Hypermiling – masochism or fun?
Coming back from the Techno-Classica Motor Show at Essen, I decided that, as I was behind the wheel of my long-term Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion, I’d try and get a really good fuel consumption figure out of it. I’d been thinking along these lines on the way down, taking it easy, staying within the 70mph speed limit in the UK, then not doing my usual foot-to-the-floor stuff once over the channel.
The net result was a consumption figure of 69mpg by the time I reached my first stop-over in Germany. Pleased, I slept for the night, knowing I’d saved shedloads of cash, proving also that the Golf was utterly economical when it wanted to be.
A couple of days later, having pottered around Germany and with the tank still showing half full, when it came to my time to leave, I decided to really go for it and see what I could get out of the Golf. Now, if this sounds like a boring thing to do, bear with me, because, ordinarily, I’d be stifling a yawn too…
You see, with the MFD computer fitted, I was able to watch the journey’s average fuel consumption figure and, as the miles rolled on, sitting behind trucks, draughting them whenever possible, it was fun to see that mpg figure rise slowly. By the time I’d reached Liege, it passed 70mpg and, as Brussels rolled past, that figure had jumped to 75mpg. Indeed, as each barrier was passed, I’d start thinking about the next one – could it do 70, 75… maybe even 80mpg?
The miles rolled on – slowly – and sitting with the trucks remained relaxing. The journey went smoothly – I counted down the miles on the really rather good Navigon Premium 70 satnav, MP3s playing loudly away. I wasn’t in a rush, enjoying the moment, calm and zen descended. The ambition to see that average rise became an obsession, each truck ahead seen as a helpful friend in ekeing out the most from the car.
Anyway, somewhere between Ostende and Dunkirk, the MFD showed 80mpg and my feeling of elation was illogically high. It reminded me of the time I’d cracked 180mph in an Audi R8 on the autobahn heading for Berlin – only without the adrenaline – and, if that sounds silly, I can understand that. It does to me too.
Heading for the Eurotunnel, the average topped 82.4mpg, and I was delighted with the result. Remember this average was for a 240-mile journey in the real world. Awesome… All this has got me thinking – if I can stomach the slow progress, I can get to some very cool places for very little money. My trip to – and from – Essen came in at £75 in all – in today’s terms that’s very little money.
I would, of course, have preferred to go in my classic Rover 3500 but that would have cost £200-plus and I was officially on business…
That’s the point, though. Having a car like this and ekeing out the fuel does make the pain of filling up a whole lot more bearable and it also means more money to spend on my Rover when the time comes to get out and enjoy it. I see the benefits of such a plan – I just wish an 80mpg-plus car was within my financial reach.
Having said that, the car doesn’t go back to VW until May and we do have a long Bank Holiday coming up. Watch this space.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.