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When we recently reported that hyper-miler Wayne Gerdes was going to attempt to drive 1,000 miles on one tank of gasoline in a new 2011 Hyundai Sonata, we were unaware that the drive had actually already occurred. Gerdes and a traveling companion set out from Milwaukee, WI and made it to Riverhead, NY on Long Island on 16.07 gallons of regular unleaded. That's a total distance of 1,065.2 miles which works out to 66.285 miles per gallon. This was a regular manual transmission 2011 Sonata – no hybrid, no diesel – which the EPA rates at 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

While the Sonata is definitely a very efficient sedan, few drivers should expect to achieve 66 mpg (or even 40) in most driving conditions. Gerdes drives with one eye always watching his Scan-Gauge II to make sure he's getting the most out of every gallon. The level of concentration required to consistently achieve these elevated numbers would be impossible for most drivers most of the time. Nonetheless, Gerdes and the Sonata have earned another big thumbs up.

[Source: CleanMPG]


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  • 45 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I saw one of these babies today in the wild. Boy do they look nice. Didn't get a look at the front though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thats incredible, but over what average speed?
        • 5 Years Ago
        He may in fact be a speed-law breaker himself as most HWYS have a minimum speed. I would be interested to see average speed for the trip.

        If he averaged something insanely low this loses some of the impressiveness (but still impressive).
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Hyundais have been putting up some solid numbers recently. Is the EPA estimate THAT BAD?
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah, he was probably gong 40-45 mph on the highway/toll roads....enraging all kinds of nice, speed-law breaking citizens.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't laugh, but I tried hypermiling techniques with my 93 5.0L Mustang (stock motor with exhaust, gears, pulleys) to/from work for about a week and a half. I short shifted, eased into the throttle from stops, coasted with the clutch in as much as possible, and tried to use the A/C as few times as possible. It was tough to drive in this heat with no A/C and to keep concentrating on being efficient. I eventually lost patience and stopped hypermiling with about a 1/4 tank left. I managed to eke out 20MPG in any case which is an improvement over my typical city driving. But it was a god awful experience in the process!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The trip was probably mostly down hill with a tail wind.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Since I actually did read the whole thread on his attempt and technique, I'm going to correct some misinformation about his trip. He DID use the a/c. He did NOT average 50 mph but rather 60 however he did use the pulse and glide method to accelerate to 70 mph and then coast down to 50 mph. Rinse and repeat. He originally timed how long it took to coast down from 70 to 50 mph and then worked on accelerating back to 70 mph in the same amount of time, which really isn't all that fast. None of that full throttle crap. He ran about 45 psi in his tires. He did not draft trucks. He also ended up sitting in some very heavy traffic for a couple of hours which hurt his mileage. Yes he used his scan gauge. At certain times with the engine running and actually propelling the vehicle, the scan gauge registered over 90 mpg. Had he not used the a/c and not gotten caught in traffic, he could have had higher numbers and this isn't even taking into account what he could have done with any kind of a draft although not recommended for safety reasons.

      It wasn't a Top Gear all out attempt to go for distance based on guesses. He practiced driving techniques for a while long before he left on the trip and learned what to do and how to do it. He also noted how much mileage he could get and even stated before the start of the trip that he knew that he could go the distance as a result of what he learned. He just didn't know how much farther past that so when he got to the end they'd fill the tank back up to see how much was left to base it on the mileage. Him completing this was no surprise. He knew he would. Once he knew that, he knew that he could still use the a/c and other ammenities. He wanted it to be representative of what is possible in the real world rather than making every comfort sacrifice possible to do it. The only real trick he used to get there was the pulse and glide technique. Everything else was minor by comparison. Also realize that his car is a 6 sped standard with a direct injected 4 cylinder engine. At 60 mph, the engine is turning at a very low 1600 rpm and will go into lean burn at cruise. That's why he chose this car. He knew he couldn't do it in a Camry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        He also used E10 with its mpg penalty..
        • 5 Years Ago
        Whats the address of the thread where he mentions the average speed of 60?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can just imagine how pissed NY drivers got at him on the LIE. People get mad when your doing a steady 60-65, now this guy would piss people off. I'll admit I'd be a little mad, I hate when people can't keep a constant speed in front of me, though normally it involves a lot of over accelerating and breaking with other people.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if manufacturers could come up with an adaptive cruise control that implements some of the same driving techniques?
        • 5 Years Ago
        series hybrid is the best way. then you can run the generator at its most efficient point while the electric drivetrain delivers the power at a steady speed.

