Potentially Insane Ways To Increase Your Fuel Efficiency

Wayne, the world’s most fuel-efficient driver, really hates wasting gas. From MotherJones:

Wayne doesn’t get high mpg marks by tinkering with engines or using funky fuels or even, most days, by driving a hybrid. He gets them by driving consciously – hyperconsciously….

Wayne is doing no more than 15 miles per hour. Before he’s out of sight, though, he turns a full loop on the exit road to slow himself down, so he doesn’t have to brake at a traffic jam ahead. Wayne hates braking.

Here are just a few of the techniques Wayne uses to save gas.

We are not endorsing these, they’re just interesting:

• Avoid braking. As in, stop the car without braking.

• “Ridge-riding” This is Wayne’s term for riding over the white line. It tells people that he’s moving slowly, and has other benefits: “Ridge-riding, Wayne explains, saves gas in the rain, as it gets the wheels out of the puddly grooves in the road created by more, let’s say, traditional drivers. “People are burning fuel to throw water in the air,” he says, adding that you can hear if you’re driving in the road’s grooves or out of them.”

• Drive with no air conditioning, and with the windows up. Yes, “and.” Not “or”. And. (Wayne lives in the Chicago/Milkwaukee area, for those of you familiar with that region’s lovely weather.)

• Take sharp turns at 50 mph with the engine off.

• Push the car out of the driveway.

• Draft 18-Wheelers by driving close behind them. (Never do this!)

The lengths Wayne goes to save gas are strange, occasionally very unwise and sometimes oddly admirable. When the world ends, we’d like to know Wayne. Perhaps not before. —MEGHANN MARCO

This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk [MotherJones via Get Rich Slowly]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Crim Law Geek says:

    I don’t think there is anything admirable about endangering the lives of other drives so that he can think his farts smell better than everybody else’s.

    Driving between lanes means that everybody in both lanes who is driving at a normal speed has to switch lanes to avoid taking out this idiot’s sides. Killing your engine at 50MPH means you have the same traction as neutral-punching (i.e. none). Hopefully this guy becomes a splatter on a semi’s rear-end before he hurts any innocent drivers.

  2. faust1200 says:

    So what’s his actual mileage? I want to hear what is worth endangering his life and everyone around him.

  3. faust1200 says:

    Oh I see it says 59. Well that’s worth it. ?!

  4. A_B says:

    1. Avoid breaking.
    2. Draft 18-Wheelers by driving close behind them.
    3. ????
    4. Profit!

  5. 44 in a Row says:

    I hate Wayne.

  6. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Wayne is an idiot.

  7. Little Mintz Sunshine says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the AC run off the electrical system and therefore is not powered by gas? Also, wouldn’t open windows increase the drag?

    How does Wayne pick up the roadkill and properly cook it on his engine if said engine is off so much? Possum probably tastes better well done.

  8. OnoSideboard says:

    I think this guy teaches drivers’ ed in Austin, Texas. (Anyone been to Austin? Anyone? Bueller?)

  9. MonsieurBon says:

    @Little Mintz Sunshine: The AC system runs from a pulley off of the engine. Also, he said windows UP.

  10. homerjay says:

    This sounds so fake… and if its not, I would appreciate it if you would also post Waynes obit when this activity ultimately takes his live. Just hope it’ll be ONLY his.

  11. TPIRman says:

    Avoid breaking. As in, stop the car without breaking.

    Without breaking what?

  12. oceanfreaky says:

    Hey Wayne, why don’t you just get a bike?

  13. J.D. Roth says:

    Guys, read the article. He *is* crazy, but he’s not advocating anyone else emulate his stunts. There’s an audio interview with him available at the Sierra Club where he gives advice for normal people. (He still advocates rolling stops in that piece, but at least he doesn’t tell peple to draft semis.)

    In the Mother Jones article, I think he’s able to get something like 120mpg. It’s crazy.

