9 Smart Ways To Save Fuel
1. Learn the basics of safe ‘hypermiling’
Hypermiling is a style of driving that can save you a surprising amount of fuel. (Aim to drive smoothly, avoiding accelerating or braking too hard. Don’t drive at high speeds, and use the handbrake for hill starts instead of revving your car.
2. Park in the shade
Petrol evaporates out of your fuel tank and, regardless of season, will evaporate quicker when you park in the sun. Parking in the shade will also maintain a cooler temperature inside your car, so you’ll need less air-con when you get back in. If shade is unavailable, park so your fuel tank is facing away from the direct sun. To reduce evaporation further, make sure your fuel cap is airtight, and buy fuel when it’s cooler during the day (or ideally early in the morning or at night).
3. Switch off your car if you’re going to be standing for more than a minute (in traffic, for example)
Don’t let your car idle, either when you warm it up or when you’re at a standstill; rather turn your engine off, because running your engine uses more fuel than restarting it.
4. Keep your windows closed when driving on the highway
Open windows can reduce your mileage by as much as 10%. In stop-and-go traffic, open the windows and turn off the air conditioning to save more money. By turning off the air-con when you don’t really need it, you can save 10% on your fuel bill.
5. Get another car
Consider buying a more fuel-efficient car – one that uses diesel or a hybrid – and hire fuel-efficient cars when you travel.
6. Ditch excess weight
Like golf clubs, or the spare pram you carry around in your boot, or bottles for recycling. Remove your roof rack, which can hamper your car’s aerodynamic efficiency and reduce fuel economy by 5%.
7. Switch to high-performance spark plugs
Iridium-tipped ‘performance’ plugs create a more robust combustion spark, which contributes to a fuller, more efficient burn in the chamber. Doing this will provide increased power, improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
8. Use the lowest-viscosity oil recommended by your car manufacturer
Note, though, that using oil with a viscosity lower than that recommended can be unsafe. Consider switching to synthetic oil (and ATF – automatic transmission fluid), as synthetics reduce powertrain friction, improve fuel mileage, and can contribute years to the life of your engine. Plus, your car will require fewer oil changes once you switch to synthetic
9. Every bit helps
Finally, do up seatbelts before switching on the ignition to save a few seconds of engine use. It all adds up!