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Article By - SHANKAR GANESH Our Avid reader , Automotive designer , and a Avid vintage motorcycles and car collector
Fuel efficiency tips
Here are some very good tips on improving your vehicle's Fuel Economy / Increase Fuel Efficiency / Mileage. With increasing fuel prices it is becoming more and more prudent to use them.
Use your gears wisely.
Driving in the highest gear possible without labouring the engine is a
fuel-efficient way of driving. A vehicle travelling at 60kmph in third gear
uses 25 percent more fuel than at the same speed in fifth gear
Think ahead! By applying light throttle and avoiding heavy braking, you can
reduce both fuel consumption and wear and tear. Try to predict traffic at
junctions and when in queuing to avoid accelerating and then braking.
Research suggests driving techniques can influence car fuel efficiency by as
much as 30 percent.
Switch off your engine
There are two schools of thought on this one. Switching your engine off for
short periods of time can actually increase fuel consumption, as it requires
more fuel to get the engine started. Also your catalytic converter will no
longer be running at full temperature and so your car will be less
efficient, increasing the amount of pollution you cause. However if you are
stopped for more than a few minutes then your car will simply burn less fuel
with the engine stopped.
Drive off promptly to prevent wasting fuel
Don't leave your engine running when you first start up. Drive off straight
away if you can, but drive gently until the engine has reached its normal
operating temperature. This doesn't increase fuel efficiency as such, but it
does mean your engine is switched on for less time.
Lighten your load
Think carefully about what you need on a journey. if you do not need
something, do not pack it. Remove roof racks if not needed. The lighter the
load, the lower the fuel consumption, and emissions, and the higher the fuel
Tyres effect fuel efficiency
It is estimated that about 50% of tyres on the road are under inflated.
Aside from increasing the rate of wear, this wastes fuel and decreased your
fuel efficiency. Check your tyre pressures every fortnight. Worn tyres will
also decrease fuel efficiency (and your safety!), so check the tread
regularly. If you are replacing tyres then consider some of the newer 'Eco'
tyres that are designed specifically to increase fuel efficiency.
Driving with your windows open drastically reduces your fuel efficiency, far
more so than putting the air conditioning on when motorway driving. So in
those hot summers(?) preferably keep the windows shut, and the air
conditioning on if you want to keep cool. Of course the air conditioning
decreases fuel efficiency too, so try not to over use it.
Invest in a new fuel efficient car
New cars come in all shapes and sizes, but it is possible to pick a new car
that can greatly reduce your fuel bill, and your fuel emissions.
Size matters. Choose an economical car - small cars use far more fuel
efficient and produce lower emissions than large cars.
Drive the most fuel-efficient car that meets your needs. Compare models and
classes. Even similarly sized cars can vary in fuel efficiency by up to 45%.
Consider diesel engines (with a particulate trap), and LPG (Liquefied
Petroleum Gas) and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) fuelled cars - all have
lower CO2 emissions than standard petrol cars.
Consider 'hybrid' vehicles - they combine a conventional engine with an
electric motor and battery. These offer reduced fuel consumption and CO2
with potentially lower emissions of all pollutants.
If your going to buy a diesel, ensure it is a new 'common rail' type, as
these are approximately 10% more efficient than older diesels. also replace
(or clean if applicable) air cleaner elements as often as is required by
your vehicles servicing schedule.
Regluar Maintenance maintains fuel efficiency
One of the most common reasons for a drop in fuel efficiency is a dirty
intake filter. This will decrease the amount of air entering the cylinders
of the engine resulting in incomplete combustion. Check the filter regularly
to ensure that it is clean.
Ensure your spark plugs are in good condition. Renew the plugs and wires at
intervals specified by the owners manual. This will keep all cylinders
firing properly resulting in higher efficiency.
Change the lube oil at intervals specified by the owners manual. Use the
recommended oil only especially in newer cars. Use of an engine flush before
changing the oil will help to get rid of a lot of the dirt that collects in
the engine that a normal oil change will not remove. On older engines it is
advisable to use an oil treatment agent. This basically thickens the oil
which creates a better seal between the piston and the liner, preventing
blow past and consequent loss of combustion pressure, resulting in higher
Exhausts alter fuel efficiency
Most cars have special sizes for the exhaust. When cars are reasonably old
the silences has to be changed. The garage people always try to fit a size
that they have in the garage it self. Which might not be the exact size
recommended for the car. The wrong size a bigger or smaller silencer size
effects on the MPG of the car and the HP of the car. It may be cheaper to
put another size than your recommended size for your car but on the long run
it will cost you in many ways, especially on fuel consumption. Always put
the recommended size of the exhaust that is indicated in your car manual
because the car company knows how to optimize the performance of your car.