Tips to make a tank of gas last longer, regardless of your car
He’s really pumped.
In 2006, Wayne Gerdes of San Diego, California broke the Guinness World Record for longest distance traveled on a single tank of gas by covering 2,254.4 miles in a 2001 Honda Insight Hybrid and averaging 164 miles per gallon.
“The low fuel indicator was on for over 300 miles before I finally ran out of fuel,” he told the Post.
Last weekend, some California gas stations were charging up to $6.95 a gallon. With news that the US may be just weeks away from breaking the national record – $4.11 a gallon in July 2008 – for average gas prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Gerdes is the man of the hour.
A former nuclear power plant worker, he turned his attention to fuel efficiency after 9/11, when he decided to reduce his reliance on Saudi oil in retaliation for the attacks.
“Saudi oil money straight from the US and around the world brought unparalleled wealth to the bin Laden family,” he said. “Bin Laden himself did a terrible deed with some of those millions, and the reverberations are still being felt today.”
What started as a personal protest soon turned into an obsession.
Since then, the gas guru has been setting records left and right. He covered 472 miles on a single charge in a 2021 Porsche Taycan that should only do 225, and managed 1,675 miles on a single tank of diesel in a 2013 VW Passat.
Gerdes, 59, coined the term “hypermiling” in 2004 to define the tricks, tactics and techniques he uses to save fuel and maximize mileage.
Today he runs the hypermiling forum CleanMPG.com, where tens of thousands of cost-conscious drivers share tips on getting the most out of their engines.
Gerdes, who drives a 2021 Toyota Prius Prime Hybrid, believes anyone can top their vehicle’s rating by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no matter what car they drive. “I’m always trying to find new ways to improve profitability,” he said. “With every new vehicle release, fun discovers its efficiency limits.”
And while some of his tips are a little far-fetched – like driving barefoot to lighten your lead foot – even his 30-year-old wife Marian has taken the Hypermiling baton.
“She beats the EPA about two-thirds of the time she drives,” he said. “Sometimes she doesn’t obey the speed limit (PSL), but I make sure she does when I’m in the car.”
Here are some of Gerdes’ top tips for getting the most out of a gallon of gas.
Ride with a load
Driving with a load (DWL) basically does the same thing as cruise control – the driver keeps the accelerator pedal pressed constantly and evenly, thereby using less gas. It’s especially useful when climbing small hills. “Your speed will change naturally – lower on the climb and higher on the descent – but from the start of the climb to the last climb your speed will remain the same because you never changed the pressure on the accelerator pedal,” explained Gerdes.
I love the long glide
When exiting a highway and there is an exit ahead, begin to slow down without using the brakes. “Just glide it for as long as you can so you transfer as much of your kinetic energy into the distance,” he said.
Ridge ride in the rain
In wet conditions, push your car slightly to the right, closer to the pavement. By not driving in the water that collects in a road’s well-worn grooves, you get a smoother – and therefore more fuel-efficient – ride.
Kill that speed
Simply adhering to the posted speed limit can add up to 20 percent more fuel to a tank. “Speed kills economy,” added Gerdes. “Driving faster won’t necessarily get you there faster, but it will cost you at the pump or charger – and your wallet!”
Use the acceleration sparingly
Don’t just pedal – accelerate slowly but steadily. “If a fully loaded 18-wheeler in front of you accelerates to 60 mph in 45 to 60 seconds, why would you want to pass them?” Gerdes said. “Just accelerate with them and only overtake when you’re both up to speed.”
Be a better brakeman
Accelerating from a standstill is bad for fuel economy. So if you see a red light ahead, slow down and try to manage things so that you can glide through without stopping once the light turns green. “Hopefully you can get to the light when it turns green with some speed and you can accelerate back up to your target speed with a lot less energy,” said Gerdes. “Let the speed racer next to you beat you to the traffic light. And then wave at them as you pass quickly and they accelerate from a standstill.”
For more gas-saving tips from Wayne Gerdes, visit cleanmpg.com