9 Things You Can Do To Increase Fuel Efficiency And Save Money On Gas
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
28 June 2022
Did you know that you can reduce your petrol consumption by fixing poor driving habits such as aggressive speeding, braking and rapid acceleration? You could get rid of the car entirely and just rely on public transport to keep your fuel costs down. But by taking proper care of your car and changing your driving habits, you can easily save precious money on fuel and enjoy a fuel-efficient car.
Here’s what to do:
1. Plan the most efficient route
Efficient doesn’t always mean shortest distance. It’s more economical and fuel-efficient to take the route that helps you avoid traffic, construction, and congestion. For instance, a slightly longer highway with less traffic lights is usually better than a shorter route that has more stop-and-go traffic. Bonus: You’ll suffer less brake wear and road rage.
2. Maintain a steady speed and don’t drive aggressively
The harder your engine works, the more fuel it’s going to consume. High-speed driving, rapid acceleration at green lights and braking at the last minute when the traffic light turns red isn’t just poor driver etiquette, it’s also a huge waste of gas (braking suddenly also wastes fuel, hence coasting to a red light or down a hill is recommended). Aggressive driving habits like these make your vehicle less fuel-efficient and ultimately cost you extra money at the gas pump as you’ll be filling up more often. Instead, drive calmly, steadily so that you’re driving safely and stress-free. But driving calmly and at a constant speed (use cruise control if you have the function) requires patience, so budget extra time so that you aren’t rushing to your destination.
Over time, this will make your vehicle more fuel efficient and less expensive to run!
3. Use the correct oil and change it at the right time
Oil lubricates the moving metal pieces inside the engine of your car, and having too little, too much, or the wrong type of oil can all impact how efficiently your car’s engine runs. Performing an oil change and using the correct oil can improve fuel economy, so it’s vital to follow the manufacturer's recommended intervals and maintenance schedule. Look inside your owner’s manual for the specific recommendations for the best type of oil to use for your car.
4. Be wary of the right tyre pressure
Properly inflated tires are not only critical to safe driving and help prolong your tires' lifespan, but they also directly impact your fuel efficiency. How? Because while engine efficiency is essential for getting better mileage per litre of fuel when driving, your tires need to be properly and optimally inflated to maximise the engine’s potential. Underinflated tires will deliver poor gas mileage and lead to more trips to the pump, costing you more through the year. To know your car’s optimal PSI (tire pressure) rating, check your manual or the sticker in the jamb of the driver’s side door, and check your tire pressure once a month.
5. Minimise AC usage in traffic
Yes it’s sweltering hot outside, but turning off the air-conditioner while in stop-and-go traffic or moving at slower speeds will increase fuel efficiency and help save you money. So get comfortable rolling down the windows when you’re idling in traffic at peak rush hour.
6. Travel light
The heavier your car is, the less fuel-efficient it will become. Adding something as common as bike tracks to the roof of your car means increasing the vehicle’s wind resistance, which means that your engine has to work harder to maintain its speed. This additional aerodynamic drag can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20%, depending on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight.
7. Stop using premium fuel immediately
When gas prices are high, getting gas at the lowest price in your area can save you significant cash - but only if it makes sense getting it. If you have to drive 20 minutes in each direction to get to the low-cost gas, you probably won't be saving much in the long run. If your vehicle 'recommends' premium fuel rather than absolutely requiring it, you can safely switch to a lower class of regular fuel without harming the engine and save a lot of $$$.
8. Change your air filter regularly
When the accelerator is pressed, your vehicle ignites a very precise ratio of an air-to-fuel mixture. All of that air filters through the engine air filter, collecting dust, dirt, pollutants, and anything else in the air to prevent damage to the engine. If the filter isn't changed regularly when it fills up with dirt, it naturally starts preventing the right amount of air to filter through, hence negatively impacting the car’s fuel economy.
9. Use a gas credit card that rewards filling up
Make sure you pay with a credit card when pumping at the petrol station. Cash payments here don't offer any rewards or perks, but credit cards do. Nearly all gas stations have a loyalty program and an app, and signing up for them is a simple way to save money on gas this year. Be loyal to one gas station and then use the best card that provides you with most rewards, rebates or discounts when pumping.