New guy . . . and I’m on a mission! (long, but important post)

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by GoodPress4Hypermiling, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Greetings,

    First, please see my username.

    I am new to this forum, but am a devout hypermiler (personal car: ’07 Civic). Professionally I have 20+ years of marketing, advertising, and public relations experience. Sitting on the sidelines of the online hypermiling community, it’s been impossible for me to not notice the volume of bad press that hypermiling has been receiving as of late, and several weeks ago, I decided to get involved and do something serious about that. Being semi-retired, I have both the time and the money to do it.

    I have press and lobbying contacts, and I know how to leverage both. My goal is to use connections and knowledge to counter the bad reputation that hypermiling has been getting in the mass media as of late, and to help educate the non-hypermiling public on who we (hypermilers) are, what we’re doing (safe and lawful driving practices to save fuel), and how they can learn to do the same.

    The good that Wayne Gerdes has done for lawful hypermilers with this site is immeasurable. This site is the absolute best place for helping people get inspired about saving fuel, and giving them the know-how to do it properly.

    Like Wayne, I am very interested in helping the hypermiling community, but from another direction. The focus of my energies and attention will be on public and governmental relations, i.e. improving how the general public, policy makers, and law enforcement perceive what we’re doing. I won’t be providing how-to info, product reviews, or an online hypermiling community – I’ll be forwarding people to for all of that.

    I have recently formed a not-for-profit lobbying entity (the Hypermiling Safety Foundation). I am funding the work of this foundation 100% with my own money (don’t worry, I’m not asking for donations). Every “special interest” should have an aggressive lobbying and PR organization, and hypermilers are no different.

    I’m here in this forum asking for help. From Wayne and from the forum membership.

    I need concerned hypermilers to be on the lookout for any representation of hypermiling in the press which appears to have a negative bias. I ask anyone who sees the publication of such a story to forward me information at the Email address listed at the end of this post. I also ask for information on specific law enforcement agencies which appear to have a negative bias toward hypermilers. Finally, it is critical for me to know about any local, state, or federal agencies (or policy makers) which are putting forth any restrictive legislation which would adversely affect lawful hypermiling.

    Essentially, I’m looking for info on anything that hurts us as a community of safe, lawful, and environmentally-concerned drivers.

    One immediate way to help is to put a free “Lawful Hypermiling” safety decal on your car. They cost nothing, and you can order one at Widespread use of the decal will (#1) let politicians and the press know that we are a large and unified voting-bloc, (#2) let other drivers on the road know that you are a hypermiler, and that you may drive in a way that they may not expect, (#3) let law enforcement know that you are conscientious about driving in a safe and lawful way, (#4) will make your vehicle more visible to drivers approaching your car at high-speed from behind, and (#5) hopefully make (non-hypermiling) drivers curious about what hypermiling is.

    This week we are sending a mass-Email burst out to police departments around the country detailing for them what hypermiling is, what the “Lawful Hypermiling” decal looks like (and what it means), who hypermilers are (safe and law abiding drivers), and how we request their officers respond to (and handle) hypermilers - especially during traffic stops. We want road-patrolling police officers to begin to realize that hypermilers may very well be the most conscientious (and least aggressive) drivers on the road

    The other way that folks can help is to donate their professional services. If you work in public relations, legislative relations, law enforcement, mass media, marketing, education, or any other related industry, I’d love to get your input and help.

    What I am trying to get off the ground here isn’t easy or inexpensive, but I feel strongly about preventing hypermiling from becoming a “dirty word”, and both the press and law enforcement appear to be heading in the direction of making it one.

    Thank you for listening. Thank you for your help.


    Contact Email:

    Address for sending info on negative hypermiling press or apparent police bias:[/SIZE][/SIZE]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  2. FSUspectra

    FSUspectra Practicing true conservatism!

    WOW. umm, i am lost for words. Anyone?

    This makes me happy. Go you! :smile:

    I would be willing to do what I can, being that I am in Florida's capital.

