For many people, a car is a necessary part of life, even when it comes with various expenses. If you’re a frequent driver, the fuel costs can often be hard to bear.
However, there are numerous ways to help cut down on your costs. This is most commonly known as fuel efficiency driving, referring to various habits that you, as the driver, can take to be more efficient. The premise for this is simple: any power that isn’t going directly into moving the vehicle wastes fuel and money as a result. Efficient driving serves to lessen this as much as possible.
Here are 5 methods that many practical drivers use to improve their fuel economy. Sometimes, these might not be possible, but when they are, you should get into the habit of instinctively doing so.
Don’t Leave The Motor In Idle
As long as the motor is running, a certain amount of fuel is required. Even in idle, this means petrol and money is being wasted, despite the car’s lack of actual movement. If you’re waiting to pick someone up, for instance, and expect to be there for more than a few minutes, just turn the engine off.
Of course, this a perfect example of something that isn’t. When you’re stuck in traffic, stopping and starting is something that is hard to avoid. Aside from planning a more efficient route, this is something that will sometimes be possible, but not always.
The Right Tyres Make A Big Difference
As stated earlier, you should be looking to ensure as much of your fuel is spent on movement as possible. Alongside this, you should ensure there are minimal resistance forces, as this is where a lot of energy is wasted.
One critical area where this is the case is with your wheels. There is a great deal of resistance between the road and your tyres, depending on numerous factors. Aside from road conditions, choosing a tyre with a low rolling resistance makes a big difference. Similarly, maintaining the correct tyre pressure as much as possible also ensures your wheels are optimally maintained for efficiency.
Similar to the various ground forces, air resistance is something all cars face, with higher speeds offering higher resistance, thanks to a more concentrated force of air particles. While a more aerodynamic design is preferred, you can adjust your existing vehicle as well.
The best thing you can do is take off any external features you aren’t using. Roof racks are a prime example, since these add resistance and slow the car down, requiring more fuel to reach the intended speed.
Secondly, you should ensure that the car is well polished and smooth. This involves getting dents repaired, ensuring a smooth protective coating, which will help the car slip through. This includes both the body of your car, as well as the wheel and rims – many drivers overlook the latter.
Weight, likewise, is also another factor. A heavier car pushes down, while the your intended motion requires moving forward. These two forces counter each other, so a lighter load will ensure the car moves more efficiently.
Similar to aerodynamics, you can remove fixtures that aren’t being used. You can also ensure an empty boot, as this is one way many cars typically get weighed down. You should also inspect your car’s practical limits, such as the car load index of your tyres and any other parameters in your car manual.
For instance, a car with 5 passengers and a full boot may very be pushing its designed limits, so if it’s not in peak condition it will suffer in terms of performance. Always be aware of what you car can and cannot handle. The heavier it is, the more energy it will need to move.
The Optimum Driving Speed
Finally, the speed you drive at changes how much fuel is required. If you drive at 40 mph, you will get somewhere twice as fast as if you were going at 20 mph, but this doesn’t mean you’re using twice as much fuel. You may be using more.
In fact, when considering the average data for speed and fuel consumption, most experts agree the optimum driving speed is around 55 mph. Any more or less than this, and you start to use more petrol per mile.
This is only going to be possible on the right roads, for instance. When the speed limit is below this, you doesn’t have a choice. Yet, if you’re driving on a highway, 55 mph can save you money, especially when you make frequent, regular trips. If you’re regularly driving at 70 mph for a 140 mile trip, driving at a more optimum speed will only take an extra half an hour.