Fuel Saving Tips (Part 2)
When living on less you need to make sure you are saving on your transport costs. How and when you drive can make a huge difference. We continue looking at the top 10 tips for saving fuel.
‘A guide on fuel saving says that motorists can save as much as 37% just by changing the way they normally drive’
6) Idle Hands
If you are going to be parked and idling for a minute or more it actually saves you fuel by turning the car off. Gone are the days of “warming up the car” by leaving it idling a few minutes in the morning. Save fuel and get on the road straight away.
7) Slow Uphill, Fast Downhill
Accelerate slightly more when first going downhill and get your speed up (within the speed limit) to help you when the next uphill comes your way.
If you are are a traffic light and are on a downhill slope let the hill do some of the work for you in helping the car getting moving.
If you have to stop on an uphill then get the car moving swiftly and then once you have some momentum ease up on the peddle. It is ok to go slightly slower uphills. Harsh accelerating all the way up a hill will burn through your fuel.
8) To Slipstream or Not To Slipstream?
Driving really close behind that 18 wheeler truck can seem to be a good idea. It does, however, pose dangers. True, it could save you as much as 10% during the time you slipstream ( 2 seconds behind the truck) but will leave you blind to the road and dangers ahead.
Slipstreaming behind a car that has clear windows and which allows you to see the road ahead of that car is a safer option.
Whatever you decide always leave enough room to stop (a safe following distance). One accident will quickly outstrip any fuel savings so drive safe and avoid climbing up other drivers tails.
‘If you are going to be parked and idling for a minute or more it actually saves you fuel by turning the car off’
9) Aircon Vs Open Windows
A simple rule when trying to save on fuel is to leave the aircon off but with hot SA summers beating down your car can be turned into a hotbox in minutes. So, then you may wonder if it is best to open the windows which obviously increases drag on the car and reduces fuel efficiency?
When driving slower it is better to open the windows and when cruising on the highway it is better to turn on the aircon and close the windows and reduce your drag.
When running aircon consider using the slowest fan speed for better fuel economy. You can also turn the aircon on for a bit and then off for a bit and then back on again.
In cold weather use your heater all you want. Most cars use heat from the engine to heat the car interior and this does not use fuel or energy in any significant way.
10) Soft Top? Shut It
If you have a convertible then keeping the top up will reduce your drag when travelling at speed. Having the top down even increases drag at much lower speeds so think about closing it up…unless you are cruising along the beachfront, then drop that top and let your hair fly baby!
‘Timing your trips to avoid traffic is also a good idea since this will cut out a lot of stop-start driving which is bad for fuel consumption’
Could You Drive less?
If you have a car then you will be making use of it almost every day. That’s fine. That’s why you have a car but you may want to think about avoiding lots of short trips back and forth. Consider walking down to the shop, if it is safe to do so, rather than driving. Maybe wait a little bit and combine two trips into one to help you reduce the distance you will cover. Many shorter trips means that your car will be having to warm up to maximum efficiency several times (or may not get there at all). Timing your trips to avoid traffic is also a good idea since this will cut out a lot of stop-start driving which is bad for fuel consumption. So plan ahead and drive less.
If you are able to implement even some of the suggestions above, you will be able to get more out of the fuel you are filling up with. You may have been driving a certain way for years and not really have thought to give how you drive and when you drive any consideration but imagine saving an extra 30% or more on your transport costs. It might be well worth the effort to try one or two of these tips.