I left my journey with the impression that hypermiling just isn’t worth it. When driving like that wasn’t slowly killing my soul, I learned it's a fascinating, albeit arduous, chess match. Constant focus on the road is required to maximize momentum and thus efficiency. Each hill and descent requires its own approach, and I found myself gauging whether or not I needed to accelerate on a downslope in order to coast to the next crest, as well as guessing just how much momentum I could carry into each corner.
After all those hours, I was thoroughly spent. Maybe that's exactly the point of the A3 TDi. You can drive yourself insane worrying about every little MPG—it does make a difference—or you can relax and still get good mileage in comfort.
What we were doing was sheer madness. When it was all said and done, I looked, felt, and smelled like a drowned rat, but hey, at least I made it out alive.
Peter Braun is a contributor to Supercompressor. Find more of his work here.