Fuel Economy is Important. We know that. It increases Energy sustainability by consuming lesser amount of oil. It reduces Climate change due to lesser emissions. It reduces Oil Dependence costs and thus saves us from oil market manipulation and price shocks. We know this very well but this does not drive us to get the maximum fuel efficiency. The only thing which can drive us to try and achieve maximum fuel efficiency is saving our hard earned money.
For Common man, Fuel Economy simply means the Cost of driving his vehicle per kilometre. To save on these fuel costs, we try choosing the most fuel efficient vehicle. But that is not enough. If I buy a car which says 20 KPL (Kilometres per Litre), it does not mean that i WILL get that mileage. It is the maximum attained mileage when tested under ideal conditions. In actual driving conditions, it is how you drive that decides how much mileage your car will eventually give. And if you feel that driving at 60 KMPH (Kilometres per hour), like those old ads told you, is going to get you that mileage then sadly it won’t. You would calm yourself by justifying it with a bad traffic jam that lowered your car’s mileage but it isn’t. It all boils down to how you drive it.
The following suggestions may help in achieving the greatest degree of fuel economy.
Maintaining a constant check on fuel consumption will result in the most economical use pattern and driving style.
Avoid using the vehicle for very short journeys if possible, particularly when a cold start is involved. Cold Start means starting the engine when engine’s temperature is much below the optimum operating temperature. This is usually when you have not driven your vehicle for at least a few hours. If the engine is still hot when starting it, it qualifies as Hot start. Since starting your car when the engine is cold for a few short trips can often use twice as much fuel as one continuous trip (travelling the same distance), try planning your driving route so that you can take care of as many errands as possible with as few stops as possible.
Maintain an efficient speed. Every vehicle has it’s own unique optimal speed for fuel efficiency, it is usually in the 60-80 Kmph range. You can test for your car’s optimal speed by cruising with minimal stopping at a set speed and figuring the mileage it gets.
Use proper gear shifts. Obviously over-revving your engine to reach that optimum speed won’t give you the desired mileage. Neither will the 2000 rpm on higher gear give you any benefit. Consult your car’s manual to figure out the best gear shifts for your car.
Ensure that the tyre pressure is maintained at the correct level. This is to ensure minimum rolling resistance to the tyres. Thus minimum resistance to the vehicle.
Use only the recommended grade of fuel. Needless to say, a wrong grade of fuel will end up damaging your engine or other components.
Avoid carrying unnecessary weight, and if a roof rack is in use, remove it as soon as possible after use. More unnecessary weight means more amount of work required.
Anticipate the road and conditions ahead to enable adjustments in speed to be made smoothly. Avoid heavy acceleration and sharp braking. Sharp breaking means larger amount of engine power is wasted as frictional loss in brakes. Heavy acceleration means more amount of fuel is pumped in to meet the acceleration demand which results in higher unburnt fuel and lesser fuel efficiency.
Avoid cruising at unnecessary high speeds. Higher speeds require more fuel to meet the high energy demand by engine.
Always ensure that the periodic maintenance services are performed at the time and/or mileage intervals specified. Periodic maintenance ensures that the engine is properly lubricated and thus engine encounters minimum resistance.
Use the air Conditioner only when necessary.
Park in the Shade. This is not just to avoid the unbearably hot car cabin when you re-enter but also to prevent Fuel tank evaporative losses. Also the A/C will have to do considerably less work.
So the funda is pretty simple – operating the vehicle at optimum engine temperatures, cutting out on the unnecessary load on the engine and lowering the vehicular resistance.
My own experience, i achieved a mileage of 16kmpl (highway), 13kmpl (City driving) in my 8yr old Hyundai Santro which previously gave me 10kmpl(City driving) and 13kmpl (highway) by simply avoiding heavy acceleration, sharp braking and unnecessary high speed cruising :D.
[Driving conditions- New Delhi, India. , May-June 2010 ]
By the way, i used to get that low fuel economy before i had realised that studying IC Engines in College could actually do some good. And add to that my car’s manual which made me realise how simple it was to achieve it.
If you feel i have missed out on any important point, do let me know in the comment.
This was for conditions when you can not make any major changes to your vehicle. If you can, you may wish to read about the correct type of spark plug for improving your car’s fuel economy.
If you still want more? check out these external link:
Improve Fuel Economy
[ I could never read beyond the headings of this link, ;P
great work of the compiler though. ]