There is no need to buy a new car to significantly reduce your fuel consumption. You just have to be careful about certain aspects that you are doing wrong and take action accordingly. The differences can be very large, even in the same car, depending on how the driver behaves, and the savings can be quite good, depending on how much you drive.
As a basic idea – your car consumes fuel to start moving. Whenever you brake, you waste the energy of the car, which results in wasted fuel. The basic idea of a fuel economy drive is to brake as little as possible, to lose as little of the energy of the car as possible. This does not mean going driving on the street with no break and being a danger to others just to save fuel. But it means paying attention to the following tips:
1. GO easy with the acceleration pedal
By “easy” I do not mean to accelerate as if you had eggs under the accelerator pedal, but not to speed up more than you need. First and foremost, you need to accelerate constantly, without leaving the traffic light as if you were in “Fast and furious” movie, and not having a slow start either – you won’t save fuel if you do this.
Secondly, it is good to know that if you accelerate from 0 to 38 miles / h, you will consume significantly more than if you only accelerate to 30 miles / h! How much? More than a third, for an insensitive speed difference! So, if your maximum speed in the city is 30 miles / h, you will notice a significant drop in consumption! Also driving on a long road outside a city – a 10% reduction in speed leads to a significant reduction in fuel consumption.
And why accelerate strongly if you stop at the next traffic light anyway? In other words, the more you limit the acceleration, the lower your consumption. Some drivers from large cities generally travel 24-31 miles / h, even if the streets are relatively uncrowded. Other drivers increase the speed at 43-50 miles / h until the next traffic light. Why?
2. Keep the engine at the correct RPM
The best way to use an engine when we want to have very good fuel consumption, cost, repair, and performance ratios, is to use it at the minimum limit of the optimal speed regime. What does this mean? It means you get used to changing gears pretty quickly up, without holding the engine at low rpm, but without speeding it up too much.
There is no general rule because the “sweet” area of each engine differs from one car to another (generally anywhere between 1700 rpm and a little over 2,500 rpm, depending on a lot of factors – diesel /petrol/cylinder). / classic engine or turbocharged engine etc.). You have to learn how to feel this area, but if you want to see if you can reduce fuel consumption.
You can do the following exercise: try to consciously reduce the speed at which you are used to changing gears, in steps of 50 rpm and see if you have more room to maneuver – if the engine still responds to the speed at which it is held, then you can keep the new lower level of speed. If it begins to show signs of being at a very low rpm, return it to the speed range that it was before.
Most people who consume too much fuel keep their engines at a very high RPM, without being aware of it. Of course, I do not recommend running with the engine at low rpm, it will start to shake – you will give the fuel money on other car parts if you do this often. 🙂
3. Anticipate traffic
Frequent accelerations often followed by brakings result in increased fuel consumption, not only because the engine consumes more fuel when accelerating, but especially because, again, all the accumulated energy is lost through braking that sometimes occurs only a few seconds away. If we can see ahead of time what will happen in a certain situation, for example being careful about the color and timing of the traffic lights, we will not accelerate and brake so often and we will keep the speed of movement relatively constant, so the engine will not need to burn fuel to turn it into an accelerating force.
Get used to looking away in traffic. You left from the traffic light, but 300 meters ahead you have another red traffic light? Does it make sense to reach a high speed and then brake suddenly when you can have a lower speed and gradually slow down using engine brake? OK, maybe you will another car gets in the front, but as long as you do not move like a snail, you will have more benefits than shortcomings. If it’s crowded traffic, try to balance your top speed with others that want to get in front of you only to sudden brake. And of course, don’t be that driver!
4. Keep your distance from the car in front of you
Although it may seem like a weird tip, keeping the right distance from the front car will reduce fuel consumption, especially in the urban area. Why? Because if you allow two to three seconds to pass between you and the car in front, you will be able to anticipate the traffic much better. The closer you get to the car in front, the more often you will brake and lose the movement energy already accumulated. For this energy, you have already consumed fuel.
