Earth Day Special: 10 top tips to improve fuel efficiency
You don’t need to be a professional driver to be more fuel efficient. Follow these 10 handy tips to improve efficiency and get the best kilometres per litre from your car.
Today – April 22 – is Earth Day, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern global environmental movement in 1970. While vehicle and component manufacturers are taking to new materials, technologies and processes to lightweight vehicles to stretch every litre of fuel to the maximum, motorists can also their bit to conserve fuel.
The cost of motoring, unfortunately, is going only one way – up. While we can’t do anything about the price of fuel, we can offer you a few pointers on how to increase your car's fuel economy. Follow these 10 handy tips to improve efficiency and get the best kilometres per litre from your car.
Tip 1: Remove weight
Remove excess weight. Take unnecessary bulky items out of the car, such as that golf bag you carry for the weekend and forget to take out for the rest of the week. Also, if the kids are staying at home, so can their teddy bears and other knick knacks.
Tip 2: Reduce drag
Remove external carrying kit such as roof boxes whenever they aren’t being used. The car has to work harder to cut through the air due to the extra wind resistance such items create.
Tip 3: Basic maintenance
Keep your car well maintained and serviced regularly. Pump up your tyres to reduce resistance and get the car serviced regularly.
Tip 4: Plan journeys
Plan your journey. Avoid traffic black spots and busy times if possible, and get the map or sat-nav out to avoid getting lost and driving farther than necessary.
Tip 5: Turn off air-conditioning
Unless it’s really cold or uncomfortably warm in the car, leave the air-con turned off. Using it can put a strain on the engine and burn more fuel, especially at low speeds. The same goes for heated windscreens, demisters and other electrical appliances.
Tip 6: Change up early
Be gentle and change gear early. Accelerate and brake gently, and change to a higher gear as soon as possible. As a general guide, change up before 2000rpm in a diesel and 2500rpm in a petrol, without letting the engine struggle at low revs.
Tip 7: Use engine stop/start
Lots of modern cars are fitted with engine stop-start technology, which can be great if you let it work properly. Sit with your foot on the clutch and the engine will continue to burn fuel; take it off and you’ll save money and fuel.
Tip 8: Obey speed limits
Stick to the speed limits – it helps conserve fuel. Where it is appropriate, driving at a steady speed of 80 kilometres per hour (kph) instead of 110kph can improve fuel economy by 25 percent.
Tip 9: Read the road
Use gravity to your advantage and build up momentum when going downhill to help you then get uphill, rather than accelerating more to get up the incline. The best way to do this is to read the road as if you were on a pushbike and accelerate accordingly.
Tip 10: Use gravity
Look far ahead while driving and keep moving where possible by anticipating obstacles. Easing off the throttle and keeping momentum is better than speeding up, braking and then starting all over again.
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