  14. AcidReign says:

    …..You’ll die pretty fast in Alabama (or Florida) with no a/c and the windows up in August. Y’all remember the boiled Walmart baby story from last year, right?

  15. He says:

    @Little Mintz Sunshine/@MonsieurBon: It varies car to car. In hybrids, there’s enough electrical oomph (yes, I was an EE) to power an A/C system without it being directly coupled to the engine. Even so, in a hybrid using less juice ups your mileage because you’d be saving battery power. For regular cars, your electrical power would come from the alternator which gets it’s power from the engine via a pulley drive. Even your radio reduces your mileage in theory. I mean, where else would your car get power besides the fuel?

    Real efficiency comes from adding speed holes.

  16. @A_B: Hilarious!

  17. Dashiell says:

    @J.D. Roth: It doesn’t matter whether anyone else follows his advice. If one person is driving like that on the highway, he’s endangering everybody else.

  18. catskyfire says:

    And maybe somebody will learn how to spell “brake” and “braking.”

  19. badhatharry says:

    Why doesn’t this douchebag just get a bike? I’m assuming he grows his own vegan organic foods, so he doesn’t need to go to the grocery store, and he probably smells like a Phish concert, so he can’t hold down a job…where does this guy need to drive in the first place?

    Stupid hippies.

  20. d0x says:

    Wayne is the kind of driver that makes other people crash because they get so pissed off from being stuck behind him its insane.

    How does not using the breaks save on gas? How is he figuring out when and if he is saving gas?

    Does he really think the water on the ground is putting so much strain on his engine that his mileage goes down?

    He’s a fool if he thinks shutting his car off while cornering saves him gas. It takes almost as much gas to start the car as it does to let it idle for 1 min. Therefore he is losing mileage doing this. He is also in danger of locking his steering wheel, losing breaks and power steering.

    This guy needs to have his licensed revoked. He is a danger to everyone on the road and if I ever see him ill siphon his damn gas and then set it on fire.

    Drafting 18 wheelers? Drafting only works if your going pretty fast and 18 wheelers arent the best things to draft because the way the wind flows over the box shape makes more turbulence then anything. Its also a great way to get a trucker bomb hurled at you. If you dont know what that is..well its a bottle of human waste tossed at your car which not only causes damage but also makes it STINK. They do this to people who tailgate, ive seen it happen quite a few times.

  21. OwenCatherwood says:

    Not using the brakes saves gas by making you let off the gas sooner than if you were to break later on. I tend to use this more moderately by letting off the gas as soon as I see the light ahead change but only to the point that traffic and the road dictate.

  22. Scuba Steve says:

    He doesn’t lose gas by turning the car off. He physically pushes it then starts it to get it going again.

    I can’t stress how incredibly insane this guy is. He’s crazy passionate.

  23. shiznannigan says:

    Why would somebody so obsessed with saving gas drive a midsize car?

  24. The Bigger Unit says:

    “Passionate”…meaning…psycho, right?

    My girlfriend works with the mentally ill…Wayne has a common illness: OCD! Hooray for Wayne! He saved 15 gallons of gas!

  25. faust1200 says:

    I would like to sneak over to his house and siphon a few gallons a night from him. Eventually you would see him pulling his car to work like a rickshaw.

  26. matt1978 says:

    Good Lord, so which one of you moaners doesn’t have a weird hobby?
    I swear, if it’s not “I’m better then you because I don’t shop at wal-mart”, it’s something else.

  27. reginae says:

    Wayne has OCD.

  28. Amy Alkon says:

    What an asshole! I have a Honda Insight hybrid and get better mileage if I drive slowly, coast to a stop sign instead of gassing my way there, etc…and I do these things, and more…but ONLY when there’s nobody behind me or near me on the road. Taking up part of the next lane? What a jerk! Let’s hope the cops in his area read Consumerist and give him a big tickee.

    PS Drafting 18-wheelers means you’re not only endangering your life (and those of others on the road should you get into an accident), but you’re breathing in some pretty foul shit. Save a gallon of gas, get lung cancer…wheeee!

