76 to 78 degrees because I just want to be comfortable,” he said.

Some hypermilers make their cars more aerodynamic or drive behind semi-trucks to reduce drag. Gerdis sticks to the slow moving lane and follows all traffic rules. He said his slow and steady driving has given him over 80 miles per gallon and reduced his fuel economy by about 40%, saving him about $2,500 a year.

“Every dollar I save in fuel is a dollar in my pocket,” he said.

Brian Cooley, editor-in-chief for CNET, said those tips and tricks can be very helpful.

“The optics can be bad for other drivers because it’s not the normal pattern we all follow,” he said. “Most of the tips in the hypermilers playbook are smart and are things we should have learned in driver training.”

Other ways to save fuel include keeping tires properly inflated and making vehicles as light as possible by removing unnecessarily heavy items from the trunk or even removing a roof rack when not in use.

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