HYPERMILING: how i've been able to get 27 MPG with my ST | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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HYPERMILING: how i've been able to get 27 MPG with my ST


Explorer Addict
March 23, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Bay Area CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 sport trac XLT
hey all, im a newbie to the forum, and so far just about everyone has been really cool and helpful in helping me get ideas for my 03 ST i got last month.

i live in CA where gas prices are crazy, so ive been getting into this hypermiling craze and it really works. i also commute in my ST during the week driving about 360+ miles per week. ive been able to squeeze so many extra miles out of my gas during my commutes by following a few easy tips. i have been able to squeeze about 550 miles out of one full tank of gas in my 03 ST XLT 4X2, and that was without letting it run bone dry. so if you want to save money on gas, or want to help the environment, or both, here are some tips that i picked up that work best for me. some of these you may have already heard, but if you do them all-together you can really save some dollars on gas, which means more money to put into your truck! i also left some links below to hypermiling.

1. DRIVE SLOWER ON THE FREEWAY - of course you want to open it up when you are cruising around on the weekends or when you are out wheeling, but when you are on your M-F commute, it really saves money to drive 60 mph or below. i read a figure that said for every 5 MPH you drive over 60 mph, you are decreasing your mileage efficiency by 1 MPG and for every 5 MPH you drive under 60, you increase by 1MPG. if you leave for work a few minutes early and drive 55, you will see the biggest difference in your gas mileage. driving like a grandma really works in saving you money. i try to keep my tach needle from jumping around, and i try not to let it get any higher than 2000 RPM's when im on the freeway. no jackrabbit starts off the stoplights, and no peeling out.

2. USE CRUISE CONTROL WHENEVER POSSIBLE - this will keep your RPM's from jumping up and down while you are at freeway speeds. if you have a +/- feature on your cruise control, use this to accelarate or deccelerate when you are at freeway speeds whenever you can and the when the road is open.

3. DRAFTING - when you are on the freeway, find a big rig and get behind it. the big rig will cut through the wind for you, causing your engine to not work as hard trying to cut through the air and wind. i do this whenever possible, i try not to follow too close so i dont piss off the truck drivers. this is probably not a good idea if you have custom paint, or baby your ride as the trucks can kick up rocks sometimes, but if your truck is a daily beater, go for it, it makes a huge difference. I've even seen truck drivers taking turns drafting each other to save gas.

4. LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD - take out/off any unneccesary weight. stuff in the back seat and bed, roof racks that aren't being used, camper tops, tools that arent being used, anything you dont need on a daily basis will help. you can increase your MPG by 1-2 MPG's for every 150 lbs you take out. one way that i figured out how to lighten up my load was to only fill my tank up half way at a time during my commuting days. i have to pull up to the station more, but by only filling up half way, im cutting that much weight off my load when im commuting.

5. KEEP UP YOUR MAINTAINENCE - keeping your sparkplugs up to date, and all your filters clean really helps in increasing your mileage efficiency. the most important aspect to this is your tire pressure. if your tire pressure is low, that will greatly affect how many miles you can squeeze out of your gas. ive heard of people overinflating them to get even better mileage, but ive been doing fine with keeping them where they should be.

6. SOME MODS UNDERNEATH MAY HELP - some of the mods you may already have might already be helping you save on gas. MAF or CAI intakes and aftermarket exhaust systems help increase gas mileage as long as your foot stays light on the pedal. i noticed a signifigant difference with my KN intake.

7. GET AN APP FOR YOUR PHONE - getting an app for your phone to help you keep track of your fillups can show you how much gas you've been saving or wasting. some even have graphs and provide tips on how to save money on gas. the best part is that you can find any number of these apps for free.

8. GET GAS AT THE COLDEST TIME OF THE DAY/NIGHT - gas is measured in volume at the station, but not mass. because of condensation, gas is at its most massive during the coldest part of the day, but still able to fill the same volume. get it? so filling a 1 gallon jug of gas in the hot afternoon has less mass than filling a one gallon jug of gas during the middle of the night or early morning meaning you just got more gas. it's not much by the gallon, but by the couple tanks full, it is.

9. MINIMIZE HITTING STOP LIGHTS - when im city driving, i figured the places i frequent the most and figured routes that have the least amount of stoplights for each destination. driving a mile or two more distance-wise can save you twice that extra mile or two if you dont hit any stoplights. idling engines are engines burning gas but not getting any mileage.

OTHER TIPS - roll the windows down during city driving if its hot, and roll them up and turn the ac on at a minimum once you hit the freeway. coasting whenever you can. i coast as much as i can and i always take advantage of downhill driving. time stoplights by slowing down to a crawl until it turns green so you never have to stop completely.

my girlfriend started hypermiling too, and her mini cooper S gets around 36 MPG freeway. she went over 535 miles on one fill up. thats a 13 gallon tank meaning she was able to squeeze out about 41 MPG! my personal best in my 03 ST was 550 miles on one tank, meaning that on a 20 gallon tank, i was pushing 27.5 MPG, and that was without me even getting down to the fumes. imagine how much money i'd be saving if gas prices actually went down.

i hope some of these tips help you guys save money on gas, putting it all together has really helped me save big money on gas, and since everyone on this forum has been so helpful to me, i thought i'd return the favor. it sucks at first driving slower and taking more time to get places, but you get used to it and realize you are only getting there a few minutes earlier when you are flooring it. please post any ideas or tips for saving money on gas if you have any that i didnt mention. and also share any experiences or thoughts you have if you try hypermiling. thanks again to everyone who has been so friendly and helpful since i joined the forum.