5. Use the engine brake
If you anticipate traffic and keep the distance, you will easily use the engine brake. No, when approaching a traffic light, it is NOT good to have the gearbox in neutral and press the brake. On the contrary, the engine brake should be used all the time, not only when weather conditions such as snow or ice, not only when traveling long distances. The effects of using the engine brake are not only found in the level of fuel consumption, but they can also be found on the efficiency of braking and the level of wear of the brake pads.
6. Go easier with air conditioning
I do not mean to go without air conditioning, that would be foolish, especially in the summer. But as long as you don’t need it, it’s best to use only the ventilation of the car, as much as possible. To accomplish this, if you like, park your car in the shade, or, if you park it in full sun, first try to get the hot air out by driving with all the windows open for a short period, and then just turn on to the air conditioning.
Keep in mind that, depending on the engine, air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by 10-20%. You don’t have to sacrifice your comfort, but don’t use it when you don’t need it. By the way, driving with opened windows increases fuel consumption especially if you have a greater speed, so it is better to use the air conditioning, and not the windows, to cool the car. But in moderation.
7. Get rid of unnecessary things from your car
Surprisingly, many drivers are carrying at least 44-66 lbs after them, which had nothing to do with the car. Clean the trunk, if you are driving in the city do not completely fill your tank but leave it somewhere in the middle – a third and generally be careful not to have extra weights. If you have a luggage compartment, take it off when not in use – it greatly increases your car fuel consumption!
As an idea, every additional 70 lbs will increase your car consumption by about 1-1.5% (the results differ depending on some other factors).
8. Pay attention to tires!
Tires should be inflated to the specifications of the car manufacturer – if you go with tires with less than optimal pressure, not only will you increase fuel consumption, but you will endanger the car’s passengers as well. It is true that if you inflate the tires more strongly, you will have a slight increase in fuel economy, but we recommend that you follow the instructions of the car manufacturer exactly, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Then, going with winter tires in summer or vice versa will negatively affect your car consumption. Use tires for each season. Finally, if you can afford it, buy eco-friendly tires that ensure fuel economy.
Only by paying attention to the tires, the fuel economy can be up to 10%!
9. Avoid the miracle devices that promise you a reduction in fuel consumption!
Certain chip tunings can indeed increase performance and reduce fuel consumption, but they also change the way your car pollutes and can cause other problems. On the contrary, almost all devices that claim to lead to fuel economy fail to lead to noticeable differences in consumption. Beware of scams!
10. Change of filters and oil
A car that does not have the oil or filters changed on time will have a lower combustion ratio. Few drivers know that to produce the same power as a properly maintained engine, the fuel consumption of the car automatically increases. For example, a dusty (clogged) air filter can increase fuel consumption by up to 12%.
What role do these pieces play and why should they be changed?
Engine oil largely influences engine performance, fuel consumption, and emissions. Therefore, the optimal period for an oil change is every 9,000 miles (depending on the type of engine) or 12 months. Regarding the filters, their importance and role are often underestimated, with drivers changing them less often than they should. It is recommended, for efficient and correct operation, that any component of the car should be changed according to the specifications given by the manufacturer.
11. Avoid driving short distances!
I remember that I had to look for some details in a car manual and there I found a certain paragraph that got into my head quickly. That text was: “In the first mile from the moment you start the car, fuel consumption is approx. 12 miles per gallon”. So, if you have very short distances to your destination, don’t take the car, besides the high fuel consumption, the engine can be worn quickly.
12. Keep your speed between 37 – 62 miles per hour
According to physics, aerodynamic forces on this speed range are minimal. As you increase the speed, the frictional force between the tires and the asphalt increases, so you will need more fuel to support this increase.
13. Stop the electric consumers of the car
Electric consumers can increase fuel consumption, so if you don’t need them, stop using them if you want a better fuel economy.
14. Use a special oil for fuel economy
An important factor that leads to a good fuel economy is using a certain type of oil for the car. Low HTHS oil proved to be good for fuel economy, 0w 20 oil with A5/B5.