    And, as soon has I have my new mailing address, I just may order one of those decals.
  3. Thank you Brandon for your words of encouragement.
  4. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    Welcome to the member community. It's very good to hear your plans and watch as you take your time to improve press relations for the hypermiling community. Any media assistance is helpful and can only make our country more aware and conscious of our dilemna.

    Good luck to you in your endeavors and any assistance I can provide will be done. Again, welcome!
  5. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    Very cool...

  6. Thank you Dan and JusBringIt. Having as many eyes and ears as I can get will be the best way to help. I've been a member of the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Assoc.) for a long time. If that organization hadn't been diligent all those years to protect private pilots from bad press and reactionary legislation, there'd be very little private aviation in this country. Hypermilers are pretty much in the same boat, with one big difference - there aren't any cops in the air pulling over pilots of small planes. There's plenty of cops on our roads whose only knowlegde of hypermiling comes from what they read in their morning paper.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  7. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Here's the problem:

    The term "lawful hypermiling" creates a dichotomy between the law and "regular" hypermiling. The implication is that you need to practice some special form of hypermiling in order to be within the bounds of the law. Your heart may be in the right place, but 20+ years of supposed experience in marketing should have made that apparent.

    You will not find this sticker on my car.
  8. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    One problem with this line of reasoning is that there are few visible signs that someone is hypermiling. We are operating within the law and safely, so what reason would a cop have to pull us over? Driving under the speed limit has been the only indicator so far, and the only reason a few people have been pulled over for that is that cops suspected them of DUI. If a cop sees someone driving unsafely the cop SHOULD pull them over, that has nothing to do with hypermiling or not.

    The reason private aviation has had to be diligent is that sloppiness and poor training results in crashes. Hypermiling is inherently a SAFER mode of driving.

    I agree that bad press should be avoided and that has been a problem for us. If anything we need to promote the fact that hypermiling is inherently safe, far safer than typical driving in the US today.
  9. MT bucket

    MT bucket I want my MPG!

    I can't put one on mine either, in minnesota , if I am coasting out of gear, and I come upon a downgrade, if I don't immediately get back into gear, I am illegal! :(
    Moreover, my vehicle has been hit a couple of times, so even though it is probably one of the safest vehicles to ride in, it looks like a death trap!

    I believe HMrs are more safe and lawful than most other drivers, but perfect? I know I am not.
    Thanks for the suggestions though:)
  10. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

    Thanks for stepping up!

    Is this retroactive to previously published/aired stories, and if so, how far back? One (at least) or our local TV stations parroted a version of the AAA's recent criticisms about a month ago.
  11. In response to JimboK's question -

    Links to any press that appears to have a negative bias agaunst Hypermiling going back 6 to 12 months is probably a good guideline. What I'm trying to do is contact those reporters directly, present a rebuttal of their points, and invite them to write a followup which would include interviews/examinations of safe, lawful hypermilers (which is what we all are).

    In response to Brick's point -

    Tim, I understand your point. The problem though is that bad press has already tarnished a "good word": hypermiling. It has put us into "defense mode" where we become forced to establish a semantically strategic way to counter prejudice or bias (in the court of public opinion) against what we are all doing. Employment of "Positive" words (and actions) are the way to do it. I am all ears if you have a better suggestion than the conceptually positive wording of “Lawful Hypermiling” to counter what people are already reading (and thinking) about Hypermiling. Instead of "Lawful Hypermiling" what if I changed it to "Lawfully Hypermiling", would that be any better, the same, or worse? I agree that the word "Hypermiling" alone should be good enough, but not when it's already garnered a bad reputation. It's the "dirty word" situation I mentioned in my earlier post. Thanks for your input. Everything is helpful (except maybe the thinly-veiled insult about my work experience).

    To lightfoot and MT Bucket – I am in total agreement with you that responsible hypermilers (the vast majority) are actually the most conscientious and least aggressive drivers on the road. The problem is that the public's perception becomes reality.

