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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Driving Tips To Save Fuel

Some Driving Tips to Save Fuel

We can boost the overall fuel-efficiency of our automobile  as much as 30% by simple vehicle maintenance and attention to our style of driving.

Here are some tips on fuel-efficient driving that will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, but could save  hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs.

  • Avoid aggressive driving -  "Jack-rabbit" starts and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%. Tests show that "jackrabbit" starts and hard braking reduces travel time by only four percent, while toxic emissions were more than five times higher. The proper way is to accelerate slowly and smoothly, then get into high gear as quickly as possible. In city driving, nearly 50% of the energy needed to power our car goes to acceleration. Jerky acceleration or fast starts can increase fuel consumption by approximately one kilometer per litre in city driving.Accelerate briskly but smoothly upto 50 kph, then moderately up to 65kph. At this speed, keep a steady pressure on the accelerator – just enough to maintain speed.
  • Drive steadily at posted speed limits Increasing our highway cruising speed from 55mph  to 75mph  can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%. We can improve our Fuel mileage 10 - 15% by driving at 55mph rather than 65mph .
  • Use your air conditioner sparingly -  Using a vehicle’s air conditioner on a hot summer day can increase fuel consumption as much as 10% in city driving. If it’s cool enough, use the flow-through ventilation on our car instead of the air conditioner. At low speeds, opening the window will also save reduce fuel consumption by reducing A/C use. At higher speeds however, using the A/C may be more efficient than the wind resistance from open windows and sunroof. 
  • Oil -  Using the correct viscosity oil is important because higher viscosity oils have greater resistance to the moving parts of the engine, and therefore use more gas. Clean oil also contributes to better gas mileage. It is usually recommended that engine oil be changed every three to five thousand miles.
  • Monitor power accessories -  Be sure to shut off all power-consuming accessories before turning off the ignition. That way, we decrease engine load the next time we start up. Items that plug into our vehicle's cigarette lighter, such as TV consoles for mini-vans and SUVs, can cause the alternator to work harder to provide electrical current. This adds a load to the engine and added load increases fuel use, decreasing our gas mileage. 
  • Select the right gear -  Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible without accelerating harder than necessary. Driving in a gear lower than we need wastes fuel; so does letting the engine labour in top gear on hills and corners.Skip a gear if we are on a flat road or slope.Run through all gears quickly and gently if going uphill.Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if we ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum.
  • Use the cruise control -  On long stretches of highway driving, cruise control can save fuel by helping our car maintain a steady speed.
  • Cold weather driving -  Use a block heater when the winter temperature drops to -20°C or below. A block heater keeps our engine oil and coolant warm, which makes the vehicle easier to start and can reduce winter fuel consumption by as much as 10%. Use a timer to switch on the block heater one or two hours before you plan to drive. 
  • Air filters -  Dirty air filters can also cause our engine to run at less than peak efficiency Regular visual checks of the air filter will tell  if it needs replacing and our owner's manual will also recommend appropriate replacement intervals. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10% increase in fuel consumption. 
  • Driving SkillsThe driving technique of the person behind the wheel is the single most important factor in determining the fuel economy of a particular car. A economy-conscious driver can achieve 30 to 50% better economy than most other drivers. 
  • Hill-Climbing TechniquesDriving in hilly terrain consumes more fuel than driving on roads with no change of elevation. Build up speed before approaching a hill to avoid fuel-wasting hard acceleration while going up the slope.The momentum developed will carry the vehicle over the crest, and gravity will help the vehicle go down the other side. Do not, turn our engine off or leave it in neutral while going downhill, this can be dangerous.
  • Avoid Short TripsDistances of 1 to 8 kilometers are considered short trips to drive to.Short trips take their toll on fuel economy due to cold vehicle parts, cold tyres and improper engine lubrication. It takes approximately 25 kilometers for a vehicle to achieve fuel efficient operation.
  • The 30-second Warm UpDo not let our engine idle for more than 30 seconds after its initial start. Engines warm up faster when they are in motion.Idling for more than 30 seconds not only wastes fuel but also harms our engine, since the amount of lubricating oil being pumped to the engine’s various parts is the minimum when the engine is in neutral and idling.

Some Quick and Simple Fuel Saving Tips to Remember
  • Do not use the clutch too much.
  • Switch the vehicle off at red light stops.
  • Drive in gear corresponding to the speed.
  • Get your vehicle serviced regularly.
  • A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by up to 50%
  • Driving at 90 kilometers an hour rather than 100 can reduce fuel consumption by 10%
  • Under inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 5%
  • A loaded roof rack will increase fuel consumption by as much as 5% in highway driving.
  • Even an empty roof rack can increase consumption by 1%. If the carrier is not attached to the vehicle, remove it when not in use.
  • Avoid "Jack Rabbit" starts, not only do they increase fuel consumption, but are hard on your tires. Anticipating stops and avoiding abrupt stops will decrease fuel consumptionand increase the life of your brakes and tires.
  • Avoid unnecessary steering wheel movement since each sideward movement of the tire causes fuel-consuming drag. Maintain a steady speed.Accelerate slowly on gravel or slippery roads. Avoid unnecessary braking.
  • Reviving the engine just before turning off the ignition costs extra fuel and may causeengine damage.
  • Take advantage of rolling resistance rather than heavy braking to help slow you down.This deceleration technique is one of the best for fuel saving.
  • Avoid using the air conditioner at lower speeds.
  • Changing spark plugs regularly can save a lot.
  • Don't be an aggressive driver - Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets.
  • Avoid excessive idling - Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
  • Observe the speed limit - Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Eachmile driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 to 34 cents per gallon. To maintaina constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended .

Whether we drive occasionally or everyday, we can decrease the amount of fuel we use by taking the steps mentioned above . 

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