Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary chooses the word of the year. Ladies and gentleman, your 2008 Word of the Year:
The word “Hypermiling” was coined by Wayne Gerdes in 2004; he runs the website cleanmpg.com. “Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is an attempt to maximize gas mileage by making adjustments to a car or driving habits by using more fuel-conserving techniques.
Hypermilers try to push their gas mileage to the extreme outer limits of the EPA ratings for miles per gallon. Most of the methods followed by hypermilers are pretty much just your common sense recommendations that’ll save you a few bucks on gas and car maintenance over the course of the year, such as: driving the speed limit, avoiding hills and stop-and-go traffic, maintaining proper tire pressure, not accelerating up to red lights and stop signs, not allowing your car to idle excessively, getting rid of excess cargo, parking so you don’t have to back out of a space. But typical of our American ethos and pushing anything sensible to the limits of reason, some hypermilering techniques may be a little oblique or even illegal, like rolling through stop signs or driving without shoes on -- the sensitivity of your foot on the gas pedal makes you more attentive, or 'ridge-riding' which is 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 or following close behind a larger vehicle so as to cut down on wind resistance, some call it drafting, others call it tail-gating. But here is an odd yet very true notion: if you want to get better gas mileage, listen to slower music. Fast paced music can make a driver more impatient, more aggressive and likely to put the pedal to the metal. Listening to slower paced music tends to reduce stress, is more relaxing and lends itself to safer driving. I’m not sure about the effect of talk radio on driving, I couldn’t find any data. Personally it makes me want to take public transportation or ride a bike… which I think is the best hypermiling idea anyway.
Meanwhile here are the runner ups for New Oxford American Dictionary 2008 Word of the Year:
frugalista – A person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable, hip and healthy by buying second-hand or swapping items such as produce, clothes or furniture and who might grow and maintain a garden, sew or cook at home and use a Flowbee to cut their own hair.
moofer – A mobile out of office worker who works away from a fixed workplace, via technology by using a laptop, Blackberry, etc., or a moofer is, as some have suggested, the 21st century equivalent of a slacker but with a better salary and health plan.
topless meeting -- A meeting in which the participants are barred from using their laptops, Blackberries, cellphones, or anything invented after 1977.
toxic debt -- Mainly sub-prime debts that are now burning down our banking system. They were parceled up and sent around the global financial system like toxic waste, hence the allusion, hence our economic oblivion.