Keeping the car’s fuel consumption in check

Fuel consumption has a lot to do with the car you buy. Modern cars now feature lightweight design and smaller engines which make them more fuel efficient than their older siblings. However, if by any chance you are still driving an older car; there are various methods you can use to improve the car’s overall efficiency. These eco-driving tips are the motoring equivalent of insulating the hot water tank, fitting low-energy bulbs, and not leaving the television on standby. Here are simple ideas that really will make a difference in the amount of fuel your car consumes.

Maintenance

Get the car serviced regularly, according to the manufacturer’s schedule, to maintain engine efficiency. You can also get your car serviced at one of KEMRA’s recommended garages. They have the right tools and equipment needed to keep your car in great shape. It’s also important to check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel.

Before you start the journey:

  • Lose weight: extra weight means extra fuel. So if there’s anything in the boot you don’t need on the journey, take it out.
  • Leave promptly: don’t start the engine until you’re ready to go, as idling wastes fuel and the engine warms up more quickly when you’re moving.
  • Don’t get lost: plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the risk of getting lost and consult the map before you leave home, to ensure you are familiar with the route.

When on the road

  • Easy does it: drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.
  • Decelerate smoothly: when you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear.
  • Rolling: if you can keep the car moving all the time, so much the better; stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling.
  • Change up earlier: don’t labour the engine but try changing up early. This can make a huge difference in improving efficiency. Most modern cars are now fitted with a ‘Gear Shift indicator’ light to show the most efficient gear change points.
  • Cut down on the air-con: air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. So if it’s a hot day, open the windows around town and save the air conditioning for high speed driving. However, ensure the area is safe before opening the windows. Don’t leave air-con on all the time but aim to run it at least once a week throughout the year to maintain the system in good condition.
  • Turn it off: electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, blowers and headlights, when you don’t need them.
  • Don’t be idle: if you do get caught in a jam avoid wasting fuel. Turn the engine off if it looks like you could be waiting for more than three minutes.
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