Tips For Improved Fuel Economy

 

Drive Sensibly

Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes fuel. It can lower your fuel economy by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town.
Sensible driving will also reduce wear and tear on the rest of the vehicle running components
. Use cruise control if conditions suit.

 

Remove Excess Weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 50kg in your vehicle could reduce your fuel economy by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones. Especially important around town where there is frequent stop start drinving.

 

Keep Your Car In Good Shape

Blocked air filters, worn or dirty spark pugs, higher than normal fuel pressure, faulty sensors, incorrect valve and ignition timing, blocked exhaust can all cause a modern car to have very bad fuel economy, even a faulty thermostat can significantly increase fuel consumption. This is why it is important to have regular servicing performed.

 

Incorrect Tyre Pressures

Under inflated tyres create extra rolling resitance, making the engine work harder, and burn more fuel to keep the car moving at any given speed. Over inflated tyres will wear much quicker which is why it is important to inflate tyres to the correct pressures. We suggest consulting the tyre placard (see your manual for its location) or asking a professional. The following suggestions are a guide only and the vehicle handbook should be consulted in all cases.

 

Use Your Air Conditioning

Yes thats right, at speeds starting around 70kph and upwards, you will use less fuel with the A/C on than the fuel used to overcome aerodynamic drag created by opening one or more windows. And while were on aerodynamics, did you know that at 100kph around 80% of the fuel being burned is used to overcome aerodynamic drag, so for noticable impovements remove any accesories from the exterior of the vehicle when not required. Things like roof racks & baskets, weather shields, towing mirrors, e.t.c all significantly add to the aerodynamic drag, especially at freeway speeds. Even keeping your car clean can save around 1-2% in fuel.

 

Avoid Excessive Idling

Idling will use around one to two litres of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle.

 

Do Not Warm Up Your Car Before Driving

Warming a car up on cold mornings is a myth carried over from early generation of cars.  Experts recommend warming an engine for no more that 5-10 seconds (For Australian temperatures) from a cold start to allow oil to circulate through the engine. There are no benefits from warming a modern vehicle beyond this and there are many disadvantages such as:

 

  • When your car is cold the engine management system commands extra fuel be injected into the engine to keep the engine running. The longer the engine stays in this cold state the more fuel which is being wasted, and this increases the chance of fuel residue build up. Fuel residue build up can lead to poor engine performance and a reduction in mileage. Also a cold engine releases more unburned hydrocarbons which means more pollutants are being released into the environment.

 

  • Excessive idling will actually shorten the life of your engine. The extra fuel being injected into your engine when it is cold doesnt get completely burned, and forms as droplets on cylinder walls, washing away precious lubricating oil and causing excessive wear on cylinder walls and piston rings which can lead to increased oil consumption over the life of the engine. Also the fuel flowing down the walls and into the sump contaminates all the engine oil affecting lubrication properties and causing increased wear.  That same unburned fuel will also create dirty spark plugs, which will increase fuel consumption by up to 5%, and can create what is called a fouled spark plug which would cause misfiring and very rough running and power loss of the engine, further increasing costs with unessasary repairs.

 

  • The white steam you see coming from a cold engines exhaust is water vapour which is completely normal for a cold engine, however the longer it takes for the engine to warm up the more water vapour that will be present in the exhaust causing it to corrode sooner.

 

  • If your car is kept in a garage attached to your home, letting it idle in your garage causes carbon monoxide and other harmful gases to enter your home without you knowing. Carbon monoxide ,when passed into the bloodstream via the lungs, combines with the hemoglobin (the part responsible for carrying oxygen around the body) in the blood stream which takes the space that normally carries oxygen. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may resemble other types of poisonings and infections, including symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and a feeling of weakness. Affected families often believe they are victims of food poisoning. Infants may be irritable and feed poorly. Neurological signs include confusion, disorientation, visual disturbance, and seizures.