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Do you shut off your engine too at times when you are moving?

nah, i find that to be a bit extreme, and i dont want to risk damaging anything under the hood. i have read about some people doing that and getting crazy mileage on a tank of gas. it also seems a little dangerous to me. if im stuck in a big traffic jam where ill be at a stop for more than a minute at a time, which happens out here in the bay area alot, i will shut my engine off, but i wouldnt do it while i was moving.

I've played around between toll booths on the Turnpike between my offices (Gen 2's have an mpg display on the dash). Running 75 it will get 16-17 mpg. Running 65 it will get 21-22. I have a Gibson cat-back, K&N, Mobil 1 0w-30 oil, and Mobil 1 ATF in the transfer case.
Tires matter too. I lost 1 mpg when I switched from the OE all-seasons to A/T's but the all-seasons were useless and downright dangerous in snow. A/T's have less rolling resistance than M/T's and all-seasons have less rolling resistance than A/T's.

For number 8, i think you might be thinking of density as opposed by volume...

Regardless, you are correct about the fuel system. When I haul deisel, gas or JP4 fuel b-trains for the military, the scully system used by pumps and refineries actually will only fill the tanks to 90% to allow for that expansion.

Now I dont know about the US standard, but I do know in Canada for a pump to be certified with the weights and measures act, the fuels volume pumped is automatically corrected to 15'C, so if you get fuel when its -45 in the winter, or if you get it at +45 in the summertime, you will recieve the same amount. The compensation is already there, and the pump will have a label next to its certification sticker, or on the face of the machine.

With that, being the trucker that I am for the forces, Im on the road most of the time. Fuel efficiency is prime for us as its the taxpayer's dollars we ride on. So after a few minor beefs I want to pick at, ill add some tips.

Drafting works, however keep in mind, If you cannot see me in my mirrors, I cannot see you.

Note that my Freightliner columbia it takes in excess of 500 feet for me to stop my truck when its loaded in a panic stop. Sometimes more. Your EX will definitally stop in this distance, however bear in mind that not all truckers remember this fact. Watch your rear view mirrors for trucks that are too close to your bumper. You dont want to become a sandwich because the trucker behind you wasnt professional enough as I am to increase his braking distance.


Tire pressure. Tire pressure. tire pressure. Not only excelent for the safety of yourself and passengers, but its critical for your fuel economy. As well dont over inflate your tires to boost your mpg, it will cause irriegular wear. Use the instructions written on your door pillar for stock tires. Some tires are built with ehanced fuel economy. Someone might find better mpg running stock tires as opposed to the person running 33' mickeys with huge knobs.

Fuel grade. A lot od people will go with premium fuels in the hope of increased MPG, it doesnt. Use the fuel grade reccomended by your manufacturer for your engine, otherwise your tossing money out the window.

Gas line anti-freeze, or additives. Canadian regulations (and I imagine US to be the same) require cleaning additives to be added to fuels, as well as corrosion inhibitors and de-icing agents. Some fuels have anti-gelling additives as well. Dont waste your hard earned money on additives to throw in the tank.

Plan your trip!


Traveling at off peak times will save you from getting caught in traffic and wasting fuels. Instead of going out 5-6 times, plan what you need and make 1 trip out of it. Hold off on the coffee run until you need to go out and combine the trip.

Were all in this together. Lets save some money. (So we can blow it wheeling.) XD

I agree with HyperFox on the drafting. I absolutely hate when people whether it be in a four wheeler, sorry (car or truck) would tailgate me or try and draft me.

I've seen too many accidents OTR over the years where four wheelers have gone under the back of a trailer, none of which survived just to try and save gas or just because they think they're not that close to a big truck. I've also seen where a big truck will get a blow out and the tread of the tire has gone through the windshield of the following car causing it to veer over into oncoming traffic killing a family in that car as well.

Like he said if you can't see the driver in the big trucks mirror than you're way to close, even than it's not really safe. I usually drive over to the rumble strips and kick up some dirt just to get them to back off or go around and surely enough it works.

Stay safe out on the roads and remember to keep a safe distance from a big truck, anything can happen in a split second and you won't have enough time or room to get out of trouble.

thanks hyperfox, you are right, drafting is very dangerous. i mentioned not following too close, but forgot to mention that you porbably dont want to be touching bumbers with a giant truck in front of you. when i get behind a truck, i make sure im not riding the truck's backside, just get behind it. i also lean to one side of the lane so i can see the truck's mirror, that way they can see me. its not as efficient as being right behind a truck, but driving behind one certainly helps. so let me re-iterate: PLEASE DONT TAILGATE BIG RIGS! i just try to find one to drive behind at a safe distance. it may not be as effective as riding their tails, but it still helps a bit in helping your engine fight against the wind.

does anyone know what different oil types can do in increasing/decreasing fuel efficiency?

does anyone know what different oil types can do in increasing/decreasing fuel efficiency?

I suspect that falls into the range of the standard deviation you would have anyway, but the Mobil 1 0w-30 Advanced Fuel Economy Formula that I use estimates about a 2% improvement in fuel economy, or $71 a year based on the calculator on their website.


It may or may not save that much but I figure it can't hurt and it's the same price as regular Mobil 1.

Oils and lubes don't always get thinner as they get older. Sometimes they get thicker. Seen it happen on both used motor oil analysis and axle lube. Changed the transfer case lube (it's ATF) on my old Ranger and Sport Trac and my current Sport Trac at 30k (manual says 60k) and it already looked like tar. Had the lube changed in both axles of my daughter's Jeep at the Valvoline Qwicky-Lube (if I take a diff cover off, trust me, it WILL leak after I put it back on) and the first thing I noticed immediately after was that the automatic transmission upshifted quicker. Go figure.

My take is that any fuel economy gain from synthetic oils and lubes will be infinitesimal, in other words a headwind could wipe it out, but there will be a gain nonetheless.