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When you buy a car, one of your biggest considerations is likely the car’s average miles per gallon. The U.S. Department of Energy puts out regular reports listing fuel economy estimates for city driving (stop-and-go traffic), highway driving (longer trips in free-flowing traffic), and a combined rating which averages a combination of the two.

Most people use these averages to set basic expectations for the fuel performance, but a small group of people called “hypermilers” use these estimates as a challenge to beat. By using these hypermiling tips to best the reported averages, you can both save money on gas and become a more eco-friendly driver.

Photo Credit: Flickr User Storm Crypt

Photo Credit: Flickr User Storm Crypt

Leave Early

While punctuality has value of its own, leaving early can also improve your gas mileage. When in a rush to get somewhere, drivers will typically drive faster and more erratically to arrive at the destination as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, while you may make good time, you’re efficiency will plummet. By leaving early, you eliminate the temptation to drive poorly and make safer decisions on the road.

Don’t Drive in Isolation

Many people avoid driving in isolation to avoid being singled out by the cops. But did you know that staying close to the herd can also improve your gas mileage? When driving in a group, you benefit from improved aerodynamics as you experience slight drafting. However, be careful not to tailgate the car in front of you, as the benefits are quite minimal in comparison to increased risk of an accident.

Carry out instead of drive-thru

While this tip is pretty simple, it can make a significant impact depending on your lunchtime routine. By choosing to carry out (or dine in) instead of going through the drive-thru, you avoid several minutes of inefficient idling.

Watch for pedestrian timers

When driving on city streets, you’ll often see pedestrian timers at stoplights and crosswalks. Even in a car, you can use these timers to your advantage. When approaching a light, use the timer to determine whether you will coast to a stop or maintain a constant speed through the light.

Avoid the brake pedal

This last tip is slightly more abstract, but can be one of the most effective. By making a conscious effort to avoid the brake pedal, you will better anticipate times when you need to slow down or come to a stop.

Regardless of whether you drive an old junk car or the latest hybrid, these five tips can improve your gas mileage significantly.