Hypermiling legal constraints

Discussion in 'Legislation' started by Bruce, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce cheapskate

    Hypermiling legal constraints - MA

    I did a little research to find out what hypermiling techniques are legal in MA, what aren't, and the consequences. Caveat: I'm not a lawyer.

    MGL Ch. 90 spells out most of the motor vehicle law:


    The Mass Pike (plus Central Artery and tunnels) have their own regulations:


    Fines are listed at:


    Driver's manual is at:


    Surcharge Points values (p. 124-135):


    Of interest to hypermilers:

    - On the Mass Pike, the minimum speed is 40 MPH except in climbing lanes. Violation carries a $20 fine/2 points. On other limited-access highways, the driver's manual considers 45 MPH to be the safe minimum speed. Obstructing traffic (e.g. blocking traffic by going too slow) on any public road carries a $20 fine/2 points.

    - Coasting (operating with gears disengaged) on the Mass Pike carries a $100 fine/2 points. I haven't seen any regulations governing coasting on other public roads.

    - Tailgating has a $100 fine/2 points on the Pike and a $20 fine/2 points on state highways.

    Countering the gas-wasters, MA has a $100 fine ($250 for second offense) for idling more than 5 minutes (unless the engine is needed), and leaving an idling motor vehicle unattended is illegal as well ($35/2 points for first offense, $75 and $150 for 2d and 3d respectively).

    Perhaps others would care to research their respective jurisdictions and post the results here for reference.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2007
  2. Skwyre7

    Skwyre7 Well-Known Member

    Re: Hypermiling legal constraints - VA

    This is what I could find for VA:
    Impeding traffic, slow speed (3 points, stays on record for 5 years)
    Coasting with gears in neutral (3 points, stays on record for 3 years)

    I didn't search for very long, so I didn't find the amounts of the fines.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2007
  3. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    This is a great thread. I'm going to sticky it.

    HCHCIN Well-Known Member

    Re: Hypermiling legal constraints - OH


    Slow speed (below posted minima) 2pts
    Following too close 2pts
    Disregard of safety (seems vague) 4pts
    Unsafe/reckless operation 2-4pts
    Loss of physical control of vehicle 2pts
    Unreasonable for conditions 2pts

    Sort of a laundry list, not sure what all applies, and most of these would probably only be assessed in the case of an accident. That's all I can find for now, and I think points stay on for 3 years, and if I remember right six points is a suspension. --RN
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2007
  5. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I don't see going 40 or less on an open freeway to be much of a problem for a number of reasons. Many urban interstates post a mininium speed limit, most people will feel unsafe goind that slow, and in most cases it's sub optimim for best fuel economy.
  6. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    I think we should keep this thread as clean as we can and put comments in a seperate thread. I like the idea of people posting the laws as they see them in their states. It could be a good quick reference for people.

    Also, a suggestion to anyone posting in the future on this thread. Under title put in the jurisdiction you are talking about.
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Bruce:

    ___I have driven the MASS Pike in the Insight while in the climbing lanes and slowly bled off until I was near 20 - 25 mph in second just below VTEC and above Assist. She sat there again and again during those climbs. I can understand minimums on all Interstates except for the climbing lanes. The slower those 18-wheelers are traveling, the better which of course is completely allowed.

    ___Coasting in N is always an interesting question. We pulled some of the local statutes from various states in a similar thread early last year but I could not find it? All had similar wording IIRC. Coasting in N … on downhill’s. We all know it adds risk vs. keeping your car’s ICE on and in gear. I personally have maneuvered away from an impending rear end accident 6 times in the Insight and once in the Accord but have never outrun one? The best we can do is try and make sure we are all paying attention to what is coming from any direction to the best of our abilities is all. That will not guarantee we can avoid all accidents but it will help avoid most as every one of us have experienced at some point in time.

    ___Most important of all, don’t speed if you can avoid it!

    ___Good Luck

  8. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    I keep wondering how a "no-coasting" law could possibly be enforced: how would an officer ever see that you are doing it?

    With the ICE on, the only giveaway in an automatic would be if you coast below the minimum speed (seemingly less than 5mph) where "D" can be engaged and so must come to a full stop before shifting to D. In a manual, I can't think of any indication.

