Now, more than ever, drivers are looking for ways to improve their car’s fuel economy in an effort to reduce fuel consumption and expenditure.
In the previous article in this little series we looked at some of the tips that have either been made obsolete by technological developments or never worked in the first place. This time we’ll take a look at a few things that really do work, saving the most important (and least surprising) until last:
Avoid excessive idling:
Contrary to previously accepted wisdom (see the last article), as far as modern cars are concerned it no longer makes any sense to keep your engine idling as opposed to switching off and back on again.
Tests have shown that shutting the engine off for 2 minutes as opposed to idling can bring significant savings.
Of course, the decision depends to an extent on your vehicle age, the nature of the journey, the type of environment you are driving in and other factors, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to be stationary for more than a minute or two, and it is safe to do so, then switching off the engine will definitely save you fuel and money.
Use Cruise Control (selectively):
If your car has cruise control, using it will save you fuel, particularly on longer journeys. Tests conducted by Edmunds.com revealed that using cruise control at highway speeds offered fuel economy savings of 7 percent on average.
Savings will be realised in two ways: First of all, it smoothes out the driver’s accelerator input by preventing “surging.” , and it makes the driver take the “long” view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them (although you should always remain alert to the driving conditions).
It is important to note of course that Cruise Control isn’t suited for all conditions, and if you are in a hilly area then the same kinds of savings will not be realised, because it may try to keep you up to the speed you’ve set and will use extra fuel adjusting gearing to accomplish this.
Remove excess weight:
Removing excess weight from your car can also help you save fuel. Studies carried out by the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drivers can save up to 2 percent just by removing unnecessary items from the car or boot.
Properly Inflated Tyres:
Besides posing a safety hazard, underinflated tires can reduce your fuel economy slightly, with various studies putting the savings at up to 3 percent.
Properly inflated tyres improve safety and wear more evenly anyway and it’s something that is often overlooked.
Make sure your tyres are inflated correctly. These tyres were originally 8 inch racing slicks
Modern tyre-technology is starting to make the fuel savings less apparent, but ensuring that your tyre pressures are all correct is something that should be addressed in any case, so I have still included this option.
However, it should come as no great surprise to find out that the most important factor in saving fuel is – the driver. Sensible driving practices are generally recommended because that’s exactly what they are – sensible. It’s not particularly exciting, but adjusting your driving habits will save you money and increase the safety of yourself and others. The two prime examples we look at here are:
Rapid/Aggressive starts and stops and Exceeding the speed limit
Avoid rapid/aggressive driving:
Don’t floor the pedal when you start the car or pull away from lights. Take your time building up acceleration and look ahead and around you to anticipate when you are going to need to use the brakes.
Of course you have to be aware of the traffic conditions and the speed of other vehicles around you, but the savings that can be achieved are considerable. A number of controlled tests have shown savings of over 30 percent.
Keep your speed down:
On longer trips, keeping your speed down can realise fuel savings of 10% or more.
Again, you have to drive to suit the conditions and surrounding traffic, but the savings that can be achieved by dropping your ‘cruising’ speed just 5-10mph will surprise you. It’s really worth it, and the only price will be arriving a few minutes later, apart from any safety related benefits. All you have to do is plan your journey a little better, leave a few minutes earlier and take it easy – and save some cash.
The good news is that you can improve your fuel usage considerably. The plain truth is that while there are many changes that you make around the edges, the major benefits will come from reviewing and possibly changing your driving habits.dd
What do you think? Are these results surprising or do you know other tips that can help you save petrol? Why not comment and let us know what you think…Author's Google+ Page