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Oxford Word of the Year 2008: Hypermiling

It is my absolute favorite time of the year on the OUPBlog. Word of the Year time (or WOTY as we call it in the office). Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year. The 2008 Word of the Year is (drum-roll please) hypermiling.

Do you keep the tires on your car properly inflated to maximize your gas mileage? Have you removed the roof rack from your vehicle to streamline the car and reduce drag? Do you turn your engine off rather than idle at long stoplights? If you said yes to any of these questions you just might be a “hypermiler.”

Some history:
Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs this web site. “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.

Many of the methods followed by hypermilers are basic common sense—drive the speed limit, avoid hills and stop-and-go traffic, maintain proper tire pressure, don’t let your car idle, get rid of excess cargo—but others practiced by some devotees may seem slightly eccentric:
• driving without shoes (to increase the foot’s sensitivity on the pedals)
• parking so that you don’t have to back up to exit the space
• “ridge-riding” or driving with your tires lined up with the white line at the edge of the road to avoid driving through water-filled ruts in the road when it’s raining

The hypermiling movement has been criticized for its alleged promotion of driving tactics that are considered dangerous or illegal, such as overinflating tires, rolling through stop signs, and following closely behind large vehicles to cut down on wind resistance. The American Automobile Association (AAA) has issued statements condemning hypermiling as unsafe, while hypermilers have countered that AAA’s characterization of hypermiling is a misrepresentation (see links below for more info).

Hypermiling has also gotten some positive attention in 2008, gaining mainstream traction as gas prices soared and the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, especially those from foreign sources, has become more apparent. A new initiative launched by the Association of Automobile Manufacturers and supported by such notables as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger advocates the practice, referring to it as EcoDriving.

President-elect Barack Obama observed during his campaign that Americans could save as much oil as would be produced by proposed off-shore drilling if only they kept their tire pressures at recommended levels and took their cars in for regular tune-ups. Republicans’ subsequent criticisms of Obama’s statement put these measures advocated by hypermilers in the center of the debate between conservation and drilling as solutions to Americans’ foreign oil dependence problem.

A growing number of Americans favor hypermiling as a sensible set of practices for all drivers who are concerned about their wallets, the environment, and fuel independence, not just for those on the fringe who are obsessed with increasing their MPG numbers.

Related Links…

AAA on hypermiling

Wayne Gerdes response to AAA

Links relating to “EcoDriving”:
NBC Chicago
Eco Driving USA

Word of the Year Finalists:

frugalista – person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc.

moofer – a mobile out of office worker – ie. someone who works away from a fixed workplace, via Blackberry/laptop/wi-fi etc. (also verbal noun, moofing)

topless meeting – a meeting in which the participants are barred from using their laptops, Blackberries, cellphones, etc.

toxic debt – mainly sub-prime debts that are now proving so disastrous to banks. They were parceled up and sent around the global financial system like toxic waste, hence the allusion.

Word of the Year Shortlist:

CarrotMob, carrot mob – a flashmob type of gathering, in which people are invited via the Net to all support and reward a local small ethical business such as a shop or café by all patronizing it at the same time. Also as noun, carrotmobbing.

ecohacking (also known as geoengineering) – the use of science in very large-scale projects to change the environment for the better/stop global warming (e.g. by using mirrors in space to deflect sunlight away from Earth).

hockey mom – like a soccer mom, but one who is supportive of her ice-hockey playing kids, as popularized by Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin

link bait – content on a website that encourages [baits] a user to place links to it from other websites

luchador – a wrestler, an exponent of lucha libre [Mexican Spanish, lit. = ‘free wrestling’, a form of professional wrestling originating in Mexico and popular in Latin America, with spectacular moves, showy costumes, etc.]

rewilding – the process of returning an area to its original wild state/flora/fauna etc.

staycation – vacation taken at or near one’s home, taking day trips, etc.

tweet – a short message sent via the Twitter service, using a cellphone or other mobile device.

wardrobe – has become a verb, as in: Ms. Mendes has a long-standing relationship with the house of Calvin Klein and has been wardrobed by Calvin Klein Collection.

Recent Comments

  1. Maud Newton: Blog

    [...] Hypermiling — a concept foreign to most New Yawkers — is the OED’s word of the year. (Last month I attended the OED’s 80th anniversary on OUP’s dime.) [...]