  29. Amy Alkon says:

    PS If you really want to save gas, do as my friend Darcy did, and buy a brand-new VW Bug that runs on vegetable oil.

    You can also convert a car to run on vegetable oil for about $2500, or so I hear.

    Unfortunately, I’m technically unsavvy, and the converted bug wasn’t available in 2004 when I bought my Insight.

  30. zolielo says:

    From a post of mine on Jalopnik

    “I am also one of those who detest being stuck behind slow moving hybrids in the HOV.

    Particularly behind a hybrid driver who is focusing on getting high MPG by slow speed plus regenerative braking about turns over moderate MPG by moderate speed and conservation of momentum.”

    Conservation of momentum when safe is the way to go with conventional cars and regenerative braking with hybrids. All of the other tricks in the article are marginal and too off the wall.

  31. The Walking Eye says:

    I don’t know Wayne, but I know I don’t like him.

    I don’t know if this is going on in the entire country, but since the beginning of this year, I’ve been getting about 20% less fuel efficiency. I live in IN, and have a Grand Prix w/ the supercharged engine and my average mileage on the highway went from ~28 to ~22 at the same speed. However, this drop is due to a new formula for the gas and my brother’s seen the same drop in his car. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this.


    Braking is lost energy, causing the car to do more work and using more fuel.


    No he doesn’t. OCD is an anxiety disorder where obsessive/intrusive thoughts occur and the person negates them by doing something compulsive, such as wash their hands. I know OCD has worked it’s way into the lexicon being equated to anal-retentive, but it’s something I’d like to reverse one small step at a time.

  32. Good God. Did none of you pass English class?

    Brakes stop a car. Breaks are what you see in the mirror after you throw a rock at it.

    And this guy is INSANE. We have enough trouble on the roads without Mr. unpredictable coasting, braking, and otherwise pulling stupid shit on the public roadways so he can save a few milliliters of gasoline.

  33. Havok154 says:

    Braking doesn’t waste fuel, it’s the accelerating after braking that wastes fuel. In fact, many cars will cut fuel from the engine while decelerating. By using the engine to slow himself down, he’s actually wasting gas.

    First, he’s taking longer to stop which means he’s using more fuel for longer time since he’s not idling and therefore in a higher rpm range. Second, he’s going to have to accelerate either way, the same amount if he’s stopping either way.

    If he really wants to save gas, he’ll have to cruise at the same speed while using the accelerator as little as possible. Which means he would have to take extremely wide turns at the same speed he was going down the highway. The problem there is that he’s still turning and therefore creating extra friction and breaking the cars momentum. Which comes back to the car having to work harder to keep the current speed. What it all comes down to is that if he were to brake instead of coast to a stop, he will use just as most gas, or more likely, save gas.

    On a side note, this guy is both a jerk and a complete moron. Can’t wait to hear about the day when Wayne gets crushed under the back of a semi for following too close, just because of his lack of concern for the people around him, just so he can get some kind of ego trip off of saving $10 a week.

  34. Omri says:

    He could also save gas by availing himself of public transportation. This would accomplish his goal of reducing net global fuel consumption while also avoiding the risk of him suffering a Darwin Award level death. It’s not like it would take him that much longer – if Douchey McSoontobedead is manually pushing his car out of the driveway, he’s not exactly making good time.

    Seriously, drafting by hanging out in a semi’s blind spot? Is this guy retarded?

  35. lindyman77 says:

    This guy need to use his “Chevrolegs” and stop wasting/endangering the lives of everyone around him. Go back to the hippy, love-in colony Wayne and leave the money-saving to intelligent, sane people like us. Now get out of my gas-guzzling groove before I run you over in my 3mpg SUV Hummer!

  36. homerjay says:

    @matt1978: Oh come on, you can’t be serious. A weird hobby is something like launching frogs into the sky with your kids Estes rockets. This is outright dangerous to a LOT of people…

    I can imagine that the gas he saves himself by creating a hazzard and a spectacle of himself on the road is made up 100-fold by the huge traffic jam he is causing behind him.

