Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge - High Mileage Tips

Rex Roy
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Portalatin's summarized secrets are:

  • Slowing down
  • Maintaining even throttle pressure
  • Gradually accelerating
  • Smoothly braking
  • Maintaining a safe (and even generous) distance between vehicles to allow for coasting
  • Anticipating traffic conditions
  • Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste
  • Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine
  • Closing windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag
  • Applying the "Pulse and Glide" technique while maintaining the flow of traffic
  • Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle's kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed
  • Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum

Going into more detail, Portalatin said, "Most people accelerate way to hard from a stop. This wastes huge amounts of energy. You'll get much better mileage accelerating gently up to the speed limit. Once you're at the limit, then you need to glide." By this, Portalatin means releasing most of the pressure on the accelerator so you're using the bare minimum amount of power to maintain your speed. In most cars, this will enable the automatic transmission to shift into its highest, most efficient gear.

Portalatin is a keen observer, "I watch people drive and waste gas every day. Most drivers don't pay attention to the flow of traffic. If you're in traffic, you know you're going to stop again, so anticipate that stop by easing off the accelerator pedal early and coasting as much as you can. Looking way down the road helps you anticipate traffic flow because you can see when traffic lights are going to change and how other cars are behaving." Coasting and light braking help the Fusion Hybrid's mileage considerably because the physical brakes do not engage; all braking is done by the regenerative braking system that is recharging the car's battery pack.

Noting that slowing down makes a difference, Portalatin says, "I drive 50 miles each way to work, so I've had plenty of time to study and test techniques for getting the best highway fuel economy." The advice is not complex. Gil notes, " Unless you work in an aerodynamic lab, you don't understand how much more energy it takes to push a car through the air at 75 mph than at 65 mph, but it's huge." The engineered noted that most cars have a "sweet spot" of efficiency between 65-70 mph, so you don't have to drive at snail-like speeds to improve your mileage ... although driving between 55-65 mph will improve mileage even further. The Fusion Hybrid will run on electric power at speeds up to 47 mph.

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