With Singapore petrol prices having dropped to a low since 2009 (Straits Times, Jan 13th 2015), motorists have something positive to cheer about. If you still have a mini heart attack every time you see your petrol bill, here are 10 tips to manage your car’s fuel!
1. Put The ‘RIGHT’ Foot Down
It’s all about keeping a light right foot, aka the acceleration pedal. Control your acceleration, refrain from spending energy on resisting drag or making sudden/rapid brakes. Whether it’s accelerating slowly (therefore not jumpstarting) or starting fast to rise to a comfortable cruising speed (and making it constant); by maintaining a smooth ride, your car consumes lesser petrol.
With acceleration, comes speedily aggressive driving which makes your car’s fuel consumption go into overdrive. The drag increases, tyre friction happens and your engine needs more fuel to compensate. It’s boring to drive slowly – the drivers behind may not appreciate it as well but you save on petrol and avoid a ticket. Just don’t crawl to a stop at morning peak hour lah!
3. Just Get The Usual Fuel
High level octane or ‘premium’ fuel is often touted as giving a boost to your car’s regular engine. In actual fact, most engines of cars on the road are not built to extract the full potential of high octane fuel. Unless your car has a turbo charge that can process the premium fuel, stick to the regular cheap stuff. 92 or ’95 octane fuel is enough to keep your car’s engine running well and safe from pinging/knockback.
4. The Space Between
Leave some space between you and the car in front and you create a little breathing space to plan your driving, anticipate traffic change and be more aware of the road.This could be hard to do in traffic congested rush hour, but remember no one likes a tailgater!
5. What’s The Plan?
We use our cars almost everyday for work, leisure or making supermarket runs. Use one trip to clear errands instead of driving constant short term distances! By planning in advance, you can save loads of fuel such as driving to NTUC after dropping off your kids at tuition, take a detour route when there’s a traffic jam etc. With everyone having a smartphone, its easy to dive into route planning and checking roads with a driving app!
6. Maintain… Must Maintain
Your car’s fuel consumption is dependent on a well maintained engine. Make friends with the service workshop and bring your car for regular visits! Change the oil, unclog filters and fix all faulty parts. According to drivingfast.net, clean parts help burn fuel efficiently and allow more power to be extracted!
7. An Idle Engine Is A Hungry Engine
The rule of thumb most drivers should stand by: shut down the engine if you’re waiting in the car for a minute or less. Leaving it on burns unnecessary fuel. Not recommended if you’re in the middle of crawling traffic, unless your car has a fast start up!
8. Spring Clean
If the car boot starts to resemble your storeroom, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. A weight reduction easily leads to less energy needed to run the car.
9. No AirCon, Just The Natural Breeze
There are tips ranging from only winding down the backseat windows to diagonally alternate windows for good air flow. Keep the windows minimally 3/4 up to prevent air drag. If the weather’s good and you’re not sandwiched between exhaust belching lorries and honking cars , this tip can hold some weight. But the tradeoff of having your interior getting exposed to grime may not be worth it.
10. Hypermiling: Going The Extra Mile
All the above tips come down to Hypermiling the art of modifying driving habits and techniques to drive economically and efficiently. Some drivers have taken to applying strict hypermiling in their everyday driving to cut back on costs. Other suggestions include managing tire pressure and fuel additives – hypermiling.co.uk and ecomodder.com are just two of many sites that offer tips!
Ultimately, hardware and fuel calculators can only do so much. As boring as it is, one of the quickest ways to lower FC is to change driving habits. The ideas may be hard to put to practice but rewarding in the long run safety and cost wise. The next time you get behind the wheel, why not try out some of the tips? Happy Safe driving!