8 Ways To Improve The Fuel Efficiency Of Your Car
Fuel efficiency — a term you’ve probably heard one too many times in the automotive world but never really knew what it meant. But what exactly is fuel efficiency, and how do you make the most out of your vehicle?
In this guide, we’ll discuss fuel efficiency and tips on how to practice it for your vehicle.
What Is Fuel Efficiency?
Fuel efficiency refers to how far a motor vehicle can travel on a single litre of gas.
It measures how much a car can convert fuel energy into kinetic energy.
In North America, fuel efficiency is measured by miles per gallon or mpg.
In Singapore, it can be measured by kilometres per litre or km/L.
Generally, vehicles with excellent fuel efficiency can consume less to travel the same distance. This significantly reduces trips to the petrol station, allowing the driver to lessen their fuel expenses in the long run.
Fuel efficiency also has positive impacts on the environment. For instance, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle can reduce pollution and smog by up to 50%. This is typically seen in hybrid electric vehicles powered by one or more electric motors and an internal combustion engine.
In hybrid vehicles, the additional power offered by the electric motor allows the vehicle to use a much smaller engine. The battery can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions when the car is idle. Overall, this results in better fuel efficiency and economy without compromising performance.
But, this doesn’t mean you need to buy a new hybrid vehicle.
With some handy tips, your trusted sedan or family SUV can be just as fuel efficient.
1. Inspect Your Tire Pressure
Tires are one of the major culprits to good fuel economy. On the surface, they don’t seem to have an impact, but in reality, they play a more prominent role in achieving optimal fuel efficiency.
One way to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy is by checking your tire pressure at least once a month. Under-inflated tires generally burn more fuel than properly inflated tires. More accurately, you can lower your fuel economy by about 0.2% if you consistently drive with under-inflated tires.
If you don’t know your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure, you can easily find it in the operator’s manual or a sticker on the driver’s door. The value you see is the pressure by which you can safely and smoothly handle, brake, and operate your vehicle.
2. Reduce Vehicle Weight
Aside from tires and engine power, vehicle weight also affects fuel efficiency and consumption. As countries become more stringent on fuel efficiency standards, car manufacturers consistently find new weight reduction strategies by using lighter materials like aluminium, plastic composites, and other design changes.
On your end, you can lessen vehicle load by removing unnecessary objects in your vehicle’s boot or trunk. As much as possible, you’ll want to keep only the essentials, such as:
- Spare tire
- Air pump
- Lug wrench
- Jumper cable
- First aid kit
If you’re travelling long distances, store only what you need in the vehicle trunk, such as bags and other necessities. Get rid of heavy equipment that can significantly reduce its fuel efficiency.
You can also make other modifications to your vehicle to reduce its weight. For example, you can swap heavy electric parts with lightweight materials. You can also remove existing body panels and replace them with glass fibre-reinforced plastic or other lighter materials.
3. Don’t Let Your Vehicle Remain Idle
Generally, the heavier the engine, the more fuel is wasted when sitting idle. But without considering these factors, vehicles can use up almost 2 Litres per hour of fuel when sitting idle on the road.
Another way to reduce fuel consumption is to turn off your vehicle when it’s not in use. Contrary to popular belief, turning off and restarting the engine is more fuel efficient than allowing the car to sit unmoving for several minutes.
Also, it’s best to drive your vehicle around instead of revving it during a warm-up. Waiting for it to warm up puts additional fuel into the combustion chamber, which can seep into cylinder walls. This dissolves the oil lubricating the cylinders, leading to a shorter lifespan.
4. Have Your Vehicle Service And Maintained
Regular maintenance and servicing improves the efficiency of your vehicle, and therefore can improve your fuel consumption.
A regular engine check-up can drastically improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. When your hood goes up, your fuel efficiency can too. By replacing your spark plugs, transmission fluid, and cleaning your air filters you can see an impact on gas mileage.
They can also recommend fuel efficient motor oils and other best practices to keep your vehicle in optimal condition.
5. Drive With The AC On
Unless your car is idle, turning on the air conditioning unit as you’re driving is advisable. Opening the windows can reduce fuel economy since it increases its wind resistance. This effectively slows down the vehicle, especially at high speeds.
While the aircon also uses significant amounts of fuel, rolling down your windows is the less fuel efficient choice when driving down fast lanes or highways. Of course, this depends on the vehicle you’re driving. Larger or box-shaped vehicles produce much more drag than sleek, aerodynamic sedans.
A good rule of thumb is to assess how fast you’re driving. If you’re going fast, turn on the aircon.
But if you’re driving slowly, let’s say inside a small neighbourhood, it’s best to roll the windows down.
6. Don’t Brake Too Aggressively
Do you habitually press down on your brake pedal too often? You’re reducing your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%. Not only that, but it also increases the wear and tear on your brake pads.
Deceleration also affects fuel efficiency. Instead of braking to stop your car, anticipate traffic flow as much as possible and coast to decelerate.
Think about it: the only reason you might be braking too hard is due to your speed. You’re compensating for the short time needed to stop the car so that it won’t crash into the rear of the vehicle in front.
Always make sure to drive at the correct speeds for better safety!
7. Avoid Driving On Rough Surfaces
Poor road conditions or surfaces with structural defects can reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The car tends to consume more fuel to navigate the rough surface, not to mention there’s also a tremendous strain on your tires.
Try driving only on smooth asphalt surfaces wherever possible. If you’re constantly driving off-road, you may want to replace the tires with all-terrain types or low-rolling resistance tires. You can expect to gain as much as 3% worth of fuel savings by doing so.
8. Ensure Proper Alignment
While proper wheel alignment allows you to drive in a straight line, it also improves fuel efficiency. Misaligned wheels can put undue pressure on your tires and cause poor traction. You also run the risk of swerving into nearby lanes.
Fixing a wheel misalignment alone can be difficult, so you may want to bring your car to an automotive shop instead.
Our specialists at Kee Yong Auto can diagnose alignment problems and make the necessary fixes, helping you drive the car much more safely and increase the distance travelled per litre before refuelling.
Want to improve your car’s fuel efficiency? It involves much more than just driving your car at low speeds. Major car components, such as the tires, brakes, and even the air conditioning unit, play a part in fuel economy.
The next time you’re driving your car, think about these tips. Be more mindful of best road practices, and you can ensure a safe and optimal experience on the road.
For more information about car maintenance and fuel consumption, contact Kee Yong Auto or visit our Sin Ming car workshop. We offer premium car care packages for car brands like Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, Jaguar, Porsche, Land Rover, BMW, and many more.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FUEL EFFICIENCY
Why Is Fuel Efficiency Important?
Fuel efficient driving has several environmental benefits. It burns less fuel and promotes a much safer driving style, effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Does Driving Slower Reduce Fuel Consumption?
Not necessarily. Most cars reach their peak fuel efficiency at 80 to 95 kilometres. Anything faster, and the engine will have to work harder to compensate for the aerodynamic drag.
Always make sure to drive at the indicated speed limit. Going much slower or faster won’t help you save on gas money. It’s also much more dangerous.
Does Cruise Control Save Fuel?
Yes. Cruise control can help you become a more fuel efficient driver, as it allows you to save an average of 7% to 14% on gas.
Why Is My Car Using Up More Fuel?
You’ll consume more fuel if you constantly drive at higher rpm ranges. Additionally, shifting fears often can cause a fluctuation in the torque output, using up more energy.