  2. [...] am very disappointed in Oxford’s Word of the Year. “Hypermiling,” a present participle arriving now like a file cruelly lodged between [...]

  3. [...] sí. ‘Hypermiling‘ es la palabra del año en Estados Unidos, según el anuncio que realiza cada año el New Oxford American Dictionary por estas fechas. ¿De [...]

  4. [...] [&#83our&#99e: Oxf&#111&#114d &#85nive&#114sity P&#114ess Bl&#111&#103] [...]

  5. [...] [Source: Oxford University Press Blog] [...]

  6. [...] hyper is replaced by wondermileage or excessivemileage? Thanks for the tip, Rebecca![Source: Oxford University Press Blog]Word of the Year: "Hypermiling" originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Nov 2008 [...]

  7. [...] [So­­urce: O­xf­o­rd U­n­i­versi­ty­ Press Bl­o­g] [...]

  8. [...] Oxford Word of the Year 2008: HypermilingFile under stuff we love: Oxford Word of the Year. "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." Read all about at at the OUPBlog. [...]

  9. [...] [Source: Oxford University Press Blog] [...]

  10. [...] Credit [...]

  11. [...] Oxford University Press Blog [...]

  12. [...] “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.”  [...]

  13. [...] and “toxic debt,” the term “hypermiling” has been named the 2008 Word of the Year by the publishers of the New Oxford American [...]

  14. [...] November 2008 Each year the Oxford New American Dictionary greets the holiday season by announcing a new word of the year.  This year, that word is [...]

  15. [...] …hypermiling. [...]

  16. [...] Hypermiling beat out frugalista (a person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy), moofer (a mobile out of office worker), topless meeting (a meeting in which participants are barred from using their laptops) and toxic debt (sub-prime debts that are now proving so disastrous to banks) for the honor. The complete list of nominees is available HERE. [...]

  17. Needless to Say

    [...] is the Word of the Year for 2008, according to the folks who put out the New Oxford American Dictionary. The OUPblog notes [...]

  18. [...] out “moofer” and “toxic debt,” the term “hypermiling” has been named the 2008 Word of the Year by the publishers of the New Oxford American [...]

  19. [...] Well, the New Oxford American Dictionary has decided to make hypermiling all the more official, as it is the 2008 Word of the Year.  Says the Oxford University Press blog: “Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who [...]

  20. [...] The word of the year, according to the New American Oxford Dictionary. I see the word more often than I actually see people doing it. [...]

  21. [...] car. Congrats to the man who coined it, Wayne Gerdes. Another travel-related word that made Oxford’s 2008 shortlist: the one that shall no longer be [...]

  22. [...] Source: Oxford University Press Blog [...]

  23. [...] | “Hypermiling,” the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year, means trying to maximize gas mileage via car-tinkering and driving techniques to exceed a [...]

  24. [...] is that the Oxford definition also mentions, ahem, "adjusting" the car. Their blog entry announcing the new word asks: [...]

  25. [...] Hypermiling. [...]

  26. [...] pm on November 12, 2008 | # | Tags: life “Hypermilling” is Oxford’s “word of the year” but I think “2.0″ should have been the word/phrase of the year. It has entered the [...]

  27. [...] the term “topless meeting” was a finalist in  the New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2008. For the record, it lost out to [...]

  28. [...] Word Of The Year: Stupid Wait. Does that mean I’m an anti-intellectual? [...]

  29. [...] Gee, I always thought the sport of hypermiling sounded extremely boring, but evidently it can be dangerous and illegal as [...]

  30. [...] Gee, I always thought the sport of hypermiling sounded extremely boring, but evidently it can be dangerous and illegal as [...]

  31. [...] b­u­t eviden­­tl­y­ it can­­ b­e d­an­gero­us an­d­ illegal as­ [...]

  32. [...] Gee, I always thought the sport of hypermiling sounded extremely boring, but evidently it can be dangerous and illegal as [...]

  33. Word of the Year

    [...] choice for Word of the Year. Last year it was “locavore”. This year it’s “hypermiling“. What is hypermiling? (From the link…) “Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to [...]

