But you can’t expect to get cheap fuel for the whole year as the price of crude oil is dictated by numerous factors such as the global demand, limited oil production, and the continuing political instability in some areas. So how can we fight back? Well, it’s just a matter of making use of our resources more wisely. To maximize every drop, here are my top five tips I learned from the fuel economy specialist John and Helen Taylor.
1. Proper Maintenance
Preventive maintenance not only makes your car last for all the years of driving but it also brings out the best performance-efficiency it can deliver to the owner. A well maintained car means that the car has gone through scheduled proper oil change, filter replacement, and tune-ups for an extra four percent of fuel savings without any performance loss.
While some people would recommend not using the air-conditioning unit of your car, I see it as impractical. Instead, have you aircon cleaned for maintenance to give you the best cabin comfort as possible without having to turn the thermostat into full-blast that contributes to more fuel consumption.
2. Check your tire pressure
Did you know that a tire underinflated by even just 1 psi can consume an extra three percent of fuel because it increases rolling resistance and thereby requires the engine to rev harder to attain a given speed? The practice of checking your tires at least once a week is recommended. Some people think it’s a bit of a chore, but investing in a tire monitoring system could easily solve the problem.
Additionally, you may also opt to replace old tires with ‘green’ tires that offer low-rolling resistance rating per kilometer.
3. Conserve Momentum
Learning the basics of coasting is an additional skill but will reap a lot of fuel savings. First rule of the thumb, learn to anticipate and avoid unnecessary-abrupt braking as the key to saving fuel is maximizing energy usage. Yet to be safe, always keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you.
Another driving style to learn is patience. While people on the road tend to rev just as hard and then learning that they need to stop or reduce their speed will amount to energy losses. Try driving your car in a more relaxed manner without going further than 2,000 rpm on the tachometer until you reach your cruising speed. On expressway, some drivers opt to rev until 2,500 rpm to balance acceleration and fuel economy.
Moreover, always use a higher gear as much as the engine permits without allowing it to stall. Newer cars have transmissions’ with more than five-speed, this allows the car to cruise more happily with its taller gear ratio while lowering engine rpm, thereby, decreasing fuel consumption.
4. Avoid unnecessary accessories and baggage
Accessories are a welcome addition to making your car more versatile. However, some parts may also contribute to an increase in fuel consumption such as the roof rack. When not in use, it is best to remove them because they actually create drag on your car which will consume about five percent more fuel on every fill-up.
As for carrying unnecessary baggage, an extra 45 kilograms may actually drop your fuel efficiency by two percent. So, if possible, clear those from your luggage compartment to gain maximum yields in fuel figues.
5. Plan your trips ahead
Combining eco driving style and proper planning is always a win-win scenario. It is best to consult a map to plan out every trip to make every commute as fast and efficient as possible. This reduces driving time even if it means having to stop for a dozen of errands into one single journey. Just be mindful to avoid the rush hour as much as possible.
Additionally, with the use of mobile phone applications such as Waze, we can actually get traffic reports on the fly. If the traffic is terrible, try staying at the office for an extra bit of time until the congestion has loosen up. Sometimes, the time you lost in traffic is equivalent to the time needed to earn an extra skill or burn those calories with some fitness running.
To wrap things up, you may or may not do this on an everyday basis but it takes constant practice to change the old driving habit that hogs your fuel and wallet. Like anyone advising you how to save money; it takes time, dedication, and discipline to save up. Yet I assure you that these five great tips will help you start your way into a safer and more economical driver for 2015.