While in the past, owning a car was seen as a luxury, it has now quickly become a necessity in life. Whether your career requires a considerable amount of time behind the wheel or you love family road trips, living without a car now seems somewhat impossible.
Along with the increase in the number of vehicles on the road, also, unfortunately, comes a never-ending spike in fuel prices. As prices to fill your tank continue to fluctuate, it can become rather tricky to stick to a budget. With this in mind, we have devised nine steps on how to make your car fuel efficient; all of which include simple lifestyle changes that you can begin implementing today!
How To Make Your Car Fuel Efficient In 9 Steps
Not only can your fuel efficiency contribute towards how much you spend, but your consumption also has an immense impact on the environment. Both petrol and diesel are fossil fuels, which means that as you drive, carbon dioxide creates air pollution. Air pollution is harmful to both the public and the environment, contributing to global warming and climate change.
If you find that your local fuel prices are particularly expensive, you would most definitely benefit from downloading the Petrol Prices app. Once an account has been made, the app allows you to search for fuel prices based on postcode. Results can be filtered by location, price and fuel type to ensure that you always receive the best value for money.
Now that we are familiar with why improving fuel efficiency is essential, we can delve deeper into the different methods of using your fuel a little more wisely.
1. Make Sure You’re Driving Smoothly
A lot of drivers are guilty of driving aggressively, whether this may be waiting until the last moment to begin braking or accelerating quickly in a low gear when reaching a fast-paced road. While this may appear to make you seem like a confident driver, unfortunately not only do you cause potential dangers but also use a lot more fuel than needed. With this in mind, our first tip is to take a smoother driving approach.
When accelerating, the harder you press on the pedal, the more fuel you will be using. Aim to ease onto the acceleration in a gentle motion, picking up speed at a steady pace. If you are at a busy roundabout, this can be achieved by getting your bite point ready before moving off. More information on how to perfect clutch control can be found on the Driving Test Tips website.
Once you have built up speed, try to keep your pace consistent, avoiding regular dips and bursts. It is thought that changing your speed by as little as 10mph every 18 seconds can increase your fuel consumption by 20%.
2. Always Assess The Road Ahead
As a driver, remaining aware of your surroundings is imperative. It would have been a critical skill your examiner looked out for during your test, so don’t fall out of the routine the moment you pass.
Assessing the road ahead, in particular, will help you to make better decisions and save more fuel in the process. Keep an eye out for upcoming junctions and traffic lights to judge whether you should begin to slow down in advance. Don’t forget to also be aware of any vehicles in front of you that might be slowing down to park, so that you can anticipate whether you may need to alter your direction or ease on the acceleration.
Judging ahead of time when you may need to slow down will help to save fuel as you are unlikely to have to come to a complete stop.
3. Inflate Tires To The Correct Pressure
It is thought that tires inflated to the correct pressure can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 4%. It can also come alongside an array of different dangers to both the driver and other road users.
Under-inflated tyres can reduce their lifespan by around 10,000 kilometres due to the increase in friction against the road. Tyres are specifically designed to have a particular percentage of rubber on the ground as you drive, which means that when under-inflated, this begins to rise. The more tire on the road, the quicker friction will build up; therefore, causing them to overheat. Overheating tyres will cause the tread to separate and risk blowouts.
A full guide on how to find your vehicles ideal tyre pressure, along with why it is vital to maintain the correct pressure can be found on KwikFit.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Idling
The term ‘idling’ refers to any period of time that you are running the engine, but the vehicle is stationary. Some of the most common examples of idling is waiting at traffic lights or when picking up a passenger. While many modern cars are automatically set to ‘eco mode’ and turn off while stationary, this is not always the case.
While vehicles differ in engine capacity, idling your car is capable of wasting between 1/5 to 1/7 gallon of fuel per hour. Although an hour may seem a long time, this can relate to several stops throughout your journey that total to an hour.
