Top 10 fuel saving tips for drivers

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driver overload car fuel efficiency

Reducing your vehicle’s fuel consumption is better for the environment and better for your pocket. In recessionary times such as these, retailers across the board are cutting prices in order to encourage consumers to buy. Not so with fuel prices. Gasoline is not seen as a discretionary purchase and therefore price depends more on availability of the product than the availability of cash to the consumer. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount you spend on fuel and we have put together our top 10 tips to help you achieve this. You may be surprised at just how much you can save by implementing even some of the tips set out below.

  1. Tighten up! One of the simplest fuel saving tips is to ensure that the fuel cap on your car is fully tightened. This reduces possible evaporation of fuel caused by the outside air temperature and the heating of the vehicle itself. “Gasoline, especially higher octane fuels, tends to vaporize and evaporate readily if exposed to the atmosphere. When securely in place, a gas cap helps keep the gas tank under pressure and reduce the evaporation process” [source: ehow]
  2. On your mark! If you are one of those people who likes to be first out of the starting blocks at the traffic lights then it may be costing you. Speeding, accelerating and braking hard can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 33% (Environmental Protection Agency [source: fueleconomy.gov]). Where possible and practical, accelerate and brake gently, this will minimise the demands on the engine and therefore the fuel consumed.
  3. Jettison the cargo! Weight is the single most important factor effecting fuel consumption and also one of the easiest to address. Regularly empty your car as most people carry a lot of excess cargo (golf clubs, kids strollers etc.) that will be costing them on fuel. “For every extra 100 pounds you carry in your vehicle, you reduce gas mileage and fuel economy by roughly 2%” [source:dailyfueleconomytip.com]
  4. Tired tires? A significant amount of the energy required for propelling a car forward is used in overcoming the ‘rolling resistance’ of the tires. The resistance that occurs when a tyre moves forward is due mostly to the deformation of the object (the flattening effect at the bottom of the tyre where it has contact with the road). The recommended tyre pressure for your car will have been exactly calculated to take this into account and ensure the least ‘rolling resistance’ and therefore greatest fuel efficiency. Tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month and at the start of a journey, as the heating up of the tires will alter the pressure. “25% too low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance by 10% and fuel consumption by 2%” [source: ecodrive.org]
  5. Slow down: Most drivers really don’t like to be told to slow down but aside from the safety aspect, adhering to the speed limit rather than exceeding it, will save you on fuel consumption “gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas.” [source:fueleconomy.gov]
  6. Don’t be a drag! Any form of drag is going to increase your fuel consumption considerably. So anything from driving with a roof rack to driving at speed with windows open will have this effect. If you don’t need the roof rack for a journey – don’t use it. If you can open your window a little less then do so too. Using the example of a ski box on the roof of a car “at a speed of 120km/h, it can cause at least a 20% increase in the amount of fuel consumption”. [source: ecodrive.org]
  7. Be smart with the air-con: Air conditioning (and in-car heaters) have a significant impact on fuel consumption, particularly if used when the vehicle is idling in traffic. This is probably when you most need to cool the air but try to resist and you can use your savings to buy a nice cold drink when you reach your destination! However, when driving on the open road using the air-con can be more efficient than opening a window, as an open window causes drag which may have an even greater impact on fuel consumption.
  8. DIY fuel: There are kits you can buy which will enable you to process your own bio-diesel from waste vegetable or animal fat (even oil which has been used for frying food). You need to be fairly committed to go down this route as it can be time consuming but worth it financially if you think you can do it. When running a car on bio-diesel it will smell like the type of oil used to power it so prepare for some unusual fast-food cravings!
  9. Change your car: This may seem a bit excessive but if your car has very poor fuel economy the best thing for you to do in the long run is to upgrade. The long-term savings should outweigh the short-term cost.
  10. Stay tuned: The more efficiently an engine runs, the less fuel it will consume. The larger the capacity of your engine, the more effective any tuning will be. “A poorly tuned engine can use up to 50% more fuel and produces up to 50% more emissions than one that is running properly.

Source: http://www.drivers.com/article/1139/

 

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