    With the ICE off, the only clue would probably be a momentary dimming of the lights (if they are on) when cranking the ICE or a sudden slowing if bump-starting a manual. Personally I'm not keen on ICE-off in a car with hydraulic-assist steering - tried it in my Subaru. But the Insight with electric steering is fine as long as one is mindful of the increased brake force required after braking with ICE off.

    The 3-cylinder 2-stroke Saabs of the late '60's/early '70's had a lever in the footwell at the firewall that could be set in either of two positions: normal or freewheeling. In the latter setting the car would coast whenever you let up on the gas. No engine braking (but the 2-stroke didn't give much engine braking anyway).

    HAFNHAF Well-Known Member

    in the insight, after applying the brakes about three times, the ICE starts up again to replenish the vacuum for the brake booster. i ICE-off coast all the time. there is one run as i am coming home from work that is about a mile long. i can usually add about one mpg for the day's commute with that one! :)
  10. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I'm lucky I'm not in jail!!!

    The google toolbar makes searching these LONG docs much easier.

    Illinois DMV website


    Sec. 11-606. slow speed prohibited.

    (625 ILCS 5/11-1410) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1410)
    7 Sec. 11-1410. Coasting prohibited.
    8 (a) The driver of any motor vehicle when traveling upon
    9 a down grade shall not coast with the gears or transmission
    10 of the such vehicle in neutral.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2007
  11. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    More appropriately:

    If you are on a multi lane road and cars can use another lane they might find it hard to prove you impeded trafic since the other lane is available.


    To me implies they must post a minimum speed on any road that driving too slow can cause an impedance or blocking of traffic.

    In reality all this stuff says that it isn't really illegal to drive slow, it is illegal to block or impede traffic.

    At least that's my take on Illinois law.
  12. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    The legalese in these articles looks like the decision could be determined by an arbitrary ruling of a patrolman. I thought I had heard before in Illinois that on an interstate, the minimum speed was 45 mph. I travel only on hilly 2-lane roads with a lot of semi traffic in the early morning.
  13. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    Power steering isn't really needed during normal medium
    to high speed travel -- in fact it often shuts off or
    moderates its effect when the car's traveling above some
    speed or other. It's not needed unless you're wheeling
    around a lot at low speed and it's harder to crank the
    tires against pavement.
    Brake boosters, on the other hand... that's why ECB and a
    nicely engineered regen system is so wonderful..
  14. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    So if I'm coasting ICE-OFF at 65mph in my Subaru (hydraulic power steering) and an emergency "situation" arises ahead, I brake it down to say 30mph, then ask everyone to wait while I restart the ICE so I can swerve quickly? No thanks!!

    IME, bad things happen when you try to brake and swerve simultaneously; if possible it's best to lose speed first and then maneuver. Which puts you into the heavy steering zone if the ICE is off (for typical cars).

    In the Insight I agree that the electric power steering means that there is much less issue with ICE-OFF coasting. You lose the ability to accelerate away from a situation but acceleration isn't the Insight's strong suit anyway.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2007
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lightfoot:

    ___You have my complete agreement with the no-thanks as that is your choice but not for the underlying capabilities of most cars on the road today. FAS’ing is a personal choice but you appear not to understand the technique’s implementation or most automobiles capabilities. You can brake from 60 down to 30 in a FAS and you still have brakes but you are missing a large part of why a FAS is so compelling. If you needed brakes to get down to 30 from 60, you should have rode Fuel cut with engine braking down in the first place, not a FAS while riding the discs! There is absolutely no good reason to have used your brakes in that situation other then an almost emergency stop and you would not FAS into something like that. If you were in a FAS during that situation, 60 to 0 is not a problem either. It is the continual tap tap tap of the binders to bring your speed down is what will get you into trouble in a hurry. You do understand that you should have at least 3 full applications of the brake pedal due to the vacuum left in the boosters before you lose the powered portion of your brake system, right? Again, if you needed to touch those brakes more then 3 times in a coast down, you were not paying attention to what was going on in front of your path and were coming into a traffic situation way to hot. An aggressive driver coming in hot has no business riding a FAS into anything let alone being as traffic aggressive as he or she was in the first place.

