[Words/Photos: Mike Juergens]
“It feels like a Finnish Sauna,” exclaimed Blake, my driving partner, regarding the heat inside our little A3 TDI. What have we gotten ourselves into? we wondered. Hypermiling, defined here as “beating the EPA’s official numbers” is some serious work. It’s an activity that most would write off as tedious—until you are in the middle of it and realize just how nerve-racking it can be. You quickly start to miss things such as air conditioning and the passing lane. Hills start to feel like mountains, especially as the efficiency readout starts ticking down. During our journey this screen would make it painfully obvious how badly we were underperforming. To become efficient you give up creature comforts and risk becoming a nuisance to everyone on the interstate. Especially, the 18-wheelers—trust me, when the speed limit says 75 that’s exactly the rate of speed they try to maintain. We were slow moving intruders in their land.