  34. [...] Word of the Year 2008: Hypermiling to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s [...]

  35. [...] According to the Oxford University Press blog, the term was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs CleanMPG, a web community for those trying to squeeze the maximum number of miles from every gallon of gas they put in their tanks. Oxford defines “hypermiling” as attempting “to  maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques.” [...]

  36. [...] OUPblog – Oxford Word of the Year 2008: Hypermiling Un néologisme intéressant. “Hypermiling” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques. [...]

  37. [...] amusement’s sake, check out Oxford University Press’ Word of the Year, hypermiling (altering your car for best gas mileage), as well as the shortlist which includes [...]

  38. [...] – the process of returning an area to its original wild state/flora/fauna etc. Clip Source: blog.oup.com Word of the Year Finalists: frugalista – person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays [...]

  39. [...] University Press has selected the word “hypermile” as this word of the year.  While I’m excited to see so much enthusiasm for saving gas, I’m a little troubled [...]

  40. [...] stop signs, and following closely behind large vehicles to cut down on wind re Clip Source: blog.oup.com Oxford Word of the Year 2008: Hypermiling It is my absolute favorite time of the year on the [...]

  41. [...] term, which Oxford says was coined by Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG back in 2004, has received newfound attention in the last [...]

  42. [...] American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year: the Word of the Year. And the 2008 Word of the Year winner is: [...]

  43. [...] comments on how the Oxford Dictionary has chosen the word “hypermiling” as word of the year. The word came about in 2004 and [...]

  44. [...] term, which Oxford says was coined by Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG back in 2004, has received newfound attention in the last [...]

  45. A New Day | green | rising

    [...] last week, the Oxford English Dictionary awarded ”hypermiling” its word of the year award, 15+ months after yours truly posted “A [...]

  46. [...] It seems natural that “hypermiling” would become the Word of the Year for the New Oxford American Dictionary, which makes this determination—you’ll never guess—annually (no [...]

  47. Mr Moof

    Moofing may not have made word of the year, but as the creator of the term a couple of years ago and owner of the moofing blog, I’m amazed and excited it got picked up!

    If you want to find out more about moofing, visit http://moof.mobi

  48. [...] with all those wayward corks instead. [KarmaKiss]Check out what the word of the year for 2008 is!! [oupblog]And here’s the upshot we’ve all waited for. [The Daily Green] [...]

  49. [...] my astonishment this week, on discovering that ‘moofing’ was a finalist for the annual Oxford University Press (USA) word of the [...]

  50. Laryssa

    I’m happy that hypermiling made “word of the year!” Too Shy to Stop writer Lauren Bucci just did an article for our magazine about hypermiling. You can read the full article here.

  51. [...] Oxford Word of the Year: Hypermiling “Do you keep the tires on your car properly inflated to maximize your gas mileage? Have you removed the roof rack from your vehicle to streamline the car and reduce drag? Do you turn your engine off rather than idle at long stoplights? If you said yes to any of these questions you just might be a hypermiler…” [...]

  52. The Frugalista Files

    Thanks so much for the “Frugalista” shout out!

  53. Boston Lawyers

    [...] Oxford Word of the Year: Hypermiling “Do you keep the tires on your car properly inflated to maximize your gas mileage? Have you removed the roof rack from your vehicle to streamline the car and reduce drag? Do you turn your engine off rather than idle at long stoplights? If you said yes to any of these questions you just might be a hypermiler…” [...]

    Great quote. I agree with you. Nice Opinion !

    http://boston-lawyers.blogspot.com/

  54. [...] time of the year when the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by releasing its Word of the Year.  The 2008 Word of the Year is “hypermiling”, which means attempting to maximize gas [...]

  55. [...] New Oxford American Dictionary has announced that the Word of the Year for 2008 is hypermiling. [...]

  56. [...] has been selected as the Oxford Word of the Year 2008, or WOTY, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary’s blog. It says the word was coined [...]

  57. [...] this year the “best” selection was the New Oxford American dictionary’s choice: hypermiling. Like “grass station,” hypermiling is a social policy, and one decidedly outside the [...]