        vary the amount of batteries depending on what battery range you want and it's the perfect solution. it really is the obvious solution for all personal transportation
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've eked out 25.1 with a new 2010 Ford F150 with the 310hp 5.4L. But there has to be little or no traffic to have to brake for. Normally this vehicle averages 18 in traffic.
      Farmer0904
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am not the least surprised at the 66 mpg..My 2007 Hyundai Sonata when I drive it to work up and down on I-70 in Maryland can do pretty good on mpg when I drive it the right way. I travel 60 miles to work and 60 miles back home, if I go 50 to 55 mph, use my cruise control, stay in the same lane with little to none lane jumping and walk to lunch in the middle of the day, also I try to stay behind trucks to block some air resistants and yes I do not tailgate the truck, I stay at least 10 feet behind them, any ways I have found I can go the whole 5 day week on a full tank of gas at the end of the week coasting on fuems, not as impressive as this guys mpg but still nice. Now in honesty, I don't do this much unless I am pinching Penny's that week as I like to speed and go 75 mph which cuts deep into the savings on my gas and a full tank of gas will last me about almost 3 and half days then from the faster driving and lane jumping

      Hyundai is the car to buy if you want style, value, realiabilty and cost savings. Even my resale i seewn has gone up while other makes like toyota is falling like a tank of fuel in a 18 wheeler
        e85evodude
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Farmer0904
        If you were 10 feet behind me at 50mph I would down shift hard!!! That is extreme tail-gating. The proper following distance is approximately 220ft (following the 3 second rule... Someone check my math). I really hate hyper-milers that use this method! It is completely unsafe. Most of you are driving cars with crappy brakes. If you cant stop your car in 10feet from 50 mph why the hell are you following so close. I am all for new ways to increase mileage, however, this tailgateing to decrease wind resistance really pisses me off!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Farmer0904
        10 feet behind a truck going 50+mph is tailgating... I have to believe that you put more than that behind you and the truck in front of you.
      Evan
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great. Women on cell phones, teenagers texting and now idiot hyper-milers staring at their ScanGauges. Am I the only one left that pays attention to the road?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Evan
        I hear you. I just hope the passenger with him was there to monitor it and let him concentrate on driving
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Evan
        Greyhound's still in business. So is Schwinn. lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is my understanding that Wayne does not just 'coast' ... he shuts off the engine FAS .. so he burns no fuel during the coast ... which also means limited power steering , limited brakes, limited 12V power for lights etc, without the alternator running.

      The point about average speed I think is a very important one ... often overlooked.

      From 70 MPH to 35 MPH you have 1/2 the rolling resistance and 1/4 of the wind resistance... there is a built in MPG boost just by driving at a slower average speed... going 1/2 as fast average speed will consume less than half the energy ... thus nothing special about doubling the MPG ... if it involves 1/2 the average speed.... the benefits of a good technique are when they exceed the expected difference that comes automatically from a slower average speed... Wayne has demonstrated this as well ... but the portion of the MPG number reported that came from a slower average speed has nothing to do with good technique ... just what he did beyond that automatic MPG boost.

      There is also a fair amount of skill to P&G well ... which some people like Wayne have accomplished ... others need more work / practice.

      There is an inherrant energy wastefulness to vehicle speed fluctuations... that has to be compensated for by other factors just for P&G to break even , or get ahead ... and that is what people like Wayne have learned to do over many years.

      For example: going from a speed that gave say 12 watts of wind resistance to 3 Watts of wind resistance is 1/4 the wind resistance which you would expect from 1/2 the speed ... but it goes to 48 watts of wind resistance 4x as much when you double the speed ... if you spent half your time at the high 48 watts speed and half your time at the slower 3 watt speed your average speed would be in the middle as if you stayed at 12 watts ... but you would have consumed more energy due to the higher energy loss from wind resistance at higher speeds .... about twice as much energy than if you had just driven a steady rate at the 12 watt speed ... This can be counter balanced by other factors ... that skilled hyper-milers like Wayne exploit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Sonata Hybrid will make this much easier with its autostop, while maintaining full steering and braking control. What speeds do you think he was using for his pulse and glide?
        • 5 Years Ago
        In most modern vehicles, when you are coasting, the injectors will shut off anyhow negating the need to shut off the engine completely. The engine(and thus the accessories) is/are still turning but no fuel is going to the injectors.

        There wouldn't be enough of a benefit to shutting off the engine completely, I wouldn't think, at least not enough to outweigh the obvious disadvantages.

        Only possible way I can think it would be usable is if one were to shift to Neutral while coasting, then shutting the engine off to keep the engine from idling and burning fuel, thus allowing a longer coast. That might increase your mpg's a bit, but it seems like a dangerous option on public roads where this took place.
      • 5 Years Ago
      if at 50mph that's pretty cool. that should tell you what you can expect from a well done series hybrid. especially one that's aerodynamic and low weight. twice this should be quite possible
      Carboy45
      • 4 Years Ago
      What this shows is that driving style and vehicle aerodynamics affect gas mileage more than is generally understood. Accelerating moderately and driving at a steady speed do wonders for improved gas mileage. My 2000 Honda Civic hatchback regularly gets 39-40 MPG on the highway at 75 MPH. Since the EPA does not test a vehicle in motion, it cannot accurately account for vehicle aerodynamics. So EPA numbers validate the fuel efficiency of the drivetrain only. I am of the persuasion that good vehicle aerodynamics can improve highway gas consumption by 10-20 percent over the EPA numbers. Way to go (again) Hyundai.
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