With the price of petrol continuing to rise faster than inflation rates and the world's economy still teetering on the brink of financial ruin, many people are prioritizing food and shelter over filling their car up with gas. However, following a simple set of rules can help make your car more efficient and ultimately, save you money. This article looks at six simple tips that you can follow for becoming a more economical driver.
1. Don't Feel the Need to Speed
It may sound obvious to some, but it takes more energy to start and get a car up and running, than it does to keep it cruising at a constant speed. Your car will therefore always be at its most economical when you're not slamming on the brakes or putting your foot down on the accelerator pedal.
Driving faster uses more petrol. Speeding the car up requires more juice for the engine, which means more is burnt up. Keeping your car at a constant 30 miles per hour on city roads and at 70 on motorways and highways will result in a better fuel consumption. This can easily be achieved by leaving your car in the highest gear and cruising, rather than constantly changing up and down gears.
Another way to save fuel, is when driving up to traffic lights on red, slow down and cruise towards them in the hope that they'll turn green by the time you get there. This will negate the need to stop and start your car up again, enabling you to save energy and petrol.
2. Lighten the Load
A heavier car will consume more fuel, as the engine requires more power and energy to get up to speed. Therefore, remove unwanted baggage and cargo from your boot and passenger seats and drive with as little on board as possible. The lighter the load, the more economical the drive.
3. Improve your Aerodynamics
There are a number of small tips and tricks you can follow in order to make your ride more efficient, saving you those all important liters of petrol.
One of the easiest is to make your car more aerodynamic. This can be achieved by losing the roof rack or your bicycle rack from the car and keeping your windows closed while you drive. An open window makes your car less aerodynamic and increases its drag. As you drive, air gets pushed in through the open windows and pushes against the car, causing resistance drag. Therefore your engine has to work harder to increase the car's speed.
Unfortunately, if it's a hot summer's day, switching on your car's air conditioning (AC) system won't improve your fuel efficiency either. This is because a car's AC is powered by its engine, which will subsequently need to work a little harder to keep it going at the same speed.
4. Be Kind to your Engine
Your car's engine needs looking after just like your teeth or your family pet, so taking it in for regular servicing will improve its efficiency. Having the oil changed as well as getting new filters will improve the engine's performance, thus making each liter of petrol work that little bit more efficiently.
5. Keep your tires inflated
Making sure your tires are pumped to their regulation pressure is a simple and cost-effective way to save fuel. A fully inflated tire will reduce its contact area on the road and therefore decrease friction.
It's perhaps the most obvious tip here, but sharing a ride to work or to the shops is the best way of cutting your fuel budget. A number of carpooling websites have opened to make the process of sharing lifts and the cost of motoring that little bit easier.