Thursday, 13 October 2011

Improving fuel economy

There are several basic simple tips anyone can do which can improve the fuel economy of your car. I am almost always asked this question repeatedly by people when they find out that I drive a V8.

"How do you afford the fuel bill?" they always ask.
Not surprisingly, the truth is, simple and uncomplicated. It is not rocket science. 

I budget and plan my trips. Ta da!! Who would have thought? :)

Below I have listed 8 methods I have used to lower my fuel costs and to save money.


1. Removing any unnecessary weight

Cars are not storage areas, they are meant to be used for transporting people from A to B.
If you need to store something, pack it away in a box or cupboard at home, don't leave it lying around in your car.

I have on occasion removed the spare tyre and jack from my car to increase economy and performance. Don't laugh, most car manufacturers today are doing the same by removing the spare wheel and jack altogether or using a space saver wheel which is smaller.

Wheel manufacturers are also constructing wheels out of light weight material such as magnesium, aluminium or carbon fibre, which are fitted to some passenger cars by enthusiasts.

2. Pumping up the tyres

Increasing the tyre pressures will reduce the amount of friction and resistance on your car's tyres. The tyre pressures on my car sit at 42psi cold. I can feel the difference immediately when I am turning the steering wheel and when accelerating or braking, which becomes so much easier to do as tyre pressures increase.

3. Planning trips   

Decide on your departure time and travel route in advance to avoid getting stuck in traffic snarls. This is so simple yet many people choose to ignore this method. Don't be lazy, use a map and an alarm clock, know where and when you are going.

 4. Driving smoothly

Accelerating gently and rolling to stops, no sudden stop start use of the throttle. It is pointless to race away from the lights if you have to come to a stop at the next intersection, plan your arrival at the next intersection so that you can continue moving without stopping.

 5. Low friction engine oil

Using such oil will improve your car's fuel economy, the bonus may also be an increase in power and torque from the engine. Every person has their particular brand, I personally like to use products made by Castrol.

6. Air conditioning 

Using A/C will increase fuel usage, especially in summer,  when engines will use more fuel to lower core temperatures, yes engines use fans and extra fuel to keep extra cool.  If you have to use A/C, make sure the controls are adjusted so that air is recirculated in the car's cabin. Having tinted windows or sun shades also helps to lessen the use of A/C.

7. Driving with windows open

Opened windows create wind resistance and vacuum which will increase fuel consumption when a car is moving.

8. Reprogramming computer

Lastly, but certainly not the least, is to have your car's computer re-programmed (tuned). My car as a result is using less fuel and producing more horsepower and torque since being tuned. The computer controls the fuel injectors which in turn controls the amount of fuel which is used by your car. 

I have seen significant increase in fuel efficiency and mileage thanks to having my car tuned and wish I had only done this earlier. Unfortunately, not all cars are able to be tuned due to lack of support by car manufacturers and tuning software availability.

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