How to Improve the Fuel Consumption of Your Car
The price of fuel seems to go up and up almost daily, so for car drivers, learning how to improve the fuel consumption of a car is important. Not only is it kinder on your wallet, but a fuel-efficient car means that the engine is working properly and that the car is in good condition. The best fuel-efficient cars are those that combine hybrid technology, but if you’re still relying on a simple petrol or diesel engine, there are things you can do to keep your fuel consumption down.
Put your car on a diet!
The heavier your car, the more fuel it will use. So make sure you take out any excess weight such as bulky items like children’s car seats (but only if the kids are staying at home!). Heavy jacks are a bit of a conundrum – they’re essential for roadside wheel changes, but the weight can really have an impact on your fuel consumption. Look for a lighter version that is still rated for the weight of your car, and leave the big, heavy jack back in the garage at home.
Take off the roof box or bike rack
Fuel-efficient cars are streamlined and designed to minimise drag. Fitting a roof box or bike rack will immediately increase the drag coefficient, sending the fuel consumption levels up. When you’re not using them, take them off and leave them at home.
Keep your car in tip-top condition
A well-maintained vehicle is more fuel-efficient. Top of the list are tyre pressures – keep them at the correct manufacturer’s recommended inflation and you’ll reduce your fuel consumption considerably. Under-inflated tyres have a larger ‘footprint’ on the road and that increases resistance which, in turn, uses up more fuel. Under or over-inflated tyres can also negatively affect the handling and performance of the vehicle, so make sure it’s the first thing you focus on when you do your weekly ‘walk around’ checks.
Plan your journey
By avoiding stop-start, rush-hour traffic you can reduce the amount of fuel you use. Fit your car with a sat-nav that advises you on traffic black spots or heavy traffic so that you’re not idling in stationary traffic for longer than is necessary.
Change the way you drive
One of the biggest problems when it comes to car fuel efficiency is… you! The way you drive can have a big impact on the average fuel consumption per km. For cars with an automatic gearbox that means getting into the habit of using smoother acceleration and braking, while for cars with manual transmissions it means changing up through the gears earlier so you’re not over-revving the engine. The general guide is to change up a gear before 2500rpm in a petrol engine and before 2000rpm in a diesel.
The best fuel-efficient cars are fitted with engine stop-start technology, which means that when stationary in traffic or at lights, your engine will turn off until you’re ready to move forward. There is some debate as to whether the continuous ignition process actually burns the same amount of fuel as keeping the engine running (and whether it wears some engine components more quickly too), but the general consensus among the top manufacturers is that the benefits of stop-start technology outweigh any potential issues.
Keep your speed down
Finally, while it may be fun on the race track, speeding is not only potentially dangerous, it uses up a lot more fuel as well. Research by manufactures has shown that doing 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than doing 70mph. It’s a very small difference in speed that could make a very big difference to your wallet!