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Gamifying the Commute: Should I Hypermile or Drive Like a Jerk? by donkeypong

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· @donkeypong ·
$51.97
Gamifying the Commute: Should I Hypermile or Drive Like a Jerk?
![Tes;aDisplay.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmRWEryAPpbFfDK2sAqk5fwuPjRwpZVSk4aCPnznCrKkFv/Tes%3BaDisplay.jpg)

Humans sure waste a lot of time commuting to work. My commute is easier than what many people face every day. I am able to work from home some of the time. Getting to my office takes longer, but is not that difficult. A few times a month, however, my job requires me to drive to another office. It’s about an hour away, so that’s a two-hour round trip.  

I finally got tired of paying for gasoline and contributing to the pollution problem. I tried out some electric cars, but I finally settled on a Chevrolet Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It was one of the best decisions I have made. 

![Volt.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmeVpQiy3baqGfYfWwkDwZW53E6V2Rv4RqQ1ptP4DVbcN4/Volt.jpg)
*Chevrolet Volt. Source: Chevrolet*

While I am driving locally, I can use 100% electric power from the Volt’s batteries, which I charge at home for a very low cost. On longer trips, if I can’t find a place to plug in while I am at work, then the vehicle switches over to gasoline partway back. After driving this car for several months, I am averaging 147.5 miles per gallon. I’m getting that number right now from the app on my phone, which connects to my car and displays all of its vitals. 

Electricity must be generated from some source. Many places still use dirty energy for this task, such as burning coal. In the western part of the United States, where I live, much of the electricity comes from hydroelectric power and other clean sources. It’s not entirely clean and I’m under no illusion that making the batteries for these cars is not an energy-intensive practice, but driving this vehicle should be a lot better for the planet than me burning more gas. 

The neatest thing about driving this car is that it makes driving fun again. When you are driving the same route regularly, it can get to be boring. Some people gamify their commute by driving like jerks. Others listen to music or employ other forms of entertainment and stimuli while they are supposed to be watching the road. When autonomous cars come into widespread use, then we can all recline in the backseats and do whatever we want, but we’re not quite there yet. 

![2016-Chevrolet-Volt-17.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmXbkmM6DVLoGyWPE7kH2DJV8pPVWawzxscc21w5GcQrZp/2016-Chevrolet-Volt-17.jpg)
![2016-chevrolet-volt-info-view-100649960-orig.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmXMKEUfUH9AD3DSu4B6LnPcCSZ2QhgVwMRj43ofpUx3ok/2016-chevrolet-volt-info-view-100649960-orig.jpg)
![NissanLeaf.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmXtMcUmAxVkaL9LFVVR9WGN392XeGEnzZ91wqEabUuRy8/NissanLeaf.jpg)
*Some Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf displays. Sure, they aren't video game quality, but you can have a lot of fun monitoring your car's efficiency and maximizing it. Sources: Autoguide.com (top) and PCWorld (middle), Nissan (bottom).*

What is fun about driving an electric or hybrid electric car? The car manufacturers have cooked up all these displays and various bells and whistles on the dashboard that involve the driver in the car’s energy use. You can turn most of them off if you want, but I enjoy using them to make driving fun again. 

Having fun no longer means breaking the speed limit or driving like a jerk. Instead, I leave a little earlier and drive more slowly, hypermiling in the slow lane while others pass me by. Hypermiling means to drive in a way that beats the government’s estimates for a particular car’s fuel efficiency. It essentially involves maintaining momentum by using the brakes and accelerator as little as possible. This means giving the car in front of you a lot of following distance in order to smooth out the stops and starts. You also need to stay around the speed limit or just below it to maintain good fuel efficiency. And don't pile on the speed more than is needed. 

![Hypermiling.png](https://steemitimages.com/DQmPVNCcojgqE6FjBGJ3XKS9BF3apmBYJatfZ45NnLqU3u8/Hypermiling.png)
*Hypermiling. Source: Sustainable America*

If you are interested in learning more about “hypermiling”, I recommend the CNN article (link below this post) about the guy who developed the word. His name is Wayne Gerdes and he holds records for some of the most fuel efficient driving. He gets 60 miles per gallon from his regular Honda Accord. He once pushed a Honda Insight electric car to four times its fuel efficiency rating. He has driven a Toyota Prius from New York to Chicago on a single tank of gas and driven a Dodge Ram from Los Angeles to Denver (including over the Rocky Mountains) on a single tank of gas. It’s certainly possible to drive efficiently when you aren’t in a big hurry. 

