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When it comes to the Oxford University 'word of the year' award, it's starting to look like the Oxford authorities on wordsmithing have a bit of a green preference -- and (not to quote McDonald's) I'm loving it. In 2006, the word was "carbon-neutral," last year "locavore," and 2008's New Oxford Dictionary word of the year is "hypermiling." That's hypermiling, as in driving like an extremely slow and cautious weirdo to achieve maximum MPG. Or, as New Oxford puts it: "Hypermiling" or "to hypermile" is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one's car and one's driving techniques. Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding EPA ratings for miles per gallon."
Even though gas prices have plummeted here in the last few weeks -- I recently filled up for $1.86/gallon -- the hypermiling phenomenon definitely made major inroads during 2008 oil price surge. So, I think it's a pretty good choice. Will it stand the test of time? We'll see. I didn't really know this, but hypermiling itself has actually stirred up some controversy, including the condemnation of the American Automobile Association for some of the practices involved. Gee, I always thought the sport of hypermiling sounded extremely boring, but evidently it can be dangerous and illegal as well.
According to Oxford University, some of the death-defying techniques used by hypermilers include, but are not limited to: * "Ridge Riding," i.e. riding on the outer white line on the highway, so as to avoid riding in the water filled ruts and eliminate resistance when it's raining. * Rolling through stop signs, also known as the "California stop." * Over-inflating tires. * Following extra-close behind larger vehicles like semi trucks in order to draft off of them.