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How to Improve Your Car's Fuel Efficiency

How to increase the fuel efficiency or mileage of one's car is top-of-mind for every car owner. They are all seeking tips and techniques that will help them get more mileage for every litre of fuel consumed.

How to increase your car's mileage

With ever increasing fuel prices most car owners would love to get more out of every drop of fuel they consume. Obsession with increasing fuel efficiency is every car owners ambition. People who employ fuel efficiency enhancing techniques are called Hypermilers. Here are some Hypermiling tips, by which one can get their cars to run more for every litre of fuel.

Fuel Efficiency Tips: Driving Style

Avoid Quick Acceleration and Heavy Braking

Simply translated it  means that one needs to drive one's car at a constant speed and maximise its momentum. Braking heavily would mean responding equal amount of additional fuel to reach back to the earlier momentum. an obstruction on the road or a traffic signal. Plan in advance and manage your speed so does one does not have to stop.

Avoid Driving in Higher Speeds 

Aerodynamic drag on a car increase at faster speeds. Speed also increase the mechanical friction a car has to endure. Driving fast also means that the car has to work harder (Most modern car would skew the air fuel mixture in favour of higher fuel when the car is being driven fast) thus consuming more fuel. Driving at moderate speed would ask less from the car, which in turn would mean that the  engine has to do less work, thus saving precious fuel. 

Prefer Flat Roads Over Hills and Mountains

Whenever possible plan routes for outstation trip in a manner that one avoids hilly roads. Plus always enter the flyover or high roads at higher speed and then maintain it even at the cost of speed. Avoid downshifting as much as possible as gear change would lead to higher fuel consumption. 

Avoid Short Trips

Plan your trips for the day in advance. Always try to cover the farthest distance first, then drive your way back home going to each successively closer destination. By doing so the car gets warmed up to its optimum level and operates at maximum fuel efficiency.

Avoid Engine Idling

Running an engine idle does consume fuel without covering any distance. Anticipate your stop time and if it's going to be anywhere more than 7 Seconds then shut the engine off. Most modern cars do not require any warming up time, so avoid idle warming of your car and drive gently so as to build and optimum car temperature. Whilst one will consume some extra fuel by driving a cold car without warming up, but warming a car in idle state would mean zero distance covered, whilst driving a cold car gently would have ensured a certain amount of travel. 

Avoid Carrying Unnecessary Baggage

More weight in the car would mean extra work for teh car to pull unwanted weight which in turn would impact the car's fuel efficiency negatively. Luggage on the top of the car affects aerodynamics and increase drag thus impacting fuel efficiency negatively.

Fuel Efficiency Tips: Car Care

Vehicle Maintenance 

Do not avoid scheduled maintenance as per the advised car service schedule. Properly tuned engine consumes less fuel. Wheel balancing and alignment should be done periodically, not only will this increase tyre life but also increase fuel efficiency. Misaligned wheel would drag the car either to the left or right, this in turn increases friction, this would mean that the car has to work harder to overcome the friction, thus decreasing the fuel efficiency. 

Tyre Pressure

Always ensure and drive the car with OEM indicated tyre pressure. Under inflated tyre would mean greater road surface contact, increased rolling resistance, more work, less fuel efficiency. Do not overinflate as this may cause control issue. In most cases OEM advised maximum tyre pressure, does lead to an increase in road noise and harshness filtering into the car's cabin, however, OEM rated tyre pressure does help in improving a car mileage. 

Motor Oil

Whilst Motor Oil is a must to ensure smooth functioning of an engine, however, the downside of motors oil is that it resists movement, even though marginally, within the engine. It would be better if one uses lighter synthetic motor oil as it help reduce friction inside the engine and burn fuel more efficiently, thus adding to the car's fuel efficiency.

It is always advisable to have the crankcase completely filled with motor oil, this is advised only because most of us normally do not bother about monitoring the oil in the engine, nor do we know how to do it. In reality, one can run the car even with half filled crankcase, as additional oil only adds to the resistance inside the engine, thus impacting the fuel efficiency negatively. However, if one was to do this, then regular dipstick monitoring of oil in the crankcase will be a must or else you will get a ceased engine.

Fuel Efficiency Tips: Special Driving Techniques

Driving Intelligently 

Most modern cars come equipped with a instant fuel efficiency gauge in the driver information system. Intelligent use of this information can help one improve the car's fuel efficiency. Once the car reach a speed, then ensure that the throttle pedal is kept in the position which makes the car drive with maximum fuel efficiency as indicator by the Instant Fuel Average reading in the Driver Information System. Cars with Cruise control should avoid using the same while driving up on the flyover or hills as the system will increase the throttle pressure to take the car to the preset speed. This would make the car work harder and reduce fuel efficiency.

Brake Less or Driving Without Brakes (DWB)

Imagine as if your car does not have brakes, in such case one would not only drive the car in a more controlled manner but also avoid hard throttle starts by looking farther and anticipating obstacles in advance and take corrective action accordingly.

All you need to do is to observe as to how truck drivers drive their truck by keeping sufficient distance between then and vehicle ahead. This helps them minimize starts and stops thus reducing the fatigue of driving such big vehicles. Follow the same driving technique in your car and save fuel.

Brake Smart

Want to maximize your fuel efficiency, then minimise your restarts. Approach signals in a manner that  you get there just when it's about to turn green, With your car in motion, it will consume less fuel on acceleration vs a car that's stationary.

If you have to stop a car on the signal then on restart do not over accelerate, let the speed build up gradually. If you have to stop at a stop sign on a hill, travel as far high as possible before stopping the car, because However while going downhill stop as high as possible on the hill and use the hill to help get you a rolling start.

Parking Tricks

Find the most open space, even it means that one has to walk a little more to reach the store or movie theatre. Avoid parking in tight spots that requires lots of back and forth as this unnecessarily consumes fuel. Park at the highest point in the parking lot located on a slope. This will give you a rolling start advantage thus saving on fuel. 

Whenever possible, park facing out as one does not need to back and reverse while moving out. This would mean that reversing and backing will have to be done while parking, but in that case since the car is already warm it will be operating in its most efficient state. Post parking the engine does turn cold and on restart its at its least efficiency level.

Avoid High Traffic Jam Routes and Use Alternate Routes

Traffic Jams means more start stop movement of the car, this means more fuel consumption. It also advisable to use a route where one does not have to stop as often s the case maybe in case of a traffic jam. Use alternate routes even if tehy are slightly longer provided one can travel at constant speed.

Glide into a Stop

On approaching a red signal, put your car in neutral and glide gradually to a stop. Please do not shut-off the engine before coming to the stop, as most cars today have booster brakes, which works only when the car is on. 

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