    There is nothing smart about this tool….

  37. Pelagius says:

    If I get stuck behind ridge-riding, dead-engine loop-de-looping Wayne, Ima gonna chuck a styrofoam cup full of McDonald’s coffee at his frickin’ car. Unfortunately, it will bounce off his closed windows.

    “I’m a danger to myself and others,
    My cousins are as close as brothers,
    I stay out in the rain all the tiiime!”

  38. mewyn dyner says:

    I’d agree, this guy is insane and in Chicago for that matter. I’m surprised the guy hasn’t ended up in the bottom of a river for his antics. You just don’t disregard the safety of everyone else on the road for saving a few gallons of gasoline.

    @Amy Alkon: Use those breaks on your hybrid!!! You are losing energy you can reclaim by not using them. When you break on a hybrid (not sudden breaking, but normal gentle breaking) the motors act as generators causing the car to slow and charge the batteries. So, if you need to slow, slow with your ‘breaks’.

    And, Havok154 is correct on braking not saving gas. It doesn’t, it’s the post-brake acceleration that uses the gas, so if you want to save some fuel, don’t punch your engine! Now, there is one reason to avoid breaking and that’s wear and tear on your pads, rotors and/or drums. I try not to use my breaks just for that reason, and I find that I need to change my pads a bit less because of it. (Keep in mind, avoid means I coast to slow when possible, but I will use my breaks when I need to. I’m no Wayne. :)

  39. Pasketti says:

    You can get too caught up in watching the mileage gauge in your hybrid to the extent that it’s distracting you from the road. I’ve seen it.

    This guy sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

  40. Amy Alkon says:

    Regarding the brakes, my hybrid does have regenerative braking – meaning I get energy through braking, but in residential neighborhoods, where I’m already going slowly, coasting to a stop sign BEFORE braking (as opposed to gassing my way there) gives me more energy. (There’s a meter on my car that measures this.)

  41. rbb says:

    @Amy Alkon:

    Amy –

    VW diesels running on SVO (straight vegetable oil), WVO (waste vegetable oil) and bio-diesel have been around since the 80s. Check out the forums at forums.tdiclub.com for more information on VW diesels.

  42. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Even better than siphoning this douchebag’s gas would be to ADD gas. He’d think he was getting 500 miles per gallon.

  43. aka Cat says:

    I assume that the ‘white line’ he’s straddling is the one between the road and the shoulder. So not only is he not endangering an additional lane of traffic, he’s making it marginally easier to pass him.

    But it’d still make me nuts to be stuck behind him on the road.

  44. There was a post on jalopnik a couple months ago about this nut. I don’t care how much money he’s saved by driving like an absolute moron, it isn’t enough money to replace one person’s life when someone gets killed because of his insane driving practices. For the record, this type of driving is called “hypermiling”. I hope that the cops in his town eventually catch onto the fact that he’s driving like a maniac and fine him into submission. There’s no reason that I should have to share the roads with a lunatic like this. Remember everyone: it doesn’t matter how good of a driver you are if all of the people around you are idiots.

  45. AcilletaM says:

    Wow, I will never believe there are insane, crazy drivers in the Chicago area. Never!

    I think I was stuck behind this guy once.

  46. kerry says:

    @Omri: Exactly! If he’s commuting between Milwaukee and Chicago (which it sort of sounds like, the “Milwaukee/Chicago area” covers about a hundred miles) he can get as far as Kenosha on commuter rail and the rest of the way to Milwaukee by commuter bus, instead of endangering people with his insane driving. Sell your car, man! It’s more trouble than it’s worth!

  47. Seacub says:

    If Wayne is so afraid of gasoline why is he even driving? Is he proud of this behavior, or is he simply warning us all to watch out for him?

  48. ValkRaider says:

    The guy is an idiot.

