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By Kris Van Cleave
March 18, 2022 / 7:16 PM / CBS News
Southern California is home to the nation’s highest gas prices, which are nearly $2 per gallon higher than a year ago. The costs have led some residents to master the art of fuel efficiency.
Wayne Gerdis, who is serious about making his gas tank go further, said he’s getting « well over 80 miles per gallon » — about 60% further than what the Environmental Protection Agency says his plug-in Prius hybrid should be getting.
Gerdis is one of the nation’s leading « hypermilers » — drivers who take fuel economy to the extreme. Some try to reduce drag, drop weight and even draft behind semi trucks.
Gerdis often coasts downhill and takes a slow and steady approach to driving, like going 55 miles per hour on Interstate 5 outside of San Diego, even if it means he’s going a lot slower than virtually everyone else on the road.
« That’s OK, » Gerdis told CBS News. « They aren’t buying my gas. »
Gerdis says he always follows the speed limit.
« Speed kills fuel economy, it does, » he said. « There’s no way around it. »
His goal is to always stay moving by gently accelerating. And he starts slowly braking well before a red light so that he can cruise through as it turns green.
Brian Cooley, an editor at CNET, said the techniques could annoy other drivers, but « most of the tips in the ‘hypermilers’ playbook are smart. »
« The optics are going to be bad to other drivers because it’s not the normal pattern we all follow, » Cooley told CBS News.
On the day CBS News drove around with Gerdis, he averaged 110 miles per gallon on city streets. It all adds up — he saves about $2,500 per year.
« Every dollar I save in fuel is a dollar in my pocket, » he said.
Kris Van Cleave is a congressional correspondent for CBS News based in Washington, D.C.
First published on March 18, 2022 / 7:16 PM
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