Toya, a 56-year-old manager for a tofumaker in central Japan, puts special tires on his Prius, tapes plastic and cardboard over the engine, and blocks the grill with foam rubber. He drives without shoes and hacks into his car's computer -- all in the pursuit of maximum distance with minimum gasoline.Nenpimania, I like it!
Toya is one of about 100 nenpimania, Japanese for "mileage maniacs," or hybrid owners who compete against each other to squeeze as much as 115 miles per gallon out of their cars. In a country where gasoline costs more than $4 a gallon, at least $1 more than the U.S. price, enthusiasts tweak their cars and hone driving techniques to cut fuel bills and gain bragging rights.
Toya, nicknamed "The Shogun," said he drove 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) on a single 13-gallon (49-liter) tank 17 times last year, an average of 79 miles per gallon. At the advertised efficiency rate, a driver would get 715 miles per tank.
Toya isn't the best, though. A woman from Akita prefecture, nicknamed "Teddy-Girl," is cited on mileage maniac Web sites as getting almost 116 mpg.
More information on Teddy-Girl's 116 mpg run.
And if you are looking to replicate Teddy-Girl's results, check out this Mother Jones article on hypermilers. Wayne Gerdes got 180.91 mpg in a Honda Insight using the following techniques:
"That's a forced auto stop," he says, which is putting the car in neutral, turning off the engine, and gliding. d-fas is a "draft-assisted fas," which means fasing while you're tailgating an 18-wheeler to reduce air resistance. dwb means "driving without brakes," which is not really driving without brakes—even Wayne doesn't do that—but driving as if you don't have brakes. P&G is a pulse and glide, which I still don't understand, but Wayne defines it in his notes for his Hybridfest presentation this way: "In a nutshell, it includes a fas in many hybrid and non-hybrid automobiles to a lower target speed (some hybrids can be influenced into this mode of operation with the right application of multiple accelerator pedal inputs), reigniting the ice, re-engagement of the tranny with the rev match, and re-acceleration to a higher target speed, repeat." Got it?And of course you will want to get yourself an ice vest so you won't need to turn on the AC.
via The Chicago Tribune via The Raw Feed via TreeHugger via digg