How to Increase Car Mileage: Easy Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency Today
As you all can very much agree, atrocious and ever-rising fuel prices can deter your driving experience by making it heavy on your pocket. Do you know about various tips and tricks to ooze out the maximum possible efficiency from your vehicle? Worry not; here is a detailed guide on how to increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
A car has transformed itself from being a luxury in the early days to be a necessity today. While having a car is one of the most practical things in life, there is one problem which, if not many, a rather few are concerned about. The engine is the heart of the car and the engine cannot work unless it’s fed with fuel.
This fuel combined with air undergoes combustion which in turn drives the pistons and ultimately the engine and powertrain. Even though there are many types of fuels available, Petrol and diesel are what’s omnipresent in today’s automotive industry. As you all might know, electric cars are turning into a reality while fossil fuels are getting depleted. Maintenance, insurance and other expenses are part of the same story, but fuel is the most important aspect, as fuel literally is the driving force behind a vehicle. India is one of the few countries where the chances might seem high of fuel prices breaking the three-digit mark. Fuel in India is starting to look like a luxury all of a sudden.
Before getting into the tips to improve fuel economy, let’s see How you can calculate your current fuel economy:
Almost every car made today comes with a fuel economy indicator from the factory itself. Some cars show instantaneous fuel economy, range and even real-time fuel consumption display. While these are all very useful on a day-to-day basis, the outright accurate fuel consumption can be found out using another method:
It’s all simple mathematics;
Fuel c driven / Amount of fuel used
The fuel consumed by a car is equal to the distance driven by the amount of fuel used up for travelling that distance.
Fill up the tank and reset the trip meter in your car or note down the kilometres in the odometer before and after the fuel is used to find out the kilometres run. The best way to do this is to fill up when the low-fuel warning comes up and then note down the litres of fuel consumed. Then to know the total distance run, just simply check the trip meter when the low-fuel warning comes up again. See, it’s that simple.
For example, A car consumed 13 litres of petrol to run 200 km; which will equal to 200/13, roughly translating to 15 Kmpl. Not bad, eh?
At what speeds does a car consume less fuel?
Generally, as speed increases fuel economy decreases. This is not entirely true; as speed increases the aerodynamic resistance increases which in turn leads to more fuel consumption as the car has to overcome more resistance. There is no “optimum speed” for most fuel economy. Even if there is one, it will be different for each and every car. 80-90 km is the ideal speed for best fuel economy.
Your car will consume more fuel after speeds of 100kph due to air resistance and more engine speed. So, keeping it between 80-90 km is the most suggested speed for extracting the most efficiency out there. It doesn’t entirely depend on the car’s speed; engine speed should also be taken into consideration. 2000-2500 rpm is what you should be looking at if you want the maximum efficiency from a car. Various factors will help you improve the fuel economy.
I’ll stop beating around the bush and get into the heart of the matter:
10 most crucial tips that will help you improve your car’s fuel economy:
Smoothness is the key
Ditch the Vettel inside you and drive more like a saint, you’ll start seeing some pretty good fuel economy figures. Aggressive acceleration and braking affect fuel consumption. More engine speed equals to more fuel, drive smoothly with minor throttle inputs and accelerate in a linear manner keeping the engine in the powerband and shifting up more frequently.
The faster you go, the more drag you have to overcome. The same applies to brake, stopping abruptly will only hit your fuel economy. While braking hard will not only induce more wear and tear to your braking components, more energy will also be lost. Brakes should be applied smoothly, and you should coast whenever possible to maximize the most efficiency out of your vehicle.
Stick to the correct fuel type
Using the correct type of fuel specified for your vehicle will help you achieve the most out of it as manufacturers test their cars with the ideal fuel which will be specified. Using premium fuels and fuels with high octane rating will not help in a normal car. High octane fuels should only be used with performance cars which make more power than average cars. Sticking to the correct fuel type will definitely help you achieve the most efficiency.
Drag will drag you down
Drag is one of your biggest enemies if you are aiming for more fuel economy. Drag is defined as the force that acts parallel and in the same direction as the airflow. Drag coefficient a vehicle translates it aerodynamics abilities. Less drag coefficient equals more aerodynamics which increases the fuel economy.
Cars today are optimized for less drag coefficient but there are some accessories that increase the drag of a vehicle. Roof racks and storage solutions are a great choice for more luggage space but using them when not necessary will take a hit on the fuel economy. The drag caused by these will make your engine work harder while performance and fuel efficiency take a hit.
Maintain correct tire pressure
One of the simplest methods to improve fuel economy is to maintain correct tire pressure. Although simple this is also one of the most overlooked parts. Low tire pressure leads to more rolling resistance and more resistance takes up more fuel. Checking up on the tire pressure once every two weeks is suggested, so is using Nitrogen. Nitrogen migrates lesser than oxygen through the rubber, so the tire pressure will remain fairly similar for more time with Nitrogen.
