Driving in a fuel-efficient manner is good not only for your car and other traffic participants, but also for your wallet and the environment. Yes, the Carbon Tax also gets the latter two points across, but every individual must be willing to go through with the change in order for it to be successful. In that sense, adjusting our driving habits can go a long way. With modern cars, you are already driving more fuel-efficiently as they cave certain features and capabilities previously unavailable and nature-friendly. However, that in itself is not enough. Here is what more you can do.
1) Accelerate gently
The harder you accelerate the more fuel you use. In the city, you can use less fuel by easing onto the accelerator pedal gently. To be as fuel-efficient as possible, take 5 seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 20 kilometers/hour from a stop. Imagine an open cup of coffee on the dashboard. Don’t spill it!
2) Coast to decelerate
Every time you use your brakes, you waste your forward momentum. By looking ahead at how traffic is behaving, you can often see well in advance when it’s time to slow down. You will conserve fuel and save money by taking your foot off the accelerator and coasting to slow down instead of using your brakes.
3) Maintain a steady speed
When your speed dips and bursts, you use more fuel, and spend more money, than you need to. Tests have shown that varying your speed up and down between 75 and 85 km/hour every 18 seconds can increase your fuel use by 20%.
Consider using cruise control for highway driving, where conditions permit. Be mindful, however, that little variations in speed can actually be good when gravity does the work. Where traffic patterns permit, allow your speed to drop when you travel uphill, then regain your momentum as you roll downhill.
4) Avoid high speeds
Keep to the speed limit and save on fuel! Most cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs are most fuel-efficient when they’re traveling between 50 and 80 km/hour. Above this speed zone, vehicles use increasingly more fuel the faster they go.
For example, at 120 km per hour, a vehicle uses about 20% more fuel than at 100 km per hour. On a 25-km trip, this spike in speed – and fuel consumption – would cut just two minutes from your travel time.
5) Anticipate traffic
Look ahead while you’re driving to see what is coming up. And keep a comfortable distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. By looking closely at what pedestrians and other cars are doing, and imagining what they’ll do next, you can keep your speed as steady as possible and use less fuel. It’s also safer to drive this way.
6) Avoid idling your vehicle
Turn off your engine when you’re stopped for more than 60 seconds, except when in traffic. The average vehicle with a 3-liter engine wastes 300 milliliters (over 1 cup) of fuel for every 10 minutes it idles.
Driving a vehicle with tires under-inflated by 56 kilopascals can increase fuel consumption by up to 4%. It can also reduce the life of your tires by more than 10,000 kilometers. Find the right tire pressure for your vehicle on the tire information placard. It’s usually on the edge of the driver’s door or doorpost. Learn more about tire maintenance.
8) Don’t carry unnecessary weight
Remove items such as salt, sand and sports equipment from your vehicle. The less it weighs, the less fuel your vehicle will use. The fuel consumption of a mid-size car increases by about 1% for every 25 kilograms of weight it carries.
9) Use air conditioning sparingly
Air conditioning can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Open the windows when you’re driving in the city, and use the flow-through ventilation system with the windows up on the highway. If you do use air conditioning, use the re-circulate option. It will minimize the impact.
10) Use a fuel consumption display
See the impact of fuel-efficient driving techniques firsthand with the help of a fuel consumption display, a feature now standard on many vehicles. Some newer vehicles come equipped with even more sophisticated displays that analyze speed variations, shift points for manual transmissions, and driving behaviors such as acceleration and braking times.
Many drivers consume 15% less fuel by acting on the feedback that fuel consumption displays provide.
11) Plan ahead
- Map out your route, especially if it’s long.
- Listen to traffic reports and avoid accidents, road construction, and other trouble spots.
- Avoid roads that cut through major cities and are dotted with stoplights, intersections, and pedestrians.
- Use four-lane highways when you can.
12) Combine trips
Longer excursions (like running errands) let your vehicle’s engine warm up to its most fuel-efficient temperature.
13) Drive less
The best way to reduce fuel consumption is to drive less.
- Walk or bike to your destination. You’ll use no fuel and have a healthier lifestyle.
- Use public transit.
- Join a car or vanpool. You and your group will save fuel and avoid emitting tonnes of air pollutants a year.
- Work from home when you can. Every day you telecommute reduces the amount of fuel you use by 20%.
If you have tried all of these techniques for improving fuel-efficiency, and you think they didn’t have the effect you wanted, there might be something wrong with your car. Bring it to your trusted mechanic and we will take a look. Come to our repair shops in Hamilton and Oakville today!