CleanMPG Hypermilers Jeff Townsley (Psyshack) and Randall Burkhalter (Highwater) were featured on Tulsa’s Channel 6 News at 10:00.
Scott Thompson - KOTV - May 10, 2006
One hypermiler regularly goes 100 miles on one gallon of gas, and has even gone more than 1,500 miles on one tank of gas.
As seen last night on KOTV - Channel 6 - Tulsa. Oklahoma Drivers Take Fuel Efficiency To The Extreme.
Gas has dropped a penny, but it’s still almost $3 a gallon. It's not a record in Tulsa, but this week, the national average did hit a record $3.07 a gallon. In San Francisco, the price is over $4.30, and Monday some analysts were predicting $4 a gallon nationwide by summer. On Wednesday they upped that estimate to $5. Had enough? Well, Friday morning, pause before you blow past that car on the highway, and consider that the driver may be saving lots of money and gasoline, while you're not. News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson reports on the driving techniques of hypermilers.
Friday afternoon and Jeff Townsley is beginning his drive home from work. Forty-two miles lie between his east Tulsa office and his Okmulgee home, but he's not dreading the trip. In fact, every time he gets behind the wheel, he sees it as his chance to stick it to OPEC. And he says you can, too.
"So many of these tactics and techniques are so basic and so simple that all it requires is good vehicle maintenance and slowing down," hypermiler Jeff Townsley said.
Jeff's what's known as a hypermiler, he's determined to squeeze the highest gas mileage he can out of his Honda Civic. And just two blocks into the trip, he starts saving money by shifting to neutral.
"See, we've got a red light down here, there's not much of a reason to go after, we're just gonna shut the car off," said Townsley.
Yep, he's turned the motor off, but kept the battery power on, and he's coasting toward the entrance ramp to U.S. Highway169. It's a trick he tries at every stoplight.
"Ha, lookee there, we've got a green light," Townsley said.
"So it's anticipation?" asked News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson.
"Anticipation, timing, some of my hypermiling friends would have considered this too hot of an approach, but as a hypermiler I'm kind of on the hot side," Townsley said.
Hypermilers like Jeff drive extremely focused. They always stay at the speed limit or below, and don't let the stares, gestures and honking bother them.
"Now everybody's passing us. That's fine," he said. "Is that the way it always is?" Thompson asked.
"That's the way it always is," replied Townsley. "When people are giving you hand signals and honking at you, you just grin at 'em because hey, you can get all mad and you're driving a car capable of 40 miles per gallon and you're getting 23, I know you are, hey, I'm havin' a good day, I'm pushing 50."
"If you'd had told me I could have gotten 100 miles per gallon in a car, I'd have told you you were crazy," said hypermiler Randy Burkhalter.
Over in Perry, the king of Oklahoma hypermilers is starting his commute, too. When Randy Burkhalter got a job in town, it meant a 90 mile roundtrip from his home in Blackwell. So he parked his pickup and bought a used Honda Insight, a hybrid gasoline-battery powered car. And then he learned the techniques of hypermiling, which means turning the long, lonesome highway into a roller-coaster, shifting to neutral, turning off the engine and letting inertia carry the car.
"We're in neutral. We have no RPM's, we're at 42 miles per hour and our fuel economy across the bottom is pegged at over 150, this is instantaneous at the bottom, this is since we first began the trip 11 miles ago," Burkhalter said.
Both men practice ridge riding. That's hugging the right-side white line. It keeps the car out of the ruts in the road, and in wet weather that saves gas. Both men also plan their routes to avoid construction, congestion, left-hand turns, backing-up, braking and traffic signals. For Jeff, it means taking back roads to avoid Glenpool's stoplights.
"By and large, I stay away from it if at all possible," Townsley said.
For Randy, Tonkawa's sole stoplight is unavoidable. So, he's mastered the art of watching for it blocks away, and timing his glide through the green.
It was that route through Tonkawa last summer that Randy set a world record of 1,534 miles on a tank of gas. Then, Randy and five other hypermilers drove his little car around Tonkawa for 8 days straight, and on one 10.5 gallon tank of gas, they covered 2,255 miles, which they figure must be a record, too.
Jeff finally pulls into Okmulgee and decides to fill-up and figure his mileage for his trip home, 47½ miles per gallon. He figures he could have hit 50 if the headwind weren't so strong.
And Randy, home at last, says hypermiling boosts the Insight's EPA mileage more than 20%, he ends his trip at 105 miles per gallon.
"That's pretty good. Take that, OPEC," he said.
I know what you're thinking; sure, he's got a hybrid. But when that car was in the shop last month, Randy drove his wife's plain old Honda Civic to work, and using hypermiling techniques, he got over 60 miles per gallon.
By the way, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says coasting downgrade in neutral or with the clutch disengaged is illegal.
Extended Interviews with CleanMPG Hypermilers Randy Burkhalter
and Jeff Townsley
To learn how you can up your cars gas mileage, click here
Randall in rural Oklahoma - Hybrid cars and small sedans are the hypermilers car of choice, but they say even a Hummer owner can hypermile.
Randall performing a FAS for the cameras - Hypermilers use extreme methods to save gas, like shifting into neutral and turning off the engine while driving.
Hypermilers like Jeff say one way to save gas is take a route with the smoothest roads and fewest stops.
Jeff Filling up - When you’re getting upwards of 100 miles a gallon you don’t have to fill up very often.
Scott Thompson: What was your mileage on the trip home today?
Randall: 105 miles per gallon even.
Scott Thompson: A Group of Extreme drivers with secrets they’ll share.
Jeff: It’s easily implemented with a little bit of practice in your daily routine.
Randall: Anybody can do it in any vehicle.
Scott Thompson: But there techniques can be controversial. So people hurl obscenities at them or do finger gestures. I am Scott Thompson, my special Report at 10:00
Scott Thompson: Tonight at 10:00, it doesn’t matter if your car is a classic or not, you can boost your gas mileage and beat record high process of the pump. Meet green country drivers who have mastered the techniques of stretching fuel economy every time they get behind the wheel and they say you can learn how too.
Randall: I don’t listen to the radio. I am paying attention to the car, what the car is doing, the traffic ahead of me, behind me, the traffic that is approaching from both sides.
Jeff: It will make you a better driver. You are more aware of your surroundings, the motoring public as a whole, what’s going on around you.
Scott Thompson: Both those fellows have boosted their gas mileage more then 20% by paying attention behind the wheel. You can too, find out how. Tonight at 10:00 …[Read More]