"Hypermiling has nothing to do with making modifications to your vehicle or what kind of car you drive," explains Wayne Gerdes, owner of CleanMPG.com, and the man who coined the increasingly popular term. "It does, however, have everything to do with how you drive," he says.

According to our expert, any driver can become a hypermiler. "If done properly, the average driver can beat the Transport Canada Combined Fuel Consumption Rating (CFCR) of his or her vehicle by 40-50% in the summer and 10% in the winter," he explains. Even hybrid owners can increase their CFCR.

That adds up to huge savings at the pumps — not to mention the benefits to the environment.

Hypermilers take a two-pronged approach: maintaining their cars to be more fuel efficient, and being aware of their driving style and environment.

Set up your vehicle for maximum fuel efficiency

Hypermiling starts before your key turns in the ignition:

  • Pump up your tires. Inflate your tires to the proper sidewall recommendation. You'll find the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) listed on the tires themselves.
  • Install a scan gauge. If your car doesn't have one, install an aftermarket scan gauge that gives you an instant fuel-consumption reading. "This trains you to be a more fuel-efficient driver. You can buy one for about $170 plus shipping," Mr. Gerdes estimates.  
  • Reduce the weight of your vehicle. "No junk in your trunk," he says. "And don't tow anything unless it's absolutely necessary."
  • Streamline your drive. Remove anything hanging off your car including roof racks, flags and hitches. 
  • Maintain to sustain. For maximum fuel efficiency, follow your owner's manual and ensure that the engine is well tuned and that filters are clean.

Five driving tips to improve your gas efficiency

  1. Always go the speed limit. Whether you're on the highway or making your way through a busy downtown core, don't go faster than the speed limit — even if other drivers are passing you.
  2. Drive at a steady pace. "You don't want to accelerate or brake heavily. Doing so reduces fuel economy by as much as 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town," warns Mr. Gerdes. It's far more fuel-efficient to stick to a set speed rather than change pace.
  3. Practice smart braking. "Use your brakes as little as possible," he advises. "That means slowing down when approaching a red light so that it may turn green by the time you reach it. You'll save yourself from idling at a red light."
  4. Don't idle unnecessarily. "If you're driving in the city, it doesn't make sense to turn your engine off at every red light," Mr. Gerdes clarifies. "But if you're waiting for your kids to get out of school or swim class, turn your engine off."
  5. Use the highway when you can. For city drivers, hypermiling includes bypassing gridlock for more fuel-efficient highway driving, even if it's a longer ride. "On the highway, you'll take about 12% longer to get to your destination, but hypermiling can increase your fuel economy by 50%," explains our expert. "Alternatively, driving 10 kph over the speed limit can mean that you're not even achieving your automobile's combined fuel consumption potential."