There are many different ways that you avoid idling, the main of which is to avoid sitting in the car waiting for the interior to heat up before setting off. It can be tempting during the colder months to wait for a cosy car before beginning your journey; however, vehicles actually heat up twice as fast while driving rather than stationary. You should also get into the routine of turning off your engine if you find yourself waiting for more than 10 seconds. Turning off your engine should only be done when parked, never while in traffic or a roundabout.
5. Use The Recommended Motor Oil
Each engine is designed with different motor oil in mind, which means that it is vital to ensure that you only use the recommended type. While using the wrong motor oil may not have a detrimental effect on your vehicle, it will force the engine to work harder. Particularly if you opt for an oil that is considerably heavier than the recommended type, too much friction will be created meaning that extra fuel will be burned. All information on the best motor oil type for your car can be found in your owner’s manual.
6. Check The Gas Cap
The gas cap of your vehicle, surprisingly, goes through its fair share of wear and tear. Due to constant use, the rubber seal which makes the tank airtight can begin to break down and crack. As the rubber weakens, it is no longer able to keep oxygen out of the tank. If an overabundance of excess air is left to enter the tank, it filters through into the engine, causing it to burn more gas.
It is always recommended to take a quick glance at your gas cap each time to visit the fuel station. If you notice that the condition is looking a little worse for wear, then you should most definitely consider a replacement. Online retailers such as The Fuel Cap Company stock replacements for as little as £15 and allow you to search for stock based on your specific vehicle.
7. Remove Excess Weight
Excess weight in your vehicle is one of the biggest hidden culprits of wasting fuel; all it takes to solve is a little declutter.
Additional weight impacts your fuel efficiency by causing your engine to work overtime. Particularly if your vehicle is a front-wheel drive, extra pressure is put on the rear axle, which means that the wheels will struggle to maintain an optimum grip on the road surface. It means that your engine has to work harder to ensure that the car can build up speed; therefore, increasing the amount of fuel used.
Even the smallest of items can contribute towards easing the weight of your car. For example, if you have small children, always take pushchairs out of the boot when they are not travelling with you. Alternatively, Winter essentials such as a shovel or jackets can be removed as the weather begins to improve.
8. Use Air Conditioning Wisely
Every extra feature in your car, while they may come in super handy, do waste fuel – especially your air conditioning. Power from the battery is used to keep air conditioning working to its best ability, which is charged by fuel in the engine. The more you use the air conditioning, the quicker your fuel is going to drain. Based on an article by The Air Conditioning Company, using your air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by up to 10%.
Although it may be tempting to switch on the air conditioning at every opportunity, if you are on a quest to improve your efficiency, then begin to think wisely as to whether it is needed. Aim only to use the feature when it is uncomfortably warm in the car and opening the windows is not enough to keep you cool.
9. Plan Your Trip
Opting to plan your trip effectively, with the aim to combine errands is a fantastic way to improve efficiency.
When possible, try to complete all of your tasks in just one trip. For example, if you know that you need to pop to the supermarket for essentials, allow extra time to grab these on the way home from work or leave earlier in the morning. In doing this, you can ensure that all trips are completed while the engine is still hot. Taking several short trips, allowing the engine to cool in between can consume up to twice as much fuel.
Not only should you plan trips to combine tasks, but also to avoid waiting in traffic. Especially if you have a long journey ahead, map out your route, taking into consideration the latest traffic reports. Try to avoid driving through areas that are filled with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and roads that are known to be busy during rush hour.
Make The Most Out Of Fuel!
Optimising your fuel to ensure that you not only make the most out of your money but also help lower your carbon footprint is imperative. Through experimenting with our top nine tips, you are guaranteed to find a method that works for you.
If you find that after testing all of the ideas mentioned above, your vehicle is still using fuel quicker than the average rate, you may want to consider getting components checked by a mechanic. As specialists in car servicing in Milton Keynes, our team are always more than happy to inspect your car to spot whether there are any growing problems. In highlighting issues in advance, you can avoid costly repairs and replacements in the future.