Many manufacturers now use tires with low rolling resistance to improve efficiency So, if you are in the market for new tires and you want to maximize your car’s fuel economy then, you should get tires with low rolling resistance.
Keep the weight in check
This is basic physics right here; more weight is going to drag down your fuel economy. Excess weight puts more strain on the engine and its performance. Any increase in weight will lead to less fuel economy. We double up our cars as mini pickups by cramming in stuff when required, but one should keep a check of the stuff inside the car at times. You never know, sometimes there might be something lying in the trunk which you forgot to take off and you end up carrying it for a whole long trip.
So, it is suggested to check up on various things inside the car in a way to decrease unwanted weight. This doesn’t mean that you should remove the spare wheel because its heavy. Yes, that would decrease the weight but think twice before pulling off something like that or keep the 24x7 road-side assistance number in hand. Of course, we are joking. We definitely won’t recommend removing anything that’s important.
Take care of your car
Take good care of your car and it will show its gratitude by consuming less fuel. Change the oil within the specified time and your car will perform better and take up less fuel in the process. Oil decreases the friction of a motor and makes it smooth and efficient. The aged oil acts up and affects the performance and efficiency of your vehicle.
The very same applies to air filters. Your car breathes better with a clean air filter. In India, where dust is omnipresent, it is advised to change the oil and filter very often. Also, check up on both frequently and replace or clean if necessary.
Avoid prolonged idling
Idling a car for an hour on an average consumes around a litre of fuel depending upon the car. Also, not to mention the pollution caused due to unnecessary idling. One should avoid idling for prolonged periods of time, just switch off the car and restart it when you are ready to move; by doing so not only will you help save some fuel but also reduce unnecessary emission and heat to the environment.
Efficient use of Air-conditioning
It’s anything but a myth that an air-conditioning unit can increase your car’s fuel consumption. Various studies have shown that using air conditioning can reduce your fuel economy by a considerable amount. We suggest you switch off the air conditioning unit whenever possible for maximum gains.
The air is clean and cold during early and late hours, this is the time you should roll down your windows more often; fresh air also wouldn’t hurt anybody. Also, be more sensible when using air conditioning; instead of running it full time, switch it off more often, which also helps relieve the unit of some stress.
Getting the right wheels for your car
The more the contact patch you get, the more grip will be on offer, but the engine has to work more to move that extra weight and overcome the extra grip, which in turn takes a toll on the fuel efficiency. Every manufacturer tests their car extensively and decides on the size and type of wheels for a balance between performance and efficiency.
Going up with a size or getting wider tires will definitely improve your car’s handling and dynamics but this is not for you if you’re looking to ooze out the maximum range from your car.
This is the most important tip to improve your car’s efficiency. Your car’s fuel efficiency figure will be a direct reflection of your driving style. As we discussed above, going easy on the pedal with minimum and constant throttle inputs will help a lot. There are various other pointers to keep in the note; for example- riding the clutch unnecessarily will burn more fuel as it results in the wastage of power without any progress. Same goes with keeping a safe distance with the car in front of you; tailgating and staying close to the car ahead of you will only decrease your fuel consumption.
Keeping a safe distance is very much recommended for safety reasons also. Finally, choosing the right gear plays the most important role, try to shift up as soon as possible without lugging the engine to make effortless progress without consuming much fuel. Many cars today come with a 6th cog which helps a lot for improving the efficiency.
Smaller yet significant things:
Choosing the right pump with the best quality fuel will help you
Some manufacturers recommend fuel additives which can be used to improve the overall performance and fuel economy
Aftermarket modifications to body parts (Spoilers, widebody attachments) which increase drag should be avoided to increase your car’s fuel economy
Short distance trips should be avoided as every car requires a minimum distance for the engine to warm up to its optimum operating temperature. Walk for a change, it’s also healthy.
Plan your trips in a way to avoid huge traffic and rush-hour, by doing this not only will you save time but also consume less fuel.
Diesel or Petrol for more fuel economy?
This is a question that bugs every new car buyer in India. Worry not because we have the perfect article that will help you choose better. Regarding fuel economy, Diesel cars are what should you look for if you want the most efficiency. Diesel engines, on an average, is more efficient than petrol engines. Higher combustion ratio of diesel engines is what gives them this edge. Almost all budget diesel cars in India return close to 20kmpl, which is a figure that is deemed difficult for petrol cars.
It’s only a matter of time before fossil fuel runs out- says various studies and research organizations. The rate of consumption of fossil fuels is increasing at an alarming rate, every measure is being taken to preserve fuel but as we can see from the data collected, it is estimated that the fuel reserves will run out by 2052.
Electric cars are the future and they are right up at our door, it’s only a matter of time before we welcome them. Here is everything you need to know about electric cars charging and electric car trends.
The end is near for fuel and fuel powered cars, so make most of it by doing what one can to preserve it. You must be thinking right now ‘How much of a change can your sole action bring’, right? “It takes two flints to make a fire” and together we can make a change. Imagine even half of 7 billion people doing the same to preserve fuel and we might be looking at even more time before it runs out.