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'Hypermiling' in your car can save lives and save money

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Posted at 5:00 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 08:00:05-04

PHOENIX — Change often comes from consequence and for many people, they must take a financial hit to redirect behaviors - like getting a ticket while on the road.

Now, would drivers change their unsafe behavior if it meant they could save money at the gas station?

The ABC15 Smart Shopper and Operation Safe Roads teams are looking into hypermiling as a possible option for those as they get behind the wheel.

"When I was a little kid, there was a gas station across from my grandma and grandpa's house," said Glen Hayward. "It was 18 cents a gallon... and then in the '70s, '74, I think was the big crunch year when we thought the world was going to end because gas went up 78, 82 cents a gallon."

Glen Hayward took ABC15 on a road trip down memory lane. It is a trip that would now cost more than $4 per gallon.

"Unfortunately, you know, the public is feeling the pinch," Hayward said.

He owns Good Works Auto Repair in Tempe and he has spent nearly 50 years watching the price per gallon rise while drivers' bad behavior accelerates with it.

"People are driving 75, 80, 90 miles an hour literally on our freeways," Hayward explained. "... Those behaviors are costing you a lot of money."

So, Hayward let us in on a technique he often does when driving out on Valley roads called hypermiling.

This means drivers are using their car as efficiently as they can to ensure it is getting proper fuel economy. Hayward explained this can save people 10-20% at the gas station.

"You know, passing people with the pedal all the way to the floor when it's not really necessary," Hayward said, explaining some of the costly driver habits he sees. "You can slowly pass someone... we have freeways that are four, five, six lanes wide so you're... just doing it to show off or pass the guy who's really going slow and he's annoying you or things like that."

He also described how commuter cars are not built to go from zero to 60 or to top speeds well above the posted limit. In the end, it is just costing them more money in vehicle maintenance and fueling up.

"They'll become more aware of what they're doing and see what it's really costing them," Hayward said. "They could be spending 30, 40, 50 dollars a week more in fuel than they really need to."

According to Insurify, 2021 data finds the most popular car in Arizona is a Honda Civic. They hold approximately 12 gallons of gas, which will cost about $55 to fill up. A 20% fuel savings with hypermiling could mean just over $11 in savings every time you need to get gas.

Glen also said hypermiling includes cleaning out the car. It is just wasting fuel if people are driving around with junk sitting in the back. It is dead weight.