    1. He drives 2 hours each way to work. If you really want to save gas – move closer to work or get a different job.

    2. He thinks that the best way to save gas is to enter competitions where we drive cars around all day to see how little gas we can use. In addition, he drives long distances to go to such competitions. Why not just stay home and read a book? There – no gas burned – you win!

    3. All the pissed off people who floor it to go around him when he is coasting 20mph below the speed limit probably burn more extra fuel getting around him than he saves by coasting. Why not just cruise along at the speed of traffic and prevent all those people from having to brake behind you then accelerate to get back up to speed?

    4. At slow speeds – below 40mph – aerodynamics has no impact on fuel economy. Below 40 to 45 mph the engine is working to overcome gravity and friction. So you can open your windows with no loss of fuel economy. Above 45 mph the engine is working primarily to overcome wind resistance – so you are better off using your AC to stay cool than open windows.

  49. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Wow.. just wow. This guy is a total moron and should not be driving. He’s using flawed logic to rationalize his dangerous driving. And for what? To save a few bucks in gas? Take the damn bus, ride a bicycle, or ride a moped. The fact that he sold his Honda Hybrid so that he could get more luxurious features in an Accord just proves that’s he’s stupid.

    I hope the cops in his city read about this story. He needs to get his license revoked.

  50. AcilletaM says:

    He lives somewhere in the Northern burbs and works in Will County, he’s not commuting between Chicago and Milwaukee.

  51. AndrewC says:

    Some of this – the bits that don’t involve 50mph cornering, the lorry-drafting and the kerb-hugging – is very close to the set of techniques an experienced pedal cyclist will use in a city, particularly the parts relating to timing technique approaching traffic lights. Having to provide your own power focusses the mind wonderfully on efficiency.

    What ValkRaider said about living closer to work. Suggests other options for personal transport too, doesn’t it?

    The idea of not losing momentum by not slowing to take corners surely can’t result in a very great payoff. Four-wheelers can’t lean, so more energy will be lost to friction, Mr Squealy-tyres. Also, how much does a new set of auto tyres cost these days?

  52. swalve says:

    To those who asked- any work the car does consumes gas. Running the radio, daytime running lights, the heater- everything. The battery gets its energy from the alternator which gets its energy from the engine. if you’re in a hybrid, you’re better off coasting than starting and stopping. The regenerative braking can only extract somthing like 30% of the energy lost to braking.

    Also, to the guy with the grand prix- something’s wrong with your car, or your gas station. I assume they added 10% ethanol to the gas. Ethanol only has 3/4 the energy content, so your mileage will only go down 2.5% due to the ethanol.

  53. The Walking Eye says:


    I thought the same thing too, but other people here are experiencing the same ~2 mpg loss. The gas has been oxygenated to make for better burning at the expense of lower fuel efficiency.

    It’s apparently coming to the rest of the country soon. So everyone may see a drop in their economy in the next few years.

  54. ViewFromHere says:

    I understand that the oil companies change the gasoline formula during the winter months which drops the fuel efficiency.

  55. kerry says:

    @AcilletaM: If he’s commuting from the northern ‘burbs to Aurora or thereabouts that’s nearly as bad as driving to Milwaukee and also easier to do by public transit. Metra to downtown, then out to Aurora. Regardless, I’m glad I don’t drive anymore because I wouldn’t want to run into this guy. Eesh.

  56. sillybgoat says:

    I run my car with the AC on and my liters per hour doesn’t even change when driving normally. up a hill it does, but city driving i may as well be cool, it doesn’t cost any more.

  57. MarvinMar says:

    Windows down vs. air conditioning
    “Urban puzzle”: it is more efficient, on a hot day, to run with the A/C on and windows up than to run with windows down (b/c of increasing car’s drag).

    Computer-based mpg measurements:

    11.7/11.8 with A/C on and windows up
    11.7/11.8 with A/C off and windows up
    11.3 with A/C off and windows down
    So, according to the computer, it’s better to use A/C with windows up.

