Many of you would probably agree that fuel cost is on top of your operating expenses. The cost of fuel is no joke, regardless if you are using gas or diesel. Fuel costs can eat up your potential earnings if you are not careful about it. Thankfully, there are driving techniques that can significantly reduce your fuel consumption.
1. Drive at a steady speed
When your speed frequently goes up and down, chances are you are also burning more fuel than you should. Based on tests, accelerating and decelerating every 18 seconds between 75 and 85 kilometers per hour will cause you to burn more fuel by up to 20%.
Consider using cruise control if you are on long stretches of road if conditions permit. Aside from helping you maintain a steady speed, using cruise control lets you save up to 6% of fuel.
In the city, it’s true that it can be difficult to keep your speed steady. However, it will help if you keep a good distance from the vehicle in front of you and anticipate what the pedestrians ahead might do. Doing so can help you avoid stepping on the brake or accelerator unnecessarily.
2. Avoid accelerating abruptly
Another important fact to remember is that the harder you press on the accelerator, the more fuel you use.
For city driving, you can save on fuel consumption by pressing the pedal gently from a stop. That means, taking about 5 seconds to go up to 20 kilometers from a complete stop.
3. Maintain a fuel-efficient speed
Cars and pick-up truck manufacturers recommend a certain speed for fuel efficiency. If you don’t know how fast you should run to stay fuel efficient, check your owner’s manual.
Most small vehicles including cars, pickups and vans are fuel efficient when travelling at a speed of 50 to 80 kmph. Under or over this speed, you could be using more fuel.
4. Brake sparingly and gently
Harsh braking causes you to lose your forward momentum, which in turn reduces your fuel mileage and significantly increases your fuel consumption. That is why unless it is an emergency, avoid abruptly jamming your foot hard on the brakes.
We can understand that it is inevitable to use the brakes especially for city driving. In fact, you may find yourself slamming the brakes plenty of times to avoid collision. The problem with braking in general is that everytime you brake, you also have to accelerate again to recover lost momentum, which burns additional fuel than when you keep that steady speed.
One of the possible ways to reduce braking is to leave plenty of distance from the vehicle in front of you. This way, you don’t have to hit the brakes each time the front car does. Also, look ahead to see how the traffic behaves so that you can see well in advance when to start slowing down instead of using the brakes.
5. Use a higher gear as much as possible
For many drivers, shifting gears becomes second nature. However, not many drivers associate shifting gears with fuel economy.
At a steady speed, the lower the gear, the higher the RPM, which requires the engine to work harder to achieve optimum speed. So unless necessary, avoid using the lower gears.
Moreover, when shifting to the next higher gear, it’s best to do it while still on at a low RPM rather than waiting for the engine to reach a high RPM. It’s important to note that driving fast while in low gear increases fuel consumption by about 45%.
Adopting the fuel-efficient driving techniques we listed above can help you save hundreds of dollars in fuel expenses every year. There are many other strategies that you can do to significantly increase your fuel economy, but starting with these practical tips can make a huge difference.