Every year, the New Oxford American Dictionary makes a major announcement, it officially crowns the new Word Of The Year. I can imagine the entire New Oxford staff excitedly gathered around the editors desk with paper streamers and noisemakers ready to hear this years winner. It’s a big deal in the dictionary scene, or at least that’s how I imagine it. This year’s word: Hypermiling
This past year we had the summer of $4 dollar gas. American drivers were totally flabbergasted at the pumps. Americans are used to driving around 6,000 pound SUVs, and now those people were paying for gas with a roll of hundred dollar bills. People re-arranged their schedules and lifestyles to better suit their gas mileage. Barack Obama even suggested his convoy keep their tires properly inflated while on the campaign trail. It was a shocking experience, and that shock will forever be remembered in our dictionaries.
To hypermile is to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and driving techniques. Hypermilers try not to brake as often as the rest of us; they turn their engine off at stoplights; they make sure their cars are aerodynamic by removing any roof rack or extra drag inducing bits from their cars; and they always, always keep their tires inflated to the max.
The term was actually coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs CleanMPG.com. He coined the word, but after that it took on a life of it’s own.