A growing legion of motorists are taking notice of their fuel economy and altering their driving styles to maximize mileage. However, the American Trucking Associations’ has voiced concern that the practice of ‘Hypermiling’ is posing risks to truckers and other drivers.
Hypermiling refers to “making skillful changes to the way you drive” according to one Washington Post article on the subject. Unfortunately, a commonly-used tactic involves closely following or ‘drafting’ tractor-trailers, much like NASCAR drivers do amongst each other on superspeedways.
A number of Web sites on hypermiling have popped up and the ATA is working to have their references to drafting removed. The risks of tailgating tractor-trailers are obvious, and far outweigh any fuel savings.
Some sites also suggest shutting down a hybrid vehicle while coasting to a stop in traffic. Sounds great, except that you lose control of certain vehicle functions when the vehicle is turned off. It’s great to see the general public is beginning to understand the benefits of fuel-efficient driving styles. Truckers have been employing fuel-efficient driving techniques for many years but I guess it takes a buzzword like ‘hypermiling’ to bring it into the mainstream. Hopefully motorists will use common sense and realize there’s a fine line between driving for maximum fuel mileage and risking your life and the lives of others.
After all, that hybrid driver may find himself underneath your rig if he spends too much time watching the fuel MPG readout and not enough time anticipating the traffic flow ahead.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies