Oxford University Press has let me down yet again with their 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 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.

Maybe it’s just me, but that just sounds like some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder. And I doubt that the term “hypermiling” is used very often outside conversations taking place among fellow hypermilers. This is the same problem I had with the choice of “locavore” last year. The word has little impact outside the insular community which coined it.

From my point of view, a better choice would have been “staycation” (which was apparently on their short list). I suspect more people have heard of the term, and because of the state of the economy quite a few probably practiced it.