Improve your fuel efficiency today
The way you drive, and the condition of your vehicle, have an impact on the amount of fuel that you use.
Here, we discuss some simple steps that you may take to boost your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%. Fuel efficient driving not only has the potential to save you money at the petrol station, it can also improve the road safety and general wear of your vehicle.
Drive in the right gear.
When your vehicle operates in a gear lower than required, it wastes fuel. Overworking your vehicle’s engine in top gear on steep inclines and corners is also a sure way to waste fuel.
For those driving in a manual car, it is recommended that you change gears as soon as the car is comfortable with the higher gear. You shouldn’t accelerate harder than is necessary to do this. Not only does this waste fuel, but it can increase wear and tear on your engine.
For those in an automatic vehicle, easing back on the accelerator once the car has gathered momentum will allow the automatic transmission to shift up quicker and smoother. It is best to avoid using power options, which drop the car into a lower gear and therefore use more fuel.
Frequent stop/start driving is less efficient than driving at a constant speed. More revs results in greater fuel use, so take it easy on the accelerator.
When you drive with a good distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, you are better able to anticipate traffic flow. This will lessen your need to hit the brakes as frequently.
Where it is safe to do so, using cruise control will allow you to drive more smoothly and more fuel efficiently.
Minimise aerodynamic drag.
Air resistance worsens if you have additional parts on the exterior of your vehicle such as roof racks or spoilers. Having a window open will also affect your air resistance. This in turn, increases your fuel consumption. Where possible, remove parts such as roof racks or bike racks when not in use to minimise air resistance.
An increase in the weight carried by your vehicle will cause it to use more fuel. Removing items that are not required for your journey, such as tool boxes, sports equipment or a pram, will minimise unnecessary weight and therefore improve fuel consumption.
Use air conditioning wisely.
When operating, your vehicle’s air conditioner uses around 10% extra fuel. If it is hotter inside the vehicle than outside, wind down your windows to help cool your vehicle, before winding them back up and putting on the air conditioner. Once you are travelling at speeds of 80 km/h or more, the use of your air conditioner is better for fuel consumption than an open window, which creates aerodynamic drag.
Check your tyres.
Looking after your tyres will not only extend tyre life and improve handling, it will also reduce your fuel consumption.
When your tyres are under inflated, the rolling resistance of your tyres is increased. Low tyre pressures therefore, demand increased fuel consumption to cope with the issue. Keeping your tyres inflated to the correct level is a simple way to avoid this issue and save you money.
You can find the recommended tyre inflation pressure for your vehicle in either your vehicle owner’s manual or your vehicle placard, which is typically located in the door jamb on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Alternatively, the placard may also be located inside the glovebox or inside the fuel filler lid. In some instances, a vehicle may require different inflation pressures for the front and rear tyres.
Maintain your vehicle.
Keeping your vehicle well maintained will result in better fuel economy. You should have your vehicle regularly serviced, as per the recommendations specified in the manufacturer’s handbook.
Use the grade of petrol recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer. This information can usually be found inside the fuel filler lid. When you use the recommended petrol, it ensures that you are achieving maximum fuel efficiency for your vehicle.
Similarly, using the correct grade of oil can also improve fuel efficiency. Using thicker oil, or older oil, can increase fuel consumption as the moving parts of the engine experience greater difficulty moving through it.
Operating a car can be a costly exercise. However, you can save money on fuel costs whilst reducing your CO2 emissions simply through the way that you drive and the condition of your vehicle.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.