In my Volt, I also can increase the fuel efficiency by playing games on the hills. Going up a big hill uses a lot of electrical power, so I often will switch over to the gas engine manually for that part. Going down the other side of the hill, you can feed the batteries by generating power rather than using it. I am still learning how best to do this, but it involves  smart use of speed and limited use of the car’s regenerative braking, depending on traffic and driving conditions.  

So my game has become how to drive as efficiently as possible on electric power until I run out of it, which usually happens part of the way back home on my return trip. When my car switches over to gas, I revert to my previous self and drive like a jerk again (or at least, I drive faster). 

Until we have autonomous cars, when I can sit in the back seat and make better use of time, I’m going to enjoy the drive. Enjoyable driving no longer means having to break the rules, since these cars are starting to program us to be efficiency machines ourselves. Call me a machine, but I’m enjoying the game. 

![Fun.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmXQBMS1axqmC88vjK4BA9bjRHAEQUp8UR7frWwRuWUFvG/Fun.jpg)
*Might as well have fun. Public domain, Pixabay.*

Reference: Hypermiling article from CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/21/world/wayne-gerdes-hypermiling 

*Top image: Tesla*
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@germanlifestyle ·
Holy crap i love this car.Interesting post@donkeypong.good work.upvote and resteemed. Greets
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@arthuradamson ·
$0.14
The dashboard looks like something from Star Trek lol!
Hybrid and electric cars are definitely the future. 
In Norway, where I live, the Tesla is now the No1 selling car. 
All electric cars pay no road Tax so that´s a big incentive of course.
I love my Mx5 but I am also looking at the new electric Audii and the little Tesla Sports. The Tesla itself is just way too big  for me.

Not heard of Hypermiling but from reading this I think I have been driving like that for years anyway without knowing it. Well at least when I used to drive on the freeway back when I lived in the UK. 
Here in Norway with all the mountains and the sharp twists and turns I think it might be difficult.
Actually I will have a chat with my next door neighbor about this, he has a Hybrid car similar to yours. See if can relate to what you talk about here. Fascinating.
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@donkeypong ·
Great comment. Yes, lots of Teslas here, too, but everyone I know who has one says they're taking it in for repairs too often. Hypermiling is just a fancy word for patient, smooth driving, I think. Yes, it might be more difficult with vertical terrain like you have there.
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@jrcornel ·
$0.14
That car looks like it is ready to fly! Sweet ride my friend!
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@liberosist · (edited)
$0.14
I'm afraid hypermiling is a quite futile goal in some parts of the world. 

The ideal hypermiling would be to find a lorry traveling at 60 Km/h (which many do - they have an efficiency agenda too) and get stuck behind it. Reduces pretty much all aerodynamic drag, and those things are constant speed in the slow lanes.

But yes, can't wait for autonomous vehicles. It'll increase world productivity by a lot. (Not to mention, accidents)
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@donkeypong ·
$0.02
It's hard to drive a consistent speed when there are cows in the intersections. :)
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@liberosist ·
Cows are compliant, they move out of the way. Selfish, buffoon drivers who are convinced they own the roads, however...
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@biophil ·
$0.02
There are people in my department at uni who are working on these problems of "mixed autonomy" - where you have autonomous cars and human-driven cars driving on the same highways. They're estimating something like a 3x throughput increase for highways once you have a bunch of autonomous cars that can "platoon" together. Should be an interesting world soon. :)
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@kevinwong ·
$0.15
Lol indeed the best game to play on the road these days. Not sure how it'll appear on the Volt, but the car I'm driving (not 100% electrical) has that eco-green light showing up when the car's operating optimally, which is something I'd try to maintain all the way, even hunting out for "best lines" when curving out on the highway, especially without any cars around. Best bang for the buck :p
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@cassidyandfranks ·
$0.15
147mpg average!!!

Nice
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@beneform ·
$0.15
My dad would do this all the time. He would always cruise to a red light without pressing on the gas pedal. This would cause our car to be slower than the surrounding cars and irritate the drivers behind us (he didn't really care). Apparently, according to him, it saved on fuel costs and brake replacement costs.

He was a serious penny pincher, and still is.
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@simonjay ·
$0.15
@donkeypong you sound like a really good driver, but question, is it difficult to find places to charge where you live?
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@donkeypong ·
Good question. There are lots of places to charge around my area. What I really need is one a bit closer to the office. Honestly, I've mainly been charging at home, though. Will do more investigation of the charging stations soon.
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