    Road patrolling police are one of the most important groups for hypermilers to be clearly understood by. When I’m driving under the speed limit and that cop pulls up behind me (perhaps thinking that this is a DUI situation), I’d like him to have a way to immediately know (#1) why I’m driving this way, and (#2) to know that I am serious about abiding by the laws that he enforces. The words on this decal "Lawful Hypermiling" explain that. The fact that his department has hopefully been contacted by my organization ahead of time to educate them on the whole concept in question will hopefully mean that I see his left turn signal start flashing in my rear view mirror, instead of his roof-top lights.

    Yeah guys, I know this isn’t perfect. But it’s a start. I’m all ears to anyone in this forum who wants to suggest better ideas. I don’t know it all, and I’m humble enough to listen to those who might.

    A polite request to all -- I'm already playing defense against those who are throwing wrenches into our works. I openly welcome other (constructive) viewpoints, but please try to keep the insults out of your posts if you don't agree with me. Just tell me your better ideas, and I will be happy to try to run with them. Thanks.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  12. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Thank you for your efforts! I want to think on some of the ideas you have presented -- I'm not sure I'll come up with anything but I will definitely share if I do.

    We need all the positive reinforcement we can get, and I appreciate anyone making the effort.
  13. hunter44102

    hunter44102 Well-Known Member

    A few months ago my local tv channel news had an online article where one of the opposing views was that hypermiling was outright dangerous.

    In the blog that followed, some bad comments were made also and I remember responding to some of the criticisms but unfortunately I can't find the article on their site anymore.

    I believe that what we may want to do is create a public Hypermiling FAQ (is there one already?) where we can debunk the most common critisicms of hypermiling.
  14. brother

    brother Well-Known Member

    Whew. That wore me out (and I thought I was windy). ;)
  15. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    We should skip the legality issue and emphasize the safety aspect. The only possibly-illegal thing we do is coasting in neutral, and that law (1) is rather unenforceable, (2) varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and (3) is intended for steep downhills (where we would be in gear in DFCO anyway) rather than the gradual downhills that are good for P&G. Everything else is perfectly legal, so why raise the issue at all???

    Something like "Hypermiling = Safetymiling" perhaps.
  16. MT bucket

    MT bucket I want my MPG!

    I like it! :)
  17. Thanks for the great opinions.

    To Right Lane Cruiser – Thanks for the encouragement.

    To hunter 44102 – I think the info here on CleanMPG is probably the best public hypermiling FAQ there is. I will make sure that the Foundation’s site links to the “What is Hypermiling” link here along with Wayne’s “Beating the EPA - The Why’s and how to Hypermile” article. The more the public can read those two items, the better.

    To Catgic – WOW! Thanks for the great input. I may call upon you for some of your (obviously) well-thought out and creative vernacular (if I may).

    To lightfoot – I’m game for changing my focus from “Lawful” to “Safe”. Not a problem there. If the organization is going to make that change of focus (and program name), I’d like to get it right on this iteration. I’m asking for input from anyone with an opinion.

    Okay, time for an impromptu focus group:

    Instead of “Lawful Hypermiling”, which of the following public awareness program titles conveys the more correct message:

    - “Safe Hypermiling”
    - “Safer Hypermiling”
    - “Hypermiling Safety”
    - "Hypermiling is Safe"
    (added after reading brother's suggestion - thanks bro)

    Please give some input now folks so I don’t have to rework this thing a third time later on.

    I’m trying to get this to a place that works well for all interested parties. Thank you everyone.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  18. brother

    brother Well-Known Member

    >Hypermiling is safe<
    Probably too simple -- just says what it says
  19. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Wow! Thanks for your pro activity in what so many of us are devoted to. Thanks also for being open minded with the constructive criticism. It reflects your professionalism.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  20. MT bucket

    MT bucket I want my MPG!

    Mabye "hyper miling is safer" ?

    I don't think any kind of driving is absolutely safe, but the experts I found on this site are about as close to it as can be! :)

    Good luck GP4H !


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