We all would like to save fuel, whether it is for a noble cause like saving the planet, or for a selfish cause like not burning a hole in the pocket. Here, we at CarWale.com are going to show you how to maximize your fuel efficiency and minimize your visits to the petrol pump.
One trick that works well at conserving fuel on highways is imagining that the car has defective wheel bearings. This should limit your cruising speed, which is good for fuel efficiency. Remember that above 60kph, you’re using up most of your fuel to combat resistance from the air. Car designers have done their bit to make cars more slippery, but short of making cigar-shaped cars, there is no solution that will provide a massive improvement. Cruising at 50kph in top gear will give you the most efficiency, but it may be too slow for your liking. You could lessen the air resistance by driving behind a large truck on the highway, but always keep a safe distance from it. As a rule of thumb, you should be two seconds behind the truck at any speed – an easy way of checking is saying “One one thousand, two one thousand.” If you pass the point where the truck was when you started saying that before you finished, increase the distance. This is vital – the truck will not be able to decelerate as quickly as you can, but it may be able to thud through potholes or rough patches of road that you might need to slow down for.
Another trick that requires a little imagination is the ‘holes in the exhaust’ trick. This will work well for city driving. All you have to do is imagine that your exhaust has holes in it, and your city, strict noise regulations. You can’t drive too slow for fear of getting spotted and pulled over, and you can’t drive fast because high revs means more noise and you’ll definitely be spotted and pulled over. This is no tachometer-watching trickery, just plain imagination helping you get more practical.
Be smooth in your driving – don’t launch your car like racing drivers launch theirs at the start of a race. Don’t try to beat the amber light, you know you’re going to catch up with traffic down the road anyway. Don’t speed in the city for the same reason – it’s unsafe, and you’ll have to brake harder when you do have to stop or slow down, which will use up more fuel. To cut a long story short, here are some more tips to help you save fuel in point form:
Do not ride the clutch. Depress it only to change gears, or when at a standstill.
If you know you’re going to be stationary for an appreciable amount of time at a stoplight, switch the engine off. The amount of energy it takes to start the engine up is roughly three seconds’ worth of idling time, so anything more than that is a waste of fuel.
Drive in a gear that corresponds to the speed you’re at. This means that you shouldn’t be revving the bolts off the engine, or crawling along in top gear. Drive in the gear that your engine feels the most comfortable at, at that speed.
Get your vehicle serviced regularly, so that any glitches get sorted out while they’re still small, and haven’t affected fuel consumption for an extended period of time.
Regular engine checkups are a must – a poorly tuned engine can consume up to 50% more fuel than an engine in good condition.
Driving at 90 kilometers an hour rather than 100 can reduce fuel consumption by 10%
Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 5%. Check your air pressure once a week.
A loaded roof rack will increase fuel consumption by as much as 5% in highway driving. Even an empty roof rack can increase consumption by 1%. If the carrier is detachable, remove it when not in use.
Anticipating stops and avoiding abrupt stops will decrease fuel consumption and increase the life of your brakes and tires.
Avoid unnecessary steering wheel movement since each sideward movement of the tire causes your total driving distance to increase by a small fraction. The less the distance you drive, the less the fuel you’ll consume. Don’t straightline corners, however – safety always comes first.
Accelerate slowly on gravel or slippery roads, maintain a steady speed whenever possible and avoid unnecessary braking.
Don’t rev the engine just before you turn it off – it’ll cost you extra fuel, and can be harmful especially in the case of turbocharged motors.
Take advantage of rolling resistance rather than heavy braking to help slow you down. This technique is one of the best for saving fuel – simply increase your braking distance.
Avoid using the air-con at lower speeds, but roll the windows up and turn it on when cruising at high speeds.
Changing the spark plugs regularly can keep your engine’s efficiency at its optimum.