Tips for Maximizing Fuel Efficiency
Tips for Maximizing Fuel Efficiency
By: Melvin Magadia for Automart.PH
With the rising fuel prices brought about by the Russia and Ukraine conflict, most drivers are now trying to find ways to become fuel-efficient with their vehicles.
The sad fact is that we cannot control fuel prices as numerous factors dictate it, such as global demand, limited oil production, and political situation in some countries.
While there seems to be no sign of fuel prices going down in the near future, you can do some things to get the most out of your vehicle’s fuel.
1. Remove Excess Weight
Extra weight from unnecessary items can make your engine work harder, which is associated with higher fuel consumption. According to a survey conducted by Ford, only 37 percent of Filipino drivers remove excess weight from their vehicles.
Load only the important items in your vehicle, such as an emergency kit and basic tools. Check for loose items that while small, can all add up.
2. Check Tire Pressure
Did you know that underinflating your tires by even 1 PSI can consume an extra three percent of fuel? An underinflated tire will increase rolling resistance making the engine work harder to reach your desired speed.
Make it a habit to check your tires at least once a week. Check tire pressure when you gas up, or invest in a simple tire pressure gauge. It may seem like a chore, but one that will deliver maximum fuel efficiency.
3. Limit Unnecessary Accessories and Baggage
Are you the type of driver who likes accessorizing your vehicle? Although they add versatility and a personalized touch, they can contribute to increased fuel consumption. A roof rack, for example, can create drag which translates to a 5% additional fuel consumption on every fill-up.
4. Practice Coasting
Coasting is a driving skill that involves anticipating and avoiding unnecessary abrupt braking. Mastery of coasting will help you save a lot of fuel. Just make sure that you maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
When driving, do it in a more relaxed manner. Try not to exceed more than 2,000 rpm on your tachometer until you hit your cruising speed. On the expressway, it is okay to exceed 2,500 rpm to maintain a balance between acceleration and fuel economy. In manuals, use a higher gear as much as the engine permits without stalling it, or use eco mode if available.
5. Practice Cruise Control
Cruise control is one of the ways you can increase fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, 84% of Filipino drivers are unaware of the benefits of cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed helps with fuel efficiency. It prevents you from unnecessarily braking and accelerating.
According to technical experts, fuel consumption increases exponentially as speed increases. When the speed exceeds 50 km/h, fuel efficiency will start to experience a significant decline. At this speed, fuel efficiency drops by 7% for every acceleration of 8 kph. Studies reveal that maintaining a constant speed can help reduce fuel consumption by up to 33%.
6. Use The Correct Engine Oil
Using the correct engine oil can improve fuel efficiency by 1 - 2%. Aside from that, it also ensures optimum performance from your engine and prolongs its life. Low-viscosity engine oil reduces engine friction so the oil can flow more effectively through the engine. On the other hand, high-viscosity oil protects your engine from wear better. However, the idea is to balance fuel economy and engine protection.
Choosing the right engine oil will depend on your driving style and the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. Always consult your owner’s manual for the optimum engine oil for your vehicle.
7. Map The Quickest Route
Planning your trip can help boost fuel efficiency. Use navigation apps to make your trip as fast and efficient as possible. Heavy traffic will increase fuel consumption. The longer you drive, the more fuel will be consumed. Explore toll routes if they are affordable. This might save you time, and even money.
8. Turn Off The Engine When Stopping
Most drivers have the habit of running their engine when waiting for the red light or getting stuck in a heavy traffic jam. Every hour the engine runs consumes 1.9 - 3.8 liters of fuel. For maximum fuel efficiency, turn off the engine when stopping for a long time. The exact duration is debated, but studies show that shutting down your engine for stops as short as 10 seconds can save more fuel.
Do be mindful of increased wear and tear for your starter motor and battery. If your vehicle is equipped with a stop-start function, do turn it on.
9. Use The Air Conditioner Properly
The question of whether switching off the air conditioner and opening the windows when driving can save fuel has long been a subject of debate. This was the subject of a study entitled Shell FuelSave Fact or Fiction Report.
According to some of the respondents, they roll down their windows at every chance in order to save on fuel. Meanwhile, other drivers argue that opening the window subjects the vehicle to air resistance and drag, thereby consuming more fuel.
Turning off your A/C to boost fuel efficiency or increase consumption will depend on various factors like driving conditions and/or your driving style. In slow stop and go traffic, turning off your A/C and rolling down your windows is more efficient, but at faster speeds, it is more efficient to simply keep the A/C running, and the windows closed.
As a driver, we want to get the most out of our vehicles to make our purchase worthwhile. With rising fuel costs, most drivers should do everything to tighten their belts to maximize the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.
Content Editor Kyle Liong contributed to this story.