Car manufacturers generally design their products to maximise efficiency, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a part for the driver to play when it comes to saving fuel.
These tips are easy to follow and can help reduce fuel consumption, and the good news is that some of them can help to keep your car in good condition, while others can make your drive a safer one.
1. MAINTAIN THE STANDARD
Your car was built to meet very specific goals, and maximum fuel efficiency was one such goal. Modifying it risks affecting the fuel consumption, even if you think the changes you make are minor.
For example, adding wings and spoilers would increase the wind resistance, which makes your car’s engine work harder on the highway. Changing to wider tyres increases rolling resistance — the force that resists the rolling motion of a car’s wheels — and will fatten your fuel bill. Keeping your car in its original form is a good way to ensure that it performs as it was meant to.
2. KEEP THE TYRES PROPERLY INFLATED
Underinflated tyres raise fuel consumption by increasing rolling resistance. They also tend to wear out more quickly, resulting in weaker road grip that poses a safety hazard.
Keep them properly inflated by checking your car’s tyre pressure every other time you stop for fuel, and look for a label on the door sills (usually at the driver’s door) that tells you what the proper pressure for your car’s tyres is.
3. SERVICE YOUR CAR ON TIME
Many things affect fuel consumption adversely, such as clogged engine filters, dirty spark plugs, worn parts or misaligned wheels. They are inspected and adjusted or replaced during routine servicing, so keeping your car serviced is a good way to save fuel. Check with your car dealer to find out what the proper servicing schedule is like for your car.
4. CHOOSE A FUEL DESIGNED TO REDUCE CONSUMPTION
Not all fuels are alike. Some are specifically designed to reduce fuel consumption. This can be done in a number of ways, one of which is to keep the internal parts of your engine clean, which in turn keeps it running more efficiently.
The latest formulation of Esso’s Synergy petrol contains additives that keep fuel injectors clean, so they can do their job properly. Esso Synergy Supreme+ contains friction modifiers (additives that help to reduce the engine’s internal friction) that not only reduce wear and tear inside the engine, but contribute to lower fuel consumption.
5. DRIVE WITH ANTICIPATION
By its very nature, driving is about sharing the road with other users. To maximise fuel efficiency, try to drive with a sense of anticipation so you can share the road with less disruption to your progress.
This means making it a habit to look far ahead up the road, and to drive with a mental map of what the other vehicles around you are doing. This allows you to spot upcoming hazards or obstructions, and by anticipating them and steering a smooth path around them, you can keep up your car’s momentum and stay at a steady speed.
Having to slow down and speed back up repeatedly is a waste of fuel, so the aim is to drive in a manner that keeps your car moving along smoothly.
6. COMBINE SHORT TRIPS
Short journeys that are only a few kilometres in distance tend to be heavy on fuel consumption. That’s because cold engines tend to burn more fuel, and during the course of such short trips, your car’s engine may not spend much time operating at its proper running temperature.
To minimise this effect, try combining your trips and running your errands in one trip.
7. GLIDE ALONG THE ROAD
There is a way to save fuel during a drive.
Some modern cars have a “sailing” or “cruising” mode that disconnects the engine from the transmission when the driver maintains the speed of the car without sudden braking or revving. This allows the car to freewheel along the road, helping to save fuel. This is similar to how you momentarily save energy when you stop pedaling your bicycle once you have maintained a momentum or when you’re freewheeling down a slope.
Even if your car lacks this feature, it has a fuel injector cut-out mode; this means the engine’s fuel injectors automatically stop supplying petrol when you take your foot off the accelerator, say, when you slow down for a red light.
The idea is this: the more you let your car glide along the road, the more fuel you’ll save.
BONUS TIP: LEAVE EARLY
This one tip is as easy as can be: try leaving for your destination a few minutes earlier than you normally would. That builds in buffer time so you can drive in a smooth and unhurried way, allowing for fuel-efficiency. Leaving early also means you’ll be less likely to speed or run a red light, which not only makes this a fuel-saving tip but a safety one too.
This article is brought to you by Esso Singapore.