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> MD 40 MPG Road Trip How to
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NevynPA
post Apr 23 2012, 12:55 PM
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QUOTE (IHeartMyRedCar @ Apr 21 2012, 05:16 PM) *
Now let's talk about uphills and cruise control. We all know any kind of incline kills the gas mileage in the MDs. There are plenty of inclines in upstate NY and VT and I still got 40 MPG! Tip 3: Turn the cruise control off about 0.5 miles before any incline on the highway. If you leave the cruise control on during an incline, the car doesn't know how long the incline will last or how steep it is so it will shoot the RPMs way up (3200+) to maintain the cruising speed even if it's a slight incline. This equals a gas mileage killer. So to fix this, the driver knows how steep the incline is and how long it will last therefore the driver can control the RPM's and speed. Every time I encountered an incline, I would increase my speed only about 5 mph prior to the incline. This barely increases the RPMs and you make it up the incline. So what if you loose a couple MPH while going up the incline, you are still maintaining the best MPG possible. It is important to watch your RPMs here because you only want them to slightly increase, you do not want to JUMP UP to 3000+ rpms on an incline.



This is commonly called "Driving With Load" among hypermilers, and is one of the BEST things to learn in order to keep your MPG up. Excellent job!



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Popkorn
post Apr 23 2012, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for the great write up. I used those tactics with success on a 300 mile trip last weekend.
A little more detail: ECO =off, limited edition with about 7,500 miles on it. Fresh 3rd oil change. Driver/passenger and ~100# of gear, so around a 450lb load.
We traveled a loop from 200' above sea level, over a 4,200' pass, down to ~3,000' high desert floor. 150 miles and the car's meter indicated 36.6mpg.
On the return, we traveled over a 4,800' pass, back down to the Willamette Valley floor. 155 miles and the thingy indicated 39.2mpg. The average speed for the whole trip was 59mph - we hauled azz.
The trick is not only picking up speed before the hill, but using the manual shift to keep the car in 6th or let it lug down and knock it into 5th.
Used cruise most of the time. In the hills but not in the mountains. Tried to keep the rpms under 3k. (Had to pass a few trailers.) Used cruise on the downhills. Why would cruise lose efficiency on downhills?
I'm interested to see if I can dump data back and fourth from the new gps to the Garmin maps app like I do the on the Etrex. More on that later.


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IHeartMyRedCar
post Apr 23 2012, 07:26 PM
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QUOTE (Popkorn @ Apr 23 2012, 08:12 PM) *
Used cruise on the downhills. Why would cruise lose efficiency on downhills?


I will turn off cruise control when going downhill because then I can use the downhill to my advantage. If you leave the cruise control turned on, it will use less gas however it doesn't let you gain speed. It will try and hold the car back to keep it at that speed. Therefore, you aren't using gravity to your advantage.


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Silentwolf
post Apr 23 2012, 08:06 PM
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QUOTE (IHeartMyRedCar @ Apr 23 2012, 12:08 PM) *
Does anyone have experience or true knowledge about switching back and forth between neutral and drive? I was told frequent switching between neutral and drive is hard on the transmission so I don't do it. Is this true?


You have an auto, dont you? Not as sure about that with them. I have a manual,so.......


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VIG
post Apr 23 2012, 08:37 PM
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As for switching to neutral, don't do that. You get better mileage keeping it in drive and coasting. The car turns the fuel injectors off and uses the cars momentum to keep the crankshaft spinning when coasting in drive. If the car is in neutral it can't do this, and must use fuel so it doesn't stall.


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Popkorn
post Apr 23 2012, 08:50 PM
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QUOTE (IHeartMyRedCar @ Apr 23 2012, 05:26 PM) *
If you leave the cruise control turned on, it will use less gas however it doesn't let you gain speed.

Huh??? On a steep hill? I beg to differ. I've driven cars where cruise will actually brake the car if too fast. But not the E car. It was coasting over 75 cruise set at 65.


