How to save petrol – some simple tips

Bhanu Pratap May 31, 2012 2
How to save petrol – some simple tips

With the ever rising cost of petrol, thought that it is the best time to review the tricks and tips to save Petrol. Though I’m sure that most of you already know each and every point mentioned here, but the point is not to teach here, the point is just to go through it as a revision so it stays in the mind to follow at least some of them. Put together, these things really work and save a few hundred bucks at the end of the month. Atleast, the few cups of coffee can be paid for.

1. Check tyre pressure regularly.

Under-inflated tyres are one of the most commonly ignored causes of high fuel consumption. It is important to know that tyres lose air regularly, with time (though not fixed but can be safely assumed at a loss of pressure of about 1 psi per month). They also lose pressure with the drop in temperature (again, about, 1 psi for every 10 degree drop); under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which means you need to burn more petrol to keep your car moving. If you feel pained by lining up at the fuel station to get your car’s tyres checked often, it is best to buy a reliable tyre gauge and check your car’s tyres at least once a month. Remember to check them when they are cold (mornings), since driving the car warms up the tyres and the air inside them, which increases pressure and gives a falsely high reading. Deflated tyre increase rolling resistance, heat up sooner and wear out faster. Use the inflation pressures shown in the owner’s manual or on the data plate in the driver’s door jamb. If a range is recommended by the manufacturer, the higher pressure should be used to maximize fuel efficiency. Keeping your tyres inflated is one of the easiest and most important things for a better fuel economy.

2. Moderate speed

Once your car’s tyres are having a correct air pressure, the easiest way to save petrol further is to drive at a moderate speed. As speed increases, fuel economy decreases exponentially. In city a speed of 50 kmph is good in off peak hours and on the highway, a speed of 90 kmph is ideal. Avoiding high speeds on the highway not only results in safer driving but also a much better fuel economy. In highway driving conditions, over 50% of the power produced by the engine is used to overcome aerodynamic drag created due to the air pressure. Thus fuel consumption increases rapidly at speeds above 90km/h. If we quantify it, on the average, a car uses about 15% more fuel at 100kmph, and 25% more fuel at 110kmph compared to when it is doing only 90kmph. Driving at this speed will save you a lot of fuel and surprisingly, not  increase your travel time much. try it for a few days to be sure.

3. Clean (or get cleaned) your car’s air filter regularly

If your car’s air filter is clogged, it restricts the air flow to the engine. Proper and free flow of the required air to the engine is essential to completely burn the fuel which is a continuous process in a moving car. Highly clogged air filters not only increase fuel consumption by upto 10%, they also increase the level of pollutants emitted by your car. Air filters can easily be cleaned ourselves. Clean it and hold it up to the Sun. When even after cleaning also, you can’t see light coming through it, you need a new one.

4. Don’t accelerate too hard

Though I don’t advocate crawling while driving, ir is true that sudden bursts of acceleration consume far more fuel than gentle and regular acceleration. In automatic transmission cars, accelerate moderately and allow the auto gears to shift smoothly in to higher gears. In case of manual transmission, don’t accelerate for too long and too hard in lower gears. Shift early and keep the engine rpm under control. Hard acceleration and braking means too much fuel going down the drain.

5. Use overdrive as much as you can

The engine runs most efficiently between around 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. To maintain rpm to these lower levels and yet drive at a reasonable speed, you need to change up through the gears as soon as practical and before the rpm reaches 2500. Change into overdrive as soon as possible.

6. Don’t use extra wide tyres

Stick to the OE (original equipment) tyres that come fitted with your car instead of changing to wider ones. Though, it is true that tyres with a thicker width will improve the handling of your car, they will also increase your car’s fuel consumption considerably.

7. Anticipate traffic ahead and avoid instant braking

Fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 10% just by anticipating traffic conditions ahead and adjusting the speed accordingly. Avoiding tailgating and thus unnecessary braking and acceleration. Instant and heavy acceleration and then sudden braking wastes fuel. Braking and abrupt stops can be minimized by not following too closely and slowing down gradually when approaching a red light. It takes up to six times as much fuel to move a car from a dead stop than it does for one moving at just a few kmph.

8. Get rid of unwanted stuff in the car

If you’re the type who takes a leisurely attitude towards car cleanliness, get into a habit of periodically cleaning your car. Go through your car and see what can be tossed out or brought into the house. It doesn’t take much to acquire an extra 20 or 30 kgs. of un-used stuff in your car, and the more weight your car has to carry, the more fuel it burns.  On the average, every 50kg of added load in your car will increase fuel consumption by 2%.

9. Air conditioning or open windows? 

This question specially pops up when we are out on a vacation and the weather is just right to exercise either of the two options. Well remember that though switching off the air conditioner to roll down the windows may save you fuel at modest speeds of upto 60 to 70 kmph, at speeds above 80 kmph, open windows will drastically increase the drag factor and actually increase your fuel consumption even with the AC off. It is advisable to drive with the AC on and windows closed at speeds higher than 80 kmph.

10. Idle engines – switch off or not?

Though it is true that you can minimize fuel wastage in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time. It is also important to remember that Idling less than or equal to just one minute is better than switching off the engine which will consume an equal amount of fuel during re-starting. Switch off your car’s engine if the waiting period is atleast more than a minute.

Guess, that’s it. Just don’t try to add up all the percentages and arrive at a conclusion that by following ALL the tips above you can save 100% of fuel. Just kidding. Simple things which I’m sure we all knew, revised and if followed, can save us fuel upto 20% in all. Best of luck

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