With fuel prices increasing dramatically it is not surprising people start to wonder how to save. The truth is that we all need fuel, and that the price of fuel is the price of fuel. One of my current jobs is as a duty driver for a company and I try to drive safely and economically. What people don't want to hear, is that the way you drive, dramatically effects your fuel usage. Changing your driving style can save you fuel, and money.
Good driving is a habit, and like all habits it requires practice to establish. These tips will help you to build a good driving habit.
Aggressive driving and excessive speed is a fuel waster. Avoid rapid acceleration and hard braking. Driving fast between traffic lights means you burn fuel to create energy to accelerate, and then wear your brakes to lose that energy as friction to stop. You lose both ways, fuel consumption and brake wear. Keep to the speed limit or the traffic flow speed and look ahead to see what the lights are doing. Adjust your driving accordingly.
Bring the engine to normal operating temp as soon as possible by driving with a light foot on the accelerator for the first few minutes. A cold engine uses more fuel and wears more. Try to avoid driving short distances that do not allow engine to reach optimum temperature.
Keep to speed limits, not only to avoid the cost of fines, but a car traveling 120km/h uses 20% less fuel than at 140km/h. While on the topic of speed, posted signs are not only the law, they are practical. A civil engineer lays down a road surface with a certain speed range in mind. The kind of gravel used in the surface, the way the layers are compacted and the drainage, (among other things) all relate to the planned speed range of that road.. Keeping to the speed limit for a given road surface makes for a safer ride and a saving in fuel consumption.
Check tire pressure frequently, at least once a week. Do this when the tires are cold. Besides the danger of the tire bursting, under-inflation leads to increased wear and drag from incorrect tire pressures increases fuel consumption. Make sure that you inflate the tires to the pressure specified by the manufacturer, for the speed and the load you are driving with. See your vehicle manual. This is especially pertinent if you usually drive short distances and are now undertaking a long journey.
Avoid using the air-conditioner when not required. The aircon compressor places an additional load on the engine. At high speeds, it is better to have the aircon on, than to have it off and windows open. According to research, the drag of open windows uses more fuel than the air-conditioner.
The best driving habit of all, is to think ahead, to have a plan and to adjust your driving style to the prevailing road conditions as you travel.
A well maintained vehicle will save you fuel. Service your car as recommended by the manufacturer. Fuel wasters related to the condition of the vehicle are;
Worn or dirty plugs
Incorrect spark plug gap (on older vehicles)
Dirty air filter
Dirty oil or clogged oil filter
Wheel alignment that is out
Happy driving everyone!