    This was too quick and easy for TV, so they decided to stage a seven hour marathon, race-til-you’re-empty duel, with Jamie driving an SUV with A/C on and Adam driving an SUV with windows down. Though, once the safety inspector intervened, it was no longer a seven-hour marathon, it was a bit slower (45mph instead of 55mph), and a lot shorter (only 5 gallons each).

    Jamie’s A/C car ran out of gas first — Adam’s windows down SUV ran for another 30 laps — completely contradicting the computer mpg estimate. Computer estimate based on air flow into the engine, so it would appear that it is unable to properly model the difference between A/C and windows down.


    A/C vs. Windows Down
    Myth: You save more gas driving with the A/C on than with the windows down (original A/C vs. windows down episode summary)

    In the original mythbusting, they did a test at 55mph and A/C was more efficient. However, they used a computer to estimate gas consumption and they didn’t trust it. They did another test at 45mph and drove until the tanks emptied. In this second test, open windows won by a wide margin. They judged the latter test to be the correct result.

    Error according to viewers: As you go faster, open window drag increases to a point where A/C becomes more efficient.

    Court of appeals decision: both results from the original test were correct. At high speeds A/C is more efficient. At low speeds open windows is more efficient. They marked it busted, but I’m not sure what that means.

  58. MrEvil says:

    @Little Mintz Sunshine: AC in a hybrid has an electric compressor. Conventional cars drive the compressor off the engine directly. Either way the compressor will still impart a load to the engine (the electric one just does it by way of the alternator/generator). However you can’t do no AC and windows up in Texas during the summer. On a long drive you’d probably get Heatstroke at best. Up around Lake Michigan you can get away with it.

    Also, no AC works fine when you don’t have to show up in People’s homes. Since the AC Broke on my Explorer I’m sure I smell pretty ripe when I show up at a customer’s place.

  59. That dude’s got some fortitude…

  60. chili_dog says:

    This guy obviously lives in an alternative reality because in the real world, pulling this crap will get you shot.

  61. wring says:

    @A_B: oh god i didn’t think i’d see a jameth reference here.

  62. mewyn dyner says:

    I live in the Chicago area (near suburbs) and know that if this guy does this on a regular basis around other drivers, he’s going to get himself killed.

    I think that his [fill in the blank with your favorite explative] is dangerous, rude to other drivers, and can easily mess up traffic patterns. Other things are just plain wrong.

    One thing that pisses me off is the “don’t brake” crap. It really should be “don’t slow down” because it’s not the breaking that takes up gas, it’s the resuming your previous speed that does.

  63. lalahsghost says:

    I put my car in neutral when going down hills with the 7% decline signs!

  64. shearwater says:

    I ran some hypermiling calculations once that suggested roughly zero net effect on other drivers’ fuel economy. Imagine a four lane highway (2 in each direction) during rush hour. Yes, a bottleneck forms as slow-lane drivers struggle to get around the hypermiler. But no, they do not use more gas due to acceleration on passing. This is because they spend a while driving slowly and save gas along with the hypermiler.

    Being a devout hypermiler myself, I avoid rush hours so I don’t cause bottlenecks. In low-density traffic, people always pass me without having to slow down.

  65. rdm24 says:

    @Johnny: Avoid breaking: Don’t speed up to that red light in front of you. Don’t tailgate. Try to go the average speed of traffic, rather than speeding up to the next car in front of you on the freeway.

    Some of Wayne’s ideas are foolhardy, but others are time-tested ways to save gasoline. And there’s no excuse for wasting gasoline.

  66. rdm24 says:

    Same reasoning applies to AC: Don’t keep it on all the time. Let the AC do its job. Then turn it off (you can keep the fan on). When you feel uncomfortable again, turn the AC back on. Use lower settings when possible.

    The idea isn’t to drive yourself nuts–it’s to conserve energy when it’s simple to do so.

  67. SuchitraVintage says:

    I don’t know if anyone noticed but Insane Wayne has his window down in
    the picture…