  58. [...] “Hype­rm­i­l­i­ng” is­ th­e­ O­­xfo­­rd W­o­­rd o­­f th­e­ Y­e­ar. Inte­re­s­ting th­at th­is­ e­co­­-co­­nce­p­t fo­­llo­­w­s­ up­ o­­n las­t y­e­ar’s­ ch­o­­ice­ b­y­ th­e­ ve­ne­rab­le­ dictio­­nary­ — “lo­c­avo­r­e­,” t­he­ prac­t­i­c­e­ of e­at­i­n­­g food sourc­e­d wi­t­hi­n­­ 100 or so mi­l­e­s. Gre­e­n­­ i­de­as are­ de­fi­n­­i­t­e­l­y­ be­c­omi­n­­g part­ of e­ve­ry­day­ l­i­n­­go. [...]

  59. [...] “Hypermiling” is the Oxford Word of the Year. Interesting that this eco-concept follows up on last year’s choice by the venerable dictionary — “locavore,” the practice of eating food sourced within 100 or so miles. Green ideas are definitely becoming part of everyday lingo. [...]

  60. msirach

    A new Guinness World Book of Records record was set early this morning when the CleanMPG team of Wayne Gerdes, Justin Fons, and Jennie Chen achieved an average of 68.537 mpg in a new 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid sponsored by American Honda and Scangauge! The record was for the highest mpg on a contiguous drive through 48 states.

  61. [...] term, which Oxford says was coined by Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG back in 2004, has received newfound attention in the last [...]

  62. [...] word is out, and the word is hypermiling! Oh yeah! Believe it or not hypermilling is the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year. Their definition is …“Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to [...]

  63. [...] Dictionary (it’s a special book for words like color and aluminum ) has announced it’s Word of the Year 2008: Hypermiling. “Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs this web site. “Hypermiling” or [...]

  64. [...] New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen “hypermiling” as its 2008 word of the year, beating out such other neologisms as “staycation” and [...]

  65. [...] poi trovato divertente il neologismo topless meeting, visto nella classifica americana dell’Oxford Univeristy Press: è una riunione a cui è proibito portare i laptop. Non sarebbe male applicare il concetto a certe [...]

  66. [...] Different organizations have put forth different suggestions for the 2008 word-of-the-year, including change, bailout, overshare, and hypermiling. [...]

  67. [...] HYPERMILE – WOTY Oxford University Press [...]

  68. [...] — The Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year.  According to the Oxford University Press Blog, “hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making [...]

  69. EclecticLip

    [...] and Civic which seem to entice people to start hypermiling.  Hypermiling — the OED’s 2008 Word of the Year — basically means focusing on maximizing fuel efficiency instead of minimizing travel [...]

  70. [...] seinem Blog meldete sich allerdings auch das “New Oxford American Dictionary” ( NOAD ) bereits am 10. 11. [...]

  71. [...] the show noted, hypermiling actually was named Word of the Year by the publishers of the New Oxford American Dictionary. These experts of the English language were fascinated by the amount of attention hypermiling [...]

  72. [...] HYPERMILE – WOTY Oxford University Press [...]

  73. [...] Another approach to conserving fuel would be hypermiling. This word, created in 2004, was Oxford University Press’s word of the year for 2008. [...]

  74. [...] OxFord American Dictionary: hypermiling. According to the Web site, Hypermiling was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes and means “to [...]

  75. [...] Despite the credit crunch (and why is this NOT word/phrase of the year? I mean who HAS hear of hypermiling??) I think it is going to be a great year for [...]

  76. [...] Hypermiling.  I’m sorry OUP could you say that again?  Hypermiling? Never heard of it! Never seen it! Never heard it spoken. Is this because I live in the Antipodes where we live according to metric measurement?  Couldn’t you have thought of something a little more, um, global?  Like “credit crunch” (YES I KNOW that’s a phrase) “market meltdown” “subprime” “de-leveraging” or even “microdermalabrasion”?? [...]

  77. Best of 2008

    [...] oxford word of the year 2008 [...]

  78. [...] Oxford University Press: hypermiling, the “attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques.” [...]

  79. [...] Link – Thanks Rebecca Ford! [...]

  80. [...] online resources where these trendy phrases come from: Oxford Word of the Year 2008, Doubletongued.com, and most news [...]