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benman
post Apr 24 2012, 08:42 AM
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Popkorn -- it depends on how steep the hill is. My experience is that with lower grade hills, the car will use the engine to brake (not actually apply brakes), but at higher grades, the car will run away. On lower grades, without cruise control, I will lose momentum (65 at top of hill, 58-60 at the bottom).


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NevynPA
post Apr 24 2012, 02:44 PM
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QUOTE (IHeartMyRedCar @ Apr 23 2012, 08:26 PM) *
I will turn off cruise control when going downhill because then I can use the downhill to my advantage. If you leave the cruise control turned on, it will use less gas however it doesn't let you gain speed. It will try and hold the car back to keep it at that speed. Therefore, you aren't using gravity to your advantage.


Not 100% correct.

QUOTE (fsv87 @ Apr 23 2012, 09:37 PM) *
As for switching to neutral, don't do that. You get better mileage keeping it in drive and coasting. The car turns the fuel injectors off and uses the cars momentum to keep the crankshaft spinning when coasting in drive. If the car is in neutral it can't do this, and must use fuel so it doesn't stall.


Not 100% correct.

QUOTE (Popkorn @ Apr 23 2012, 09:50 PM) *
Huh??? On a steep hill? I beg to differ. I've driven cars where cruise will actually brake the car if too fast. But not the E car. It was coasting over 75 cruise set at 65.


It can happen, depending on the steepness of the decline.

Here are the two situations:

1). Neutral downhill - essentially freewheeling. Engine is idling, so it is using gas at same rate as idle. Car will gain as much speed as is possible on the descent. If there's an incline or a long run-out (flat area) at the bottom, and the increase in speed from the downhill doesn't put you doing a zillion miles an hour, this is best as you gain the maximum possible momentum.

2). In-gear downhill - engine braking. The engine and drive axles remain connected and in gear. As you begin to pick up speed, the ECU send signal to the fuel injectors to shut off entirely, and engine acts as aux brake to help reduce the speed of the vehicle. Fuel use is ZERO (injectors are off), but momentum gained is highly reduced. Best used when the decline is extremely steep, long, or if speed gained from N-coasting down the hill/mountain will put car going way too fast for speed limit/conditions/etc.


All that to say this: All three of you are right - depending on the situation. If it's a route you are intimately familiar with, you will be able to know if N-coasting or DFCO (deceleration fuel cut off) is the best choice for each downhill along the way. By making use of both options to their fullest potential, you can optimize your driving for the highest possible MPG.


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benman
post Apr 24 2012, 04:30 PM
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What Jeff (NevynPA) says is my experience as well.

Even in neutral, if the grade is low enough, the car will slow down due to drag if you start the downhill at a high speed, like 65-70.

Like Jeff said, on each hill of a normal commute, you need to figure out what will work best.

Although hypermilers poo-poo it, the problem with coasting in neutral is having an additional step (putting it back into Drive) if you need power to avoid a dangerous situation.

I find that on a steeper hill, leaving it in gear is fine if it's steep enough to overcome the engine braking and drag.

On low-grade hills, neutral works best (unless you want to be going 55mph on an interstate when everyone else is going a minimum of 65).

I have a 2-mile low-grade downhill at the end of my commute. At the point I start it (about 10 miles into my commute), my dash computer (reset at the the beginning) usually reads about 24mpg. By the time I reach the bottom of the hill and coast awhile, I'm up around 30. If I don't coast and keep it in gear, it's more like 28.(see footnote)

The other fortunate thing about this hill is that there's a tunnel about a mile from the bottom and the lead-up to the tunnel is flat. So about the time my car is slowing down, traffic is slowing down as well, so I can let it coast a little longer than usual. If I keep it in gear, I have to power it for more of the flat stretch.

Of course, on the way home I have a 2-mile grade uphill and, unfortunately, traffic speed starts to pick up at the bottom of it as we exit the tunnel, but that's life.

