Most of the modern cars have indicators to show economy speed. In automatic cars, you may also find economy driving mode, which will help you to reduce fuel consumption by keeping a steady speed while driving. However, driving at an optimum speed is the first step towards economic driving.
Acceleration and braking
Excessive speed is the biggest fuel-guzzling factor. Accelerate no more forcefully than needed to mesh smoothly into traffic. Racing up to cruising speed will quickly drain the fuel tank and your wallet.
Think ahead & plan your drive
There's a technique called 'hypermiling'. This is a collection of driving techniques aimed at improving a car's fuel efficiency. Hypermiling is all about maintaining momentum when you're on the road. This means optimising your route for the best efficiency. Researchers say that you can improve fuel economy upto 37 per cent just by changing the way you drive.
Thinking ahead is a major skill for hypermiling. Firstly, plan your route in advance so that you know what roads to take. While choosing the route, consider the following factors: condition of the road, distance to the destination, the stops you may make on the way. Also avoid rush hour, hill roads, traffic lights and busy roads as much as possible. Secondly, drive smartly. Leaving a good gap between you and the car in front is important for safety but will also help you to avoid constantly stopping and starting. Look at the road ahead and observe the flow of traffic. By anticipating the way traffic moves, you can plan your manoeuvres and avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking.
The higher the gear you drive on, the lower your engine speed is, which can improve fuel efficiency. So always change up a gear whenever your car comfortably can. Remember: the faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses. Some cars have gear-shift indicators. Use it wisely. If you drive an automatic, ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car has gained sufficient speed.
Maintain your car
Regular maintenance and servicing improves the efficiency of your vehicle, and therefore can improve your fuel consumption. This is also important to keep the car in good condition. Only a healthy car will perform optimally and deliver good fuel efficiency.
Here is the checklist for you to ensure fuel efficiency:
• Keep the engine correctly tuned
• Keep filters in good condition.
• Keep the fuel and ignition systems in good working order.
• Ensure the wheel alignment is correctly set and the brakes aren't dragging.
• Regularly change the engine oil using the correct grade of oil as recommended by the manufacturer.
• As, low tyre pressure increases resistance, making the engine work more, fuel usage in turn goes up. Hence, it is important to keep the tyres inflated at either the recommended air pressure or higher. Check the tyre pressure once a week.
Do not travel with unnecessary items inside the car or trunk space. Fuel consumption is relative to the vehicle's weight. Smaller cars are more easily impacted by increased weight. External attachments such as roof racks will also increase wind resistance and fuel use. Remove them when not in use and when you are using them, load them correctly to minimise wind resistance.
Use of air-conditioner
Don't use air-conditioner unless you really have to as it uses engine power and therefore increases fuel consumption. This goes for heat as well as cooling.
Turn your engine off when parked
Idling gets you nowhere, but still burns fuel. If you're in a queue, or waiting for someone for a minute or more, switch off your engine. And if you're waiting at a traffic light or trapped in a jam, it is better to shift into neutral. It calms your engine and drops the rpm.
Not all fuels are the same. Better fuels burn more efficiently and can improve your fuel economy. Adulterated fuel not only lowers the fuel efficiency but also harms the engine. So always choose one of high quality.
Having said all these tips to increase fuel efficiency, the best way to save on fuel costs is to stop using your car too much. Depend on other options like public transport, car pooling, walking or riding a bike. If you must use your car, try to combine a few smaller trips into one. A cold engine is less fuel-efficient and emits more pollutants than a warm engine, so several shorter trips will use more fuel than one longer trip.