Petrol and diesel are getting more expensive by the day, but our incomes and dependence on fuel are not changing. Somehow, it feels like we need more gas than before to fuel our daily commute for work, recreation, and other necessary tasks. We consumers cannot really influence gas prices unless we stop buying it altogether. Since we need to keep life moving, what we CAN do is adjust our driving habits to get more mileage from our fuel tanks. This short post is about sharing some tried and tested techniques to reduce fuel consumption and getting the most number of kilometers or miles per liter or gallon of gas.
1. Keep a light foot to reduce fuel consumption
This is the #1 way for making your car use less fuel. The idea is to shift your gears earlier at and RPM of 2000 instead of 6000 like racers do and allow your car to accelerate slowly and steadily. If you know you have to drive at 60 Kilometers per hour on a given road, you don’t have to get to 60 km/h immediately. By shifting your gears at low RPMs, you are getting to 60 but using less gas in the process.
One way of doing this is “keeping a light foot” on the accelerator. By doing this you are opening the throttle ever so slightly, just enough to draw the minimum amount of gas into your engine. By flooring the pedal you open the throttle all the way and force the car to draw as much fuel as possible to generate all that torque and horsepower. For what? Going at 60 and stopping at a red light? Just apply a minimal amount of pressure on your foot and let the car cruise in chill mode.
Keeping a light foot is not just about acceleration. It applies to deceleration as well. The earlier you let go of the gas, the longer the throttle would remain closed and the car would move with its momentum towards the next red light. In order to do this, look far ahead and plan well in advance when to take your foot off the accelerator before braking. Braking at the last second is not only silly but also means you are unnecessarily making your car burn fuel only to stop at a red light.
2. Does Shifting to neutral at red lights save fuel?
According to this post, this habit does not help fuel consumption in any way. In fact, shifting your car to neutral causes a slight rise in your RPM, especially if your air conditioner is running. As a good driving habit, is it better to keep your foot on the brake at red lights to avoid getting too far ahead if rear-ended.
In conclusion, keep your car in drive at red lights with your foot on the brake and don’t mess around with your transmission. To learn more about this fuel saving tips, check out this post.
3. Fill up when your fuel tank is half empty
With fuel, there is no half glass full perspective. The glass is always getting emptier by the drop. The objective here is to keep your tank full for as long as you can. This is because as your fuel tank gets emptier, the amount of gasoline turning into vapor begins to increase. When the fuel level gets very low, a significant amount of petrol turns into, well, gas in the empty space in the fuel tank. This vaporized version of fuel is not very useful for your engine and sort of just gets wasted.
To get the most of your gas and minimize the amount of vaporization, it is recommended to keep your tank at least half full at all times. I am not saying you should fill up every time your drive, but do not let your tank level drop to a point where vaporization becomes substantial.
If you calculate your fuel average at each refill by dividing the number of kilometers you drove since last refill by the number of liters or gallons you bought, you will notice higher fuel averages with half tank refills compared to full tank refills.
4. Air Conditioning management to reduce fuel consumption
Continued usage of the air conditioner has substantial impact on our fuel average. It can easily shed 1-2 kilometers per liter from your car’s fuel economy without air conditioner. As a result, our cars always give better fuel economy in the winter as compared to the summer.
The only solution here is to use your air conditioner in a discontinuous manner. Turn on the air conditioner only when you feel hot and turn it off when you feel cold or comfortable. If it isn’t very hot to begin with, try driving with the windows down and enjoy some fresh air for a change.
Digital climate control systems do exactly this but automatically. They turn on the air-conditioner compressor only when your interior temperature goes above your desired climate settings. If the electronically controlled turning on and off of your compressor does not mess it up, then neither will your manual push of that AC button.
For those who have digital climate control in their cars, the only fuel saving advice here is to enjoy air-conditioning of 23-25 degrees rather than freezing cold temperatures of 16 or 18 degrees. This would make your air conditioning compressor work gently and not be too harsh on your engine and fuel consumption.
5. Use better engine oil for less gas consumption
Next time you go for your routine engine oil change, buy the premium grade engine oil. It may sound like you are paying more money upfront, but after those 5000 or 10,000 kilometers lapse, you will find that you save the equivalent of 1 whole gas tank. Check out this article to learn how this works.
You may also try using different engine oil additives that can improve your engine performance and save even more gas.
6. Reduce fuel consumption with trip planning
Whether its your daily work commute, or visiting a friend, plan your trip before leaving home. Figure out where all the red lights are, avoid rush hour, and try to choose a route on which you can maintain constant speed and minimize idling time.
7. Try using Hi-Octane Petrol
Try the tips to reduce fuel consumption and see what you can come up with on your own.