MITSUBISHI Motors North America (MMNA), which recently held the Mitsubishi Motors Extreme MPG Hypermiling Challenge, announced a Mitsubishi Mirage has yielded “an astounding fuel efficiency of 74.1mpg.”
That miles-per-gallon figure, to us here in the Philippines, means 31.503 kilometers per liter (kpl). Locally, the Mirage is officially reckoned to log around 21kpl under normal driving conditions.
MMNA said that winning the hypermiling contest was Aaron Gold of About.com, who drove a Kiwi Green 2014 Mirage. Following him in the 440-kilometer route from Las Vegas, Nevada, to MMNA’s headquarters in Cypress, California, were Mike Austin of Popular Mechanics and Joni Gray of Autobytel, both in identical Mirages and who tied with an average fuel economy rating of 29.122kpl.
“I never figured I’d come in over 70mpg,” Gold said. “All three of us kept our speeds down. I think keeping my eyes way down the road, planning ahead and avoiding sudden changes of speed was what gave me the edge. Truth be told, the car made it pretty easy.”
MMNA said that as part of the rules for the event, the participants were only allowed to make minor modifications to their cars, and that all opted to reduce aerodynamic drag by taping over the gaps between the hood and the fenders, along with covering up sections on their vehicles’ front fascia to varying degrees.
“This was such an exciting event, to have such knowledgeable colleagues in our industry to push the limit to see how high of an mpg can be achieved in our 2014 Mirage,” said Don Swearingen, executive vice president at MMNA.
In the US the 2014 Mirage with a continuously variable transmission has an EPA-rated fuel consumption of 17kpl in combined city and highway driving.
Hypermiling, practiced locally in activities usually called as “fuel eco runs,” is a form of energy-efficient driving, the goal of which is to travel the most distance on the least amount of fuel consumed. Rules in hypermiling contests vary from one to another. Depending on the rules, techniques usually involve basic driving practices as building up speed gradually, travelling at around 70kph and anticipating traffic ahead. In more extreme cases, participants may resort to pushing the car in stop-and-go traffic (like in highway toll booths) and switching the air-conditioning off but keeping the windows closed.
However, other practices are downright dangerous. These include over-inflating tires for less rolling resistance, folding side-view mirrors to cut air drag, switching the engine off on downhill stretches, or weaving through slower traffic to maintain momentum.