The everyday driver’s guide to better fuel economy – News
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Fears that monthly fuel expenses will be over budget and the numerous reports by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and climate change are just a few of the reminders of the need for better fuel economy. And since driving an economy box or a hybrid is not enough, we explore the many habits that we can assimilate in our driving life to achieve the most kilometers on a single tank of gas.
The mantra followed by the influencer on vacation and the frequent traveler also applies to the daily driver. The mass of the vehicle is fixed and the number of people too, so what are we talking about exactly? As with a house, we all tend to accumulate items in our vehicles with mostly old and unnecessary items that are excused for being useful or sentimental. The usual suspects are clothes, shoes, sporting goods and other items that we were supposed to drop off at a friend’s house. Reduced mass equals less energy burned, which translates into better fuel economy. On top of that, lower weight also adds to the handling quotient, albeit only slightly.
Pass as soon as possible
If you are driving a stick, that is, if you are driving a car with a manual gearbox, try to upshift as soon as possible. This helps keep the engine speed low, which contributes to a more economical and quieter ride. As for vehicles with automatic transmissions, this can be easily achieved by smoothly accelerating and not exceeding the speed limit.
Maintain optimal tire pressure
Observe the pressure ratings recommended by the manufacturer. This results in better economy figures by minimizing rolling resistance. The recommended nominal pressures (PSI or kPa) are generally mentioned on a sticker affixed to the threshold or the door frame of the driver’s side door. Also, make sure that the wheel alignment is optimal for the vehicle. If you notice your car or SUV pulling to one side or the steering wheel is off-center, take this as a definite sign to make an appointment with your mechanic quickly. For a small extra charge, you can fill the tires with nitrogen which is less sensitive to changes in temperature and, therefore, to changes in pressure.
Do not let the engine run or run unnecessarily
Driving often involves short periods of idling which can burn a lot of fuel. In modern vehicles, those that are equipped with an automatic stop / start function, the engine automatically turns off when it is at rest, but in ordinary vehicles, you have to do this yourself. While it is not advisable to do this at a traffic light, surely you can turn it off in parking lots and pick-up / drop-off docks, while you wait for your friend or family to arrive. . And try not to run your engine every morning with the intention of warming it up. While modern engines with their magnetic motor oils are less susceptible to microscopic abrasions and do not need to be warmed up, if you plan to bring heat into the engine, letting it idle is a much better way. sure to ensure longevity and save those precious drops. fuel too.
Activate cruise control
Whenever possible, especially on long motorway trips, press the cruise control button. No matter how good a driver you are, you’ll have a hard time maintaining a consistent speed, but with cruise control it becomes easy. Try this and watch the economic rates soar in real time.
Between freeways and roads with frequent traffic lights and turns, choose the freeway if the distance is comparable. This will also give you the option of using cruise control. On the other hand, if you choose the latter, you may end up consuming more fuel by constantly braking and accelerating. Likewise, avoid rush hour traffic whenever possible; after all, start-stop traffic is the biggest contender of fuel economy. Anticipating traffic conditions, listening to radio traffic updates, and looking for the despicable red highlight on Google Maps is a good way to analyze and reroute your ride. It can also help you save time that you can spend on other activities.
The switch to 2WD
For vehicles with switchable 4WD systems, try switching from 4WD to 2WD for all daily driving. In doing so, a pair of tires at the front or rear disengage from the driveline, reducing driveline losses and improving fuel efficiency. In most vehicles the front wheels are the primary pair while in sportier vehicles it is the rear.
Make sure the engine and powertrain, in general, are well maintained. At a minimum, make sure the air filter is clean and replaced if necessary and the same is true for engine oil levels and quality. During the summer months you can use an oil with a higher viscosity and during the winter months the reverse. And we suggest you reset the fuel economy indicator every now and then, just to get a clearer idea of your most recent fuel economy – an indicator of engine health.
The main purpose of these suggestions is to discourage you from operating with vapors and to avoid the risk of running out of fuel, which in the worst case can lead to a blockage in a remote area, traffic jams and to a fine. In addition, we suggest that you keep the option to call a friend when you really need help and not just deliver a pitcher of fuel.