Tips for Saving Petrol
Given over to market fluctuations, petrol prices have been increasing and costs are passed over to us, the average road user to bear. This means that we pay more per litre, and get less distance for the same amount of cash. I’m sure you’ve heard (or maybe even said the same) things like “A full tank used to cost RM__, and now it’s gone up so much” or “Petrol prices went up again, walk, don’t drive!” However, did you know that some of your driving habits may be causing you to lose petrol efficiency and costing you more per month? Without further ado, here are some tips that can help you save money.
Plan Your Trips
A cold engine = a fuel-hungry engine and this means that making multiple trips in a day with long periods in between is actually costing you more. If possible, combine all your errands into one journey. This also saves you the hassle of having to drive in and out and deal with bad road conditions, weather, parking issues, and etc.
Reduce Unnecessary Weight
Just as carrying around a heavy backpack tires you out, having a lot of weight in your car actually increase fuel consumption. However, the heavier the item, the less likely we are to remove it from the car (e.g. trolleys) but this only hurts you.
Close the Window
While less important in a city going at low speeds, leaving your window open when you’re going at a high speed on the highway can really hurt your fuel efficiency. This is due to a phenomenon called drag, which increases the resistance of air against your car and make your car work harder to accelerate. Car makes try to reduce this by making your car as aerodynamic as possible so help them (and yourself) out.
Accelerate and Brake Smoothly
The lower your gear, the more fuel your car burns in an effort to keep you at a constant speed. If you’ve got an automatic gearbox, this becomes less of an issue. What becomes problematic is rapid acceleration and hard acceleration as these use more petrol than you would otherwise. Practice patience on the road, do you REALLY need to be in front of that car at the next set of traffic lights? You might get to your destination marginally faster, but that only hurts your petrol bill and increases the likelihood of accidents.
Check Your Tire Pressure
We hear this a lot, but how often do we do it? Tires can lose the air in them through the rubber, and because it happens so slowly, drivers rarely notice it. However, an underinflated tire can lead to less stability, worse handling, being faster to wear out, and using more fuel. It is recommended to check your tire pressure at least once every two weeks and the recommended tire pressure can usually be found on the inside of the driver’s side door. It only takes 5 minutes to fill those tires up and can save you money in the long run. Doesn’t that sound great?
If you are waiting for a short while, turn off your engine! Depending on the make of the car, you can use anywhere from 1 to 2 liters of petrol per hour idling*. By contrast, it takes about 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart your car after you’ve turned it off. So next time you’re waiting for someone, turn off your engine and save your wallet some money.
*The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine - http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/172778.aspx