Fuel efficiency: tips to save on fuel

19 Sep 7:38 am

One of the biggest expenses of owning a car – besides paying for the car itself – is fuel consumption. Trying to save on fuel is important not only from an environmental point of view, but it also makes good economical sense. Some cars are naturally more fuel efficient than others – a Prius is more fuel-efficient than a Hummer – but there are many things drivers can do to lower fuel consumption on their vehicle. Here are some of the basics:


Check the tyre pressure – under-inflated tyres increase the drag on the vehicle, so it’s always important to keep your tyres properly inflated, particularly before long journeys.


Reduce weight – Weight impacts fuel consumption, so you should make sure you don’t carry around anything that you don’t strictly need to take with you. Fuel itself is quite heavy, so in the long run it is better to refuel the car more often but with smaller quantities, rather than filling up the tank.


Remove the roof rack – The drag created by external racks forces the engine to work harder to compensate for it, using more fuel. A more streamlined vehicle – no unnecessary racks or boxes on the roof – means a lower wind resistance, which results in higher fuel economy.


No air conditioning at lower speeds – It is a truth universally acknowledged that AC increases fuel consumption, but does it really? It actually depends. At lower speeds, such as when you’re driving about town, it is indeed better to switch off the AC and just roll down the windows to cope with the heat. However, at higher speeds – over 55mph – driving with your windows rolled down becomes less fuel efficient than using the AC, due to the increase in aerodynamic drag. Furthermore, at those speeds the engine is already producing enough energy to power accessories such as the AC without a significant increase in fuel consumption.


Increase and decrease the speed gradually – Accelerating quickly increases the amount of fuel the engine uses, as does breaking often. As such, you should always strive to accelerate smoothly and read the road ahead in order to identify obstacles or bends in the road that may force you to reduce your speed. This will allow you to start reducing earlier on and in a more gradual way.


Respect the speed limits – This will help you not only to save on fuel, but it will also keep you on the right side of the law! Faster speeds mean a higher fuel consumption; therefore, when you’re driving within the speed limits, you’re helping both the environment and your wallet.


Turn off the engine when stopped in traffic – Ideally, you would want to keep the car moving at all times, as stopping and starting again wastes fuel that could be saved by rolling. Sometimes, however, it cannot be helped. If you have to stop, and it looks like you will have to remain stationary for more than a couple of minutes, it’s better to turn off the engine.


This post is a guest contribution from Auto Europe, a car hire broker with over 50 years experience in the industry. Auto Europe provides car rental services at over 8,000 locations in 135 countries, both in Europe (such as in Spain, Italy and Germany) and around the world.



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