Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Tree Hugger - As a way to demonstrate the fuel efficiency of its 2010 Fusion hybrid, Ford created the 1,000 Mile Challenge. The goal was simple: To drive 1,000 miles or more on a single tank of fuel (17.5 gallons) in an unmodified Fusion hybrid. The route used sounds like it was pretty varied, with one part of it in Washington DC that had about 30 light signals (so it wasn't just highway driving). The results were pretty impressive, though not quite the 124 MPG that the Honda Insight got in a different hyper miling challenge, but the Fusion hybrid is much bigger and heavier, and I'm not sure if the Insight did city driving. . .

Which techniques did the Ford team use to achieve this respectable 81.5 MPG average over 1,445.7 miles? Nothing too esoteric:

- Accelerating smoothly up to the posted speed limit
- Applying the pulse and glide technique while maintaining the flow of traffic
- Anticipating traffic signal timing and traffic patterns, and slowing down to minimize stops
- Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear
- Minimizing the use of vehicle systems such as heated seats and air conditioning
- Keeping windows closed whenever possible to reduce drag
- Minimizing excessive engine workload by using the vehicle's kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed
- Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum

These tips can be used in any vehicle, not just hybrids. . . To this list we could add: Keep your tires properly inflated, make sure your air filter is clean, don't carry unnecessary weight, plan your route in advance. And the best of all: Drive less (or don't drive at all).