Laurie With, shown by her Honda Civic hybrid in Sauk Rapids, Minn., is part of a dedicated group of people around the country calling themselves hypermilers who strive to get every bit of distance they can out of every drop of gas.

AP Photo/Jim Mone

Using Instant MPG Readout

Because the instant mpg readout gives you information that's, well, instant, you can see exactly how the way you drive impacts your fuel economy.

If your car has an instant mpg display, pay attention to it as you drive. After a while, you'll find that it's easy to refine your driving habits to achieve better mileage. In fact, one simple way to increase mileage is to lightly accelerate away from a stop instead of rapid acceleration. If you track the data the gauge displays when you use each of these methods, it'll be easy to see which technique consumes the least amount of fuel. You can track the data the readout displays as you brake, too. For example, accelerating toward a red light, then braking suddenly uses more gas than coasting toward the light and braking gently at the end. Minimizing brake use by maintaining a constant speed also saves gas because your car's engine is able to operate at a steady rate rather than having to constantly work hard to get your vehicle back up to speed after slowing or stopping.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, instant mpg readout is an important tool for hypermilers. Hypermilers are people who are intensely devoted to getting the best fuel economy possible. They use tricks like gentle acceleration, coasting and even shutting off their engines while they idle in traffic to maximize the number of miles they get per gallon. By relying on the data from their instant mpg readouts, hypermilers are able coach themselves to impressive fuel economy numbers. In fact, on a daily commute, for example, a hypermiler may know the exact places he or she should accelerate, brake and coast to get the best fuel economy for that particular trip.

While hypermilers tend to determine their success based on the average amount of fuel their car uses on a single trip or the distance they can travel on one gallon (3.8 liters) or one tank of fuel, the instant mpg readout gives them accurate, real-time feedback about how they're driving and how certain behaviors affect their fuel economy. So, instant mpg readout isn't the final standard that a hypermiler uses to judge driving performance, but it is an important tool he or she can use to train themselves to drive in the most economical way possible.

Up next, find out if you're up to the challenge of using an instant mpg readout on a daily basis.