Gas prices are low right now, but I wouldn’t count on it staying that way forever. While the frugal crowd will advocate that you use your bicycle for transportation, the reality is that cars are a necessity for many people.
I think everyone can relate to the heavy sigh and eye-rolling that often accompanies topping off your gas tank. Hopefully, you’re at least getting some credit card points for the purchase.
So, how can you make sure you are only filling up your tank as often as is completely necessary, and stretch out the period between fill-ups?
How to Hypermile
New(ish) cars are often equipped with a fancy pants mileage gauge that will tell you what your gas mileage is currently, and on average.
It is a thrilling feeling to see your mileage jump up way higher than you expect. If you usually sit at 20-30 miles per gallon, seeing the gauge jump up to 60 or 70 mpg is a strange sort of thrill.
The idea behind hypermiling is to use your brake and gas pedals as infrequently as possible- the preference is to coast as much as possible, and therefore save money.
Similar to the Snapshot program (discussed below), this requires you to be totally aware of what is going on around you on the road!
If you are coming up to a yellow/red light, simply take your foot off the gas and coast, rather than waiting until you reach the light and then hitting the brakes.
If there is construction, traffic, or a lane merge ahead, all you have to do is take your foot off the gas and coast towards the impediment. Your car will naturally slow down and you are using less gas to get to the same place.
This trick is especially great if you regularly drive on city streets, but you can even use it on the highway- you just have to be prepared to drive a little below the other driver’s speed.
The faster you drive, the more gas you use up, and highways are notorious for extreme speeds. Stay in the right lane and lay off the gas. Bonus points if you enjoy other drivers giving you nasty looks or honking their horn.
You need to keep your eye on your surroundings with any hypermiling tricks, however, make sure to obey all local traffic laws. You obviously don’t want to attract the attention of traffic police or accidentally coast through a red light or stop sign.
There are also more extreme tricks to hypermiling. They include turning the engine off while coasting down hills or at long stoplights. Especially at train tracks where you may be sitting a while.
As I was researching hypermiling, I came across the Progressive Snapshot program as well. If you are a safe driver, you can save even more money by combinging hypermiling and snapshot.
No, it isn’t just a TV trick from Flo the Progressive gal, it is a real device that tracks your driving. If you are a rush-hour commuter, don’t stress yourself out with the snapshot program, instead, stick with hypermiling tricks to save you money on your gas.
Using Progressive’s Snapshot to Save Money on Insurance
Everyone knows Flo the Progressive gal, right?
She has fabulous dark hair and bright red lipstick, and she sells car insurance on television. In her recent set of commercials, she drives around doing silly things promoting Progressive’s newest campaign- the “Snapshot” program.
Essentially, the program entails putting a device in your car that tracks your driving activity with the intention of saving you money. But how does it work, and does tracking your daily driving activity sound like something you want to do?
Set aside notions about giving up your privacy, or conspiracy theories about the insurance company. The device doesn’t track your routes, rather the motion of your car and your speed. It sends the data to Progressive to help save you money based on your good driving habits.
According to the Progressive website, the Snapshot program is great for drivers who “avoid hard braking or stop-and-go driving, drive fewer than 30 miles per day, or avoid driving between midnight and 4 a.m.” Sounds like hypermiling, doesn’t it?
These are all things that you can’t tell to an online form when you sign up for insurance the first time- the computer just doesn’t understand that you are a great driver. The little device that plugs into your dashboard, however, sends all of the information to Progressive to tell them all of those wonderful little driving habits you have cultivated.
You can log in to the progressive website at any time to see your data from the snapshot program and check out your little report card that they provide. It will tell you how many miles you drive every week, how long you were driving, and now many times you had a “hard brake.”
The software also takes into account the time of day and the location that you are driving to determine if your driving is “high risk” or “low risk.”
So, if you regularly drive in rush hour traffic on the freeways, it may be considered a high-risk drive, but if you find yourself more often on side streets in the late morning or early afternoon, you will be considered a low-risk driver.
If you live close to work and pride yourself on being an extremely safe driver, the program can be great. If you are a driver who loves to text and drive or takes the freeway for an hour to work, it most likely won’t work for you
However, when you do install the device, you may find yourself driving safer and changing your driving habits for the better. It is a win-win scenario. You drive safer to save money, and you save money because you are driving safer!
Drivers who have used the snapshot program have seen themselves increasing their good driving behavior. They might pay more attention during high-traffic hours to make sure they aren’t braking hard at stoplights, or choose to run errands in the middle of the day rather than peak rush hour times.
Even switching from highway commuting to city streets can make you a safer driver and save you money on your Snapshot!
If the Snapshot program doesn’t work for your driving habits- if perhaps you have a long commute to work or regularly sit in rush-hour traffic, you can still save some dough with hypermiling!
Hypermiling may sound like something from a science fiction movie, but it is, in fact, an attainable set of driving tricks that can save you money on gas.
Have you tried hypermiling or snapshot?