As inflation continues to feed on our income, one thing always seems to be the driving force behind it, fuel prices. Over the years, fuel has been on a rise and fall in terms of prices and as more and more vehicles find their way onto our roads, the depleting nature of oil has become apparent. This has caused vehicle manufacturers and consumers alike to take fuel economy very seriously, with newer vehicle models being more reliable and less gas-guzzling. Even as such measures are put in place, driving habits still affect fuel economy. In this article, we will look at 10 basic fuel economy tips to enhance your knowledge on how to use your fuel more economically.
1.) Driving habits
Modifying your driving habits is the surest way to actually improve your mpg readings. Burying your right foot on the pedal will never get you your desired mpg results as the faster you drive, the harder it is for your vehicle to overcome the drag generated by the air around you. This means your engine will have to work harder, so to speak, in order to propel your vehicle, hence lower fuel gains and higher fuel use. This also applies to the constant start-stop nature of traffic jams, so the solution is to just take it easy on the pedal and always gauge the traffic ahead of you and accelerate and decelerate accordingly.
2.) Octane compatibility
Too many people out there drive with medium or premium gas in their tanks and they don’t really need it. Premium gas is only essential in high performance and compression engines; it is used to prevent the detonation effect in the engine whenever it is undergoing combustion to produce energy. High-performance cars need this but under normal circumstances, your vehicle can run on about the cheapest gas you can put in it and run just fine in the process.
3.) Checking tire pressure
This is one of the most obvious methods of improving fuel economy. Make it a routine, as the lower your tire pressure is, the higher the rolling resistance of your tires on the road, leading to horrid results in terms of your fuel efficiency. It is advisable to use the manufacturer provided pressure levels.
4.) Dismantle that roof rack or trailer
If you aren’t using it, get rid of it. These items mess with the aerodynamics of your vehicle and increase the drag coefficient, meaning your engine will have to work harder to overcome this effect, leading to higher fuel consumption.
5.) Make it a habit to fuel in the morning or when it is cold
Based on the basic principles of Physics, fueling when it is cold benefits your vehicle. Since gas stations store their gas in underground tanks, the surrounding temperature plays an important role in the density of the gas. Most service stations don’t compensate for temperature change and therefore during a colder period, denser fuel will make its way to your tank, making it better value for your money. Because pumps do not measure actual volume or density but actually derive it from flow rate, the longer you stay at the pumps, the more fuel you obtain. In the morning at 20°C, you’ll get about 2.5% more petrol than at 40°C in the afternoon for the same price.
Fuel consumption increases with every increase in the vehicle’s weight. Consider removing all the excess crap from your car so as to improve its fuel efficiency. On that note, consider going on a diet 😉
Coasting in gear in recent vehicles cuts off the fuel supply to the engine, whereas coasting in neutral actually requires the engine to sap some fuel in order to keep the engine running.
8.) Spark plugs
These should be replaced every 40,000 miles; they work in one of the harshest environments in the vehicle. The longer the spark plug is used, the higher the buildup of carbon on the tip, this actually hinders its operation making it less efficient over time.
9.) Air filter
The air filter acts like the nose of the car, it makes sure the air the car intake is clean and free of debris, whether stones, dirt or even smoke. Since the air filter has no way of actually disposing of this stuff, it can lead to a clogged up air filter and if it is clogged up, it will use more fuel in order to run the engine efficiently. It is advisable to check up on the air filter at least once every nine months to make sure your engine runs smoothly.
10.) Fuel injectors
Even though the fuel injector can actually live indefinitely due to their self-cleaning ability (as they open and close, which cleans the needle and the seat) it is still advisable to replace them every 100,000 miles so that you sleep easier.
Following the above steps should actually reduce the money you spend on fuel by around 20%. To put that in perspective, last year I spent 2,400$ in fuel and I was able to save 480$, that could buy you a set of tires for your car and save you around 100$. These tips are definitely worth considering. Safe driving everyone 🙂