Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips on how to drive and consume less fuel

I have been browsing through the internet in search for ideas on how to drive with lesser fuel consumption and I got this on Wikihow.

How To Increase Fuel Mileage on a Car

1. Plan your trips. Keep lists of needs that will require a trip and try to accomplish multiple objectives with each. This will not increase your fuel mileage (the number of miles your car moves for each gallon of gas), but it will help you drive less (which, in turn, means you use less gas).

2. Lighten your load. Get the lightest car that will serve your needs. Weight is one of the biggest causes for loss of kinetic energy in non hybrid cars. If you're not shopping for cars, then take any extra weight off of the one you're already driving. If seats that you don't use can be removed, take them out. If you use your trunk as a storage space for heavy things, find another place for them. An extra 100 pounds increases fuel consumption by 1-2%.

3. When you fill up with gas, fill up completely and try and keep your tank above one third full. If your fuel runs low, the engine might not receive a steady supply of gas (since it will splash around while you're driving and it might momentarily splash away from the tube that leads gas out of the tank). Not having a steady supply of gas will make your engine less efficient. The benefits of having a full tank will outweigh the drawbacks of having the added weight.

4. Slow down. The faster you move, the harder your engine has to work to push through the wind. Speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 33%.
5. Use cruise control. In most situations, using your cruise control reduces fuel consumption by maintaining a constant speed.

6.Accelerate smoothly. When the light turns green, resist the urge to bolt ahead of the car next to you. This keeps the engine at lower revolutions per minute (RPMs) thus using less fuel. Car engines usually are most efficient at low rpms.

7. Plan your route carefully. Take the route with the fewest stops and turns and least traffic. Take highways in preference to city streets when possible.

8. Avoid braking wherever possible. Braking wastes energy from fuel that you have already burned, and accelerating after braking consumes more fuel than driving at a constant speed. On city streets watch ahead and coast when you see a red light or traffic jam ahead.

9. Set your tires to the proper inflation. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%. Your tires also lose about 1 PSI per month, and when the tires are cold (e.g., in the winter), their pressure will decrease due to the thermal contraction of the air. It is recommended to check tires at least monthly, preferably weekly. Having properly inflated tires will also help you avoid uneven wear on the tread.

10. Tune up your engine. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency. Beware, though, that many tuners will disable efficiency measures when tuning for power.

11. Check the condition of your engine air filter. A dirty filter will reduce fuel economy, or make the engine stall when idling. Just like mowing dusty grass, driving dusty dirt roads will clog the air filter: avoid dust clouds.

12. Replace your fuel filter according to your manufacturer's recommended schedule. This will go a long way to enhancing fuel efficiency.

13. Avoid excessive idling. Idling a vehicle wastes a significant amount of fuel. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it slowly until it reaches proper operating temperature.

14. Try to avoid using the air conditioner in stop and go city driving as it causes the engine to work hard and consume more fuel. However, studies show that at highway speeds cars get somewhat better mileage with the AC on and the windows rolled up. The drag caused by rolled down windows at high speed reduces fuel efficiency more than the AC.

15. Find your car's "sweet speed". Some cars get better mileage at specific speeds, usually 50 mph. Your car's "sweet speed" is the minimum speed at which the car is running in its highest gear (watch for rpm drops as you accelerate to determine when your transmission is shifting into higher gears).

16. Use synthetic oil in your car to save on average 5% gas. Remember to change it according to your vehicle manufacturers recommendations for any oil. Extending oil change intervals can be harmful to the life of your engine and the fuel saving benefits are lost as oil gets dirty. If you cant use sythetic, choose the lightest oil possible, 15-30 rather than 20-50.

17. When getting your oil changed, use a synthetic oil additive to either natural or synthetic oil. This can increase your gas mileage by up to 15% if you follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommended usage.

18. If your car has an automatic transmission with overdrive, make sure you enable overdrive except when towing very heavy trailers. Overdrive is by default enabled on the "D" on most shifters. Several cars have buttons on the shifter which allow you to turn off the overdrive gear. Don't turn it off. Overdrive saves you gas mileage at higher speeds by using a lower ratio from engine speed to wheel speed - this places the engine at a more efficient operating point (by reducing throttling losses, etc).

19. Learn to watch and predict traffic signals. Stop-and-go driving is wasteful.

20. Don't circle in a parking lot, and keep well away from the store fronts. Look for a spot in the empty half of the parking lot. Many people spend significant time idling and creeping, waiting for a "close spot" to open up.

21. Maintain a log over time of how many miles you go (the main odometer) and how much gas you put in (from the gas pump, including fractions). Put it in a spreadsheet. It will keep you focused, and other methods are inaccurate; you will never know for sure if you're saving fuel, wasting fuel or just seeing errors from gas pumps that stop pumping at different points, or fractions of miles being dropped off your 'trip' odometer when you reset it.

22. Maintain a safe following distance! Don't stick to the bumper of the car directly in front of you. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap. Relax. Hang back a bit. You're still traveling at the same speed as the car ahead of you even if you're 100 yards behind. This also gives you a lot more room to play with when you are timing lights. When he slams on his brakes, you can coast down and see if the light quick-changes green again (some do). You might even coast by his car as the light turns green and he has to accelerate from a dead stop.

23. Avoid idling. For example, in cold weather warm the car engine no more than 30 seconds. This period of time is sufficient to ensure that the engine is properly lubricated for driving. Generally, if you can avoid 10 seconds of idling you will save gas by turning the engine off and restarting. However, starting an engine too often can lead to excessive wear and tear on the starter motor and wiring.

24. Select the narrowest possible tires for your vehicle that will satisfy your driving style and demands. Narrow tires have less frontal area, thus reducing aerodynamic drag. Remember, however, that narrow tires have less traction as well (which is why race cars have such wide tires).

25. Select a gear ratio that is appropriate to your engine, transmission, and driving conditions. If you travel on the highway often and do not carry heavy loads, try a numerically lower final drive ratio (known as a "higher" gear.) Careful not to go too "high" with the ratio, this can cause smaller engines to work too hard to keep up, damaging the engine. Some manufacturers offer optional gearing.

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