    ___About restarting. Why would there be any wait for others while you restart your ICE? If you went from your brakes at 60 to 30 immediately into an acceleration phase, there was at least 5 seconds in the braking portion of the scenario where you could restart your ICE at anytime? I cannot think of a situation where traffic went from 60 – 30 in a hard brake and everyone immediately went WOT to get back to 60. Traffic doesn’t ebb and flow in that manner in Chicago, Detroit, LA, San Francisco, Orlando or Phoenix in my travels over the past 5 years. With your manual transmission equipped automobiles, dump the clutch and you are on your way anyway. You have to be paying attention to what is going on round you including the front and behind. If you are not paying attention to this, I wouldn’t be concerned with pulling a FAS in traffic in the first place as you have no business doing so.

    ___As for an Insights EPS, I pulled the fuse for that capability as it was so over boosted at slow speeds, I hated it :(

    ___Good Luck

  16. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    lightfoot. It isn't as bad as you say. But if you are uncomfortable with it and it is against the law in your area then don't do it. There are many other things you can do both safely and legally.
  17. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Apparently I was unclear so I need to restate it:

    IT'S NOT THE BRAKES THAT WORRY ME, IT'S THE STEERING! And ONLY in cars with hydraulic-assist steering: I've been doing FAS's in my Insight for a while, no problem.

    When I did a test FAS in my Subaru at about 35mph on a quiet local road a few weeks ago, the steering immediately became what I felt was unacceptably heavy. Brakes were not a concern.

    Hobbit pointed out that power steering may phase out at higher speeds. On thinking about it, I realized that in an unforseen emergency situation one usually brakes FIRST and THEN maneuvers, so avoidance is typically done at a lower speed where ICE-OFF will stiffen hydraulic power steering. Again, not a brake issue, a steering issue. If you go back and reread what I wrote I think you'll see this.

    Have been doing ICE-ON coasting in my Subaru with the aid of a Scangauge lately and the results have been pleasing. Previously tank mileages have been 24-25mpg, but today my usual commute hit 33.3mpg (which admittedly is only for the trip, not a tank). The Scangauge makes it possible, and I'm still learning. The Insight gets well into the 70mpg's on the same route, but the Subaru is heavier and AWD, so I'm pleased with 33mpg in it. Obviously ICE-OFF would be even higher.

    Perhaps I'm excessively defensive-minded because of many accident-free years riding motorcycles (ca 200,000 miles - but many riders have more). In 45 years of driving cars and motorcycles I've had only one minor fender-bender (in a car) and I'd like to keep it that way.

    And Tom, as I had posted previously legality isn't a big issue for me because I think coasting is almost undetectable and unprovable, for cars at least. I don't think coasting is particularly unsafe except as noted above AND as long as one's full attention is on driving.
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lightfoot:

    ___I do not know how your Subaru handles steering inputs at speed in a FAS but even in the MDX which is an overweight pig of an SUV, at 30 she will go lock to lock without any undue amount of force. I routinely lane maneuver in the Accord in a FAS while moving from a higher to lower speed lane and have never considered steering input an issue. At 30 + mph, the boost effect of a speed-sensitive PS system is practically nill. At 60, the difference is all but undetectable.

    ___Good Luck

  19. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Good, I think we've learned something here:

    Apparently different hydraulic power-assisted steering (HPAS) vehicles respond differently to ICE-OFF. I thought Subaru's full-time AWD might be a factor but the MDX is full-time AWD, right? And also drivers probably vary as to how heavy the steering can be and still be acceptable to them.

    So perhaps add a comment in FAS-ing instructions for people with HPAS vehicles: they should test-FAS in a safe, low-traffic area to see how heavy the steering feels at various speeds with the ICE OFF so that they can decide if this would be acceptable to them under emergency conditions.
  20. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lightfoot:

    ___Yes, the MDX is an AWD SUV. We ENCOURAGE at a minimum and darn near DEMAND anyone that is considering a FAS no matter the automobile both learn about and practice FAS’ing on an absolutely deserted roadway or parking lot so as to not only understand what is going on but feel what his or her car operates like without power steering and the loss of power brakes after a few pumps. We had a new member who went right for the advanced techniques and blew through a stop sign as well as left his car in the off position (did not reboot) so he probably had no steering since it was locked as well? That scared the hell out of me although fortunately for all of us, no one was hurt. He is a much more aware driver now ;)

    Hi all!

    ___Good Luck


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