Footnote -- yeah, yeah, I know the "right" way to calculate MPG, but like I've said before, a tankful is going to tell me nothing about my commute since my other driving varies wildly from day to day and is mostly "village" driving. The dashboard computer is good for relative comparison (assuming constant inaccuracy as opposed to random inaccuracy).


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NevynPA
post May 4 2012, 09:25 AM
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I pinned this topic to the top of the forum so that it doesn't get lost among all the "I'm not getting 40 MPG average in a car that's rated 40 MPG highway and 33 MPG average" complaints.


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DaveSause
post May 31 2012, 11:31 AM
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Nice writeup ... but what you don't say is that you actually took the trip mileage and divided by the gallons to determine an accurate MPG. You CANNOT trust the MPG guage. Try this, after you have reached cruising speed on a highway on a level surface, with cruise and ECO on - hit the reset on MPG. You may find that when the guage registers it will say something crazy like 99.9 MPG and it will begin to go down. At other times it will hold 50+MPG for quite a while and only gradually will settle to something realistic. Typically my gauge without messing with it reads about 4-5 MPG higher than the actual I calculate using gallons and miles.

Now here are some other interesting facts. When you first fill up, what does the gauge say for range to empty? In my case it always said 322 and I must also say that I was using 87 octance with the standard "up to 10% ethanol". (2012 Elantra limited, tech package, automatic). I also have a 2011 Kia Optima EX which is the 2.4L GDI engine, fully loaded and it normally says 352. I have found in the Kia if I fill up with 87 no ethanol, 89 no ethanol or 91 no ethanol the guage immediately reads higher, like up to 450 miles. It's amazing to me that it analyzes the octane mix and makes a different calculation. On the Elantra I see smaller changes - it might say 340-360. I'm still experimenting, and trying to see if the increase is real and financially justified.

One other issue has an impact. The owner's manual says that either 10W30 or 5W20 oils are OK, but my dealer said there was a service bulletin indicating that 10W30 could cause engine noise and they were reluctant to put in the Castrol GTX 10W30 I provided (and which I've used for 20+ years in all of our cars). I did some reasearch and found that synthetic oils have better high temperature protection even in lighter weights. I also found that Castrol gives 150,000 or 250,000 or 300,000 mile engine warranties by registering on line and saving receipts showing that you used the indicated oil. So now instead of $6 per quart GTX 10W30, I use $10 per quart Edge Titanium 5W20 to get the maximum warranty. Again, the impact was more noticeable in the bigger engine - it seemed to run quieter and had more pep. On the Elantra, it's more subtle. It used to be that lifting off the accelerator immediately produced a drop in speed, now it seems to coast and lose speed more slowly. I believe I am getting better mileage, but I am not sure yet. Oddly the Kia gets within a mile or two per gallon that the Elantra does. Best mileage so far on Elantra, 35.59 MPG all highway, 10W30 oil, 87 no ethanol. Best on the Kia, 32.68,
all highway, 90% highway, 10W30 oil, 87 no ethanol. I conclude that the larger engine doesn't strain, even with the bigger car.

Dave


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rexerex
post Jul 13 2012, 10:23 AM
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QUOTE (DaveSause @ May 31 2012, 10:31 AM) *
Nice writeup ... but what you don't say is that you actually took the trip mileage and divided by the gallons to determine an accurate MPG. You CANNOT trust the MPG guage. ..... Typically my gauge without messing with it reads about 4-5 MPG higher than the actual I calculate using gallons and miles.

Mine too! What about the thought that the MPG program is calibrated for non-ethanol gas and using ~10% ethanol gas might account for the error? Unfortunately I can't find a non-ethanol gas pump anywhere near where I normally drive.

Now here are some other interesting facts. ... I have found in the Kia if I fill up with 87 no ethanol, 89 no ethanol or 91 no ethanol the guage immediately reads higher, like up to 450 miles. It's amazing to me that it analyzes the octane mix and makes a different calculation. ...

I'd be amazed if that's what it's really doing. huh.gif

...

Dave




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