How to Increase Your Car’s Fuel Mileage: Part 2

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Santeri Viinamäki

How to Improve Your Driving Habits to Increase Mileage

1. Use cruise control

Cruise control is especially important when you are driving on the highway.

It helps you to maintain constant speed thereby saving you a lot of fuel consumption.

Remember that every time you press the acceleration pedal or the braking pedal you will be interrupting the transmission system which will lead to more fuel consumption.

Some power users prefer not to use cruise control on hilly routes mind you – as cruise control will power you up the hill at the speed limit forcing you to brake more on the downhill.  If the route is very up and down you want to be a bit below the speed limit on the uphill and then use gravity on the downhill to get you back to the safe speed limit.

2. Maintain an even speed.  And don’t speed but don’t dawdle!

When you tell someone to drive more efficiently they often just start driving slower.  As any F1 driver will tell you slow is not always the most efficient way to go.

In fact slow speeds are amongst the least efficient and most cars will actually improve economy as they speed up.  Up until a certain point that is – usually around 50 mph or 80 kph roughly.

Beyond that speed, aerodynamic drag kicks in and your car can’t fight the physics so going as the faster you drive, the more air your car has to displace. This can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 33%.  On freeways and highways it’s a doubly good idea to stick to the speed limit therefore both to save fuel and to give you more reaction time for safe driving.

3. Accelerate smoothly

Your car’s engine will be most efficient when you accelerate gently because the revolutions per minute are best achieved slowly until they pick.  Try and stay below 2,500 RPMs in general.

If you are driving a manual transmission car, try short shifting as higher gears require less fuel compared to lower gears which help your vehicle to get into motion.  Being in the biggest gear possible will generally save you fuel as a rule and try to avoid being in the low gears for long like 1st and 2nd.

0.07g is apparently the optimum g force for efficient acceleration – and this is mild to say the least!

4. Minimise your need to brake

Obviously braking is a great idea!  If you need to brake, please do!  But what we mean is anticipate the road ahead so you minimise your need to brake in the first place.  Try to avoid that stop start driving style.

Why?  Well – you burn fuel to get your car up to speed and then braking is literally turning that money into heat.  If you can anticipate the obstacles ahead you can step off the gas and just coast your speed down slowly.

Ideally by the time you’ve got to the obstacle or red light it’s changed to green or cleared up and you can accelerate up to a safe speed again.

Coasting is a cheaper way to decelerate and accelerating from a rolling start uses much less fuel than accelerating from a complete stand still (and reduces journey time) so again – it’s a win win and helps you consume less fuel.

5. Minimise idling

Idling wastes fuel because it gets you nowhere!

If you drive in extremely cold conditions, it can be advisable to allow the engine to idle for a few minutes before you start driving, but often idling can be reduced or avoided.

First try and plan your trip before you turn the engine on.  Once in the car an extra layer can keep you warm if its cold.  If you’re killing time on a hot day in the air conditioning, considering parking up and heading for an air conditioned cafe.

If you are looking to warm up your car, the best way to achieve this is to drive your car steadily until it reaches its optimal operating temperature.

6. Find your car’s sweet spot

The concept of the engine’s sweet spot is fundamental when you are trying to establish the best speed to drive for fuel efficiency.

A smart technology such as GOFAR helps you to find your car engine’s sweet spot visually and then guides you on driving efficiently to save fuel and reduce wear on your brakes and parts.

Other areas where the GOFAR app and device can help you include;

  • Tracking the car mileage for tax deductions
  • Alerting you when the car has a fault
  • Explaining the car faults in simple English
  • Reminding the driver of Registration & Insurance renewal dates

7. Use your car’s overdrive

If you’re using an automatic transmission car, the overdrive functionality will be enabled on the “D” shifter.

In some car models, it will be indicated as “D2”. This functionality is especially important when trying to break downhill or when the engine is unable to proceed uphill at regular speed.

It has been put there to help your car save fuel when it engages a higher gear.

When you drive at high speeds, try using the overdrive gear so that you can save a lot of fuel.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by KRoock74

8. Don’t drive around looking for a close parking spot

You will realise that most people try to compete for the open spot in front of a store or an entertainment joint.

When you drive around looking for that spot, you are just wasting fuel.

Instead, look for a spot in the half-empty parking lot farther down instead of burning fuel for nothing.  A short walk is no bad thing either!

9. Maintain a safe distance with the car in front

This safety instruction is also vital for increasing your car’s mileage.

The closer you are to the car in front of you the more you will need to brake and accelerate and the less time you’ll have to do so.

If you maintain a safe distance, all you need to do is to coast and allow the car in front of you to drive away without changing your speed.

And it’s not just helping you – it helps everyone behind you too because traffic is really a team sport.  If we all drive steadily then we all go a little quicker.  If you get one person in the traffic column who’s driving in a jerky stop start fashion, it affects all of us and slows us all down.  Drive smooth.

10. Avoid turns and stops

If you’re really fine tuning a route – for example a regular commute that’s worth optimising – then you can plan your route to avoid lights and standing traffic or to avoid big hills.

11. Avoid using the air conditioner

If you are driving in the city at lower speeds then you could just roll down the window.

However, studies have shown that when driving on the highway where the speeds are higher, rolling down the windows creates extra drag which is bad for fuel efficiency.

Roll up the windows, and put on the air conditioner when on the highway to increase your car’s aerodynamics.

If you’re trying to control how much fuel your car consumes, you need to monitor how hard your engine works.

The most critical parameters to monitor include the air conditioning, acceleration, and speed.

How to Plan ahead to Increase Your Car’s Mileage

1. Combine your trips

Keep a list of all the things that you need to accomplish in a day, and then try to accomplish all of them in one trip.

What this means is that you will not increase your fuel mileage, but you will also not need to drive many times to accomplish the different tasks.

You will, therefore, consume less petrol than somebody who drove for all the tasks.

2. Choose your route carefully

The more vehicles on the route you choose, the more likely you will need to break and accelerate as the cars in front of you stops and takes time to turn in different direction.

Choose our route with the list traffic as this will enable you to utilise cruise control better. Also, use highways instead of city streets because you can coast your vehicle better there.

3. Maintain a good log of your mileage

Every dollar you spend on fuel will count.

If you regularly drive four business purposes, the internal revenue service will require that you produce sufficient evidence that indeed you drove for business purposes.

These expenses are tax deductible and will go a long way in saving the amount of money you use on fuel.

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