Easy steps you can take to increase fuel economy of your car

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The present fuel prices in Pakistan are compelling car/vehicle owners to squeeze a mile or two from each liter of fuel.  It doesn’t matter whether someone drives a SUV or a small 660cc car; better fuel economy is what everyone wishes for. Stopping the price hike is not in your hands. But you can become smart when it comes to getting better mileage from the car. There is a list of extreme modifications that can be done; but none of them is worth it. Another extreme option is to buy a new hybrid car (if you can afford). I hovered over several web sites and read about a hundred tips but here are some of the most doable and effective tips.

1- Slow down: The best way to save fuel is to slow down. I don’t mean that you have to drive at a speed of 30 km/h for saving fuel. Suppose you are on the highway, driving at 65 km/h instead of 75 km/h will save you 1.5-2.5 km per liter over the duration of your entire trip. Accelerate slowly when the light gets green, but don’t crawl. Keep up the pace and flow of the traffic.

2- Do your routine maintenance: Get your car tuned as a tuned car will consume less fuel compared to an un-tuned car. Dirty air filters and spark plugs in poor condition can reduce your car mileage up to 12%. A simple way to check an air filter is to remove it and hold it up to the sun, if you can see the light coming through it, it’s good to go, otherwise it’s time to throw it away and get a new one.

3- Keep tires properly inflated: Under-inflated tires are dangerous and they have more rolling resistance which can result in crummy mileage per liter. This doesn’t mean that over-inflated tires are efficient, they are not. It is recommended to check the tire pressure once a month and be sure to check them when the tires are cold. Driving the car can heat-up tires and may give you a false high reading. Proper wheel balancing and alignment can enhance the mileage of your car, so try that too.

4- Fuel your car in the coolest hour: In the coolest hour, the fuel is denser than normal and you will get good mileage. In any case, make sure not to top off your tank. Start trusting the auto-shutoff. The fuel above the auto-shutoff is wasted fuel. Using a credit card only for fuel refills may get you some reward points or free fuel at the end of the month.

5- Warm-up vehicle: Warming up of the vehicle is as important as warming up session of an athlete. 40 seconds in summers and 55 seconds in winters are enough for a warm up session. Exceeding this time span will result in fuel wastage.

6- Clean your car: By removing excess weight from your car, you can enhance its performance. Go through the car and look for the dead bodies in the trunk…Dump ‘em. Only carry the things which are really necessary.

7- Plan your route: Plan your trip to avoid unwanted traffic jams and red lights. To avoid bumper to bumper traffic, get up earlier and avoid rush hours. Braking and accelerating eats into your fuel economy. On the highways, maintain distance to avoid unnecessary breaking.

8- Carpooling: Leave your car in the garage/porch and if you can manage to hear the stories of “Pappu ke shadi” and office fairy tales, try car pooling. You’ll surely save fuel by letting your coworkers pick you up. Set days for them to pick you up and for you to pick them.

9- Don’t Drive: (Yes, I know I am writing for a car site) but try to avoid driving and get some exercise by walking or riding a bike. If you live in an area where the public transport is better (wondering where), you can take a bus sometimes to bring a little change for you.

10- Record your fuel mileage:

You can only check the mileage per liter by recording the mileage. Keep doing that in order to know which style of driving suits your pocket. Here is a simple way to do that in steps:

i.        Fuel up your car all the way to auto-shutoff and trip the odometer

ii.        Drive your car as you normally would and let your fuel gauge show that your tank is half now

iii.        Re-fuel your car all the way to auto-shutoff again

iv.        Record the liters it took to fill up the tank again and the reading of the odometer

v.        Divide the Kms travelled by the liters it took to refill the tank

e.g. 200 Kilometers/20 liters = 10 Km/liter

The crucial thing to do is changing your driving style to do that, you have apply these techniques and make them your habit. You’ll see better results. And if you refer to this infographic below, you’ll see that by adding just 2.5 kmpl to your mileage, you can save in excess of 50,000 rupees.

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Sure, you can hoon about in your car once a week or month without impacting your pocket by a lot of margin but you sure as hell need to follow atleast some of the fuel saving techniques I’ve outlined above.

Here are few more, which maybe a bit controversial because yours and my experience may differ but here goes:

If you have to stay idle for more than a minute, turn off your engine. Open windows and take some fresh air instead of turning the AC on when driving within city (only if you need good mileage). On highways, using AC can reduce your mileage per liter but it is safer than opening windows and increasing the resistance as the effect on the mileage is same. I’ve tried to demonstrate the annual savings you can get by saving fuel. Considering the present per liter mileage is 10km/liter and after changing your driving style it become 12.5km/liter.

Please comment and share if you tried something other than this to get the good mileage and help others in their world domination quest.

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