  81. [...] poi trovato divertente il neologismo topless meeting, visto nella classifica americana dell’Oxford Univeristy Press: è una riunione a cui è proibito portare i laptop. Non sarebbe male applicare il concetto a certe [...]

  82. [...] consumption.  Well, I recently learned that the New Oxford Dictionary announced hypermiling as the 2008 word of the year.  They discuss the history of the word, some of the methods and positive results of changing bad [...]

  83. [...] Well, the New Oxford American Dictionary has decided to make hypermiling all the more official, as it is the 2008 Word of the Year.  Says the Oxford University Press blog: “Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who [...]

  84. [...] taho. Oxford University Press kertoo Oxford American Dictionaryn valinneen vuoden 2008 voittajaksi hypermilingin, mutta paljon hauskempi oli mielestäni topless meeting – a meeting in which the participants are [...]

  85. [...] – Oxford University Press Blog, November 2008 [...]

  86. [...] Hypermiling- New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2008 Word of the Year  [...]

  87. jane

    I’m happy to know that I have been hypermile-ing for the last 60 years.

  88. [...] New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year is hypermiling. It’s no “w00t,” but it will do. The term hypermiling refers to the practice of [...]

  89. [...] Person of the Year was obvious, but hard to ignore. The New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year was less obvious, but it made sense when you thought about [...]

  90. [...] is the Oxford English Dictionary’s 2008 word of the [...]

  91. [...] hypermiling, for instance. 2008’s word, relevant and rich at the time, seems positively archaic now; as electrics and more efficient [...]

  92. [...] 2008, the Word of the Year was hypermiling, and in 2007, locovore. Other WOTY front-runners considered this year by Oxford University Press [...]

  93. [...] year Oxford gave the gift of hypermiling but that didn’t take us very far at all.  However, this year is different — social [...]

  94. [...] OUP chose “hypermiling” last year. I’ve never heard anyone use this word. Have you? I can get behind 2007’s selection of “locavore” even as it makes me cringe, or carbon neutral and podcast the years before that. [...]

  95. [...] has the same longevity as its most recent predecessors. I’ve never heard anyone use 2008’s ‘hypermiling’ (making adjustments to one’s car or one’s driving techniques to maximise fuel-consumption) [...]

  96. Bilety lotnicze

    topless meeting – I usually refered to that as a silent meeting – i guess though everybody is free to use their own “words”.

  97. [...] you visit the blog post announcing the WotY and look through the finalists and shortlist, you see many words that strike [...]

  98. women's lingerie

    topless meeting is my favourite one (((:, truely I couldn`t imagine to attend any meeting without my laptop or even iPhone, I feel naked without them (:

    Greg.

  99. [...] with truthiness and bootylicious anytime soon, but could refudiate join the ranks of unfriend, hypermiling, and locavore as the 2010 Oxford Word of the [...]

  100. [...] hypermiling n. the practice of making adjustments to a vehicle or using driving techniques that will maximize the vehicle’s fuel economy. – DERIVATIVES hypermiler n. [...]

  101. [...] OUPblog » Blog Archive » Oxford Word of the Year 2008: Hypermiling [...]

  102. [...] finalist for “Word of the Year” November 23, 2008 by frugalista Great NEWS! "Frugalista"is an Oxford University Press finalist for "Word of the Year 2008." This is AWESOME!  Here’s what Oxford [...]

  103. Gun Trust

    Carrotmobbing is one of my favorite new words. It is the term for gathering supports to a business that is committed to making socially responsible changes. Instead of boycott, the supporter buycotts.

  104. [...] a real word which is defined as someone who is fashionable and frugal. In fact, according to the Oxford University Press’s Blog, frugalista was one of  their 2008 word of the year finalists.  It seems that these ideas are not [...]

  105. James

    Hmm, hypermiling that is a great word and I think I can find a lot of use for it on my site. (it’s about saving gas mileage)

  106. [...] la Oxford University Press, un écoHack est l’utilisation de la science pour des projets de très grande envergure afin [...]

  107. […] the culture of the current year. From 2004 we’ve had chav, podcast, carbon-neutral, locavore, hypermiling, unfriend, refudiate, squeezed middle, the verb GIF, and selfie. And in the UK, which has somewhat […]

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