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How to save fuel

Updated on August 14, 2009

Today I`m gonna write about one of my favourite challenges that I put in practice year round: fuel saving. Whether you drive an ordinary car, sports muscle car, a mini, a truck, a combo, or a motorbike, there are a few hints and eay to apply tips that can really make a difference in your`s and everyone else`s life ( I will apply the term car to all of those –sorry motorbike fans ).

Why save?

Think Globally , act locally

Saving fuel is the correct attitude to respond to the sustainable growth challenge of being able to produce and do our work on this planet more efficiently while not destroying the unique conditions that had allowed life to have appeared here millions of years ago. If these concerns were mainly confined to more restricted groups and activists within modern societies, the truly mass appeal for an attitude swift only emmerge when we all fell our pockets much more empty after we visited the gas station.

Don`t mess with my money!

In the recent years fuel prices have become a true roller coaster ride as the barrel price achieved unimagined figures. Who doesn`t remember 2008 summer when oil prices reached a peak? Every time we went to the pump the first thing to check was if the previous day price was still he same, having to restructure the monthly budget to act accordingly.

Lets take a look at a few simple yet quite effective changes every single one of us can apply to save fuel.

Before turning on the engine

1- Do I really need to drive?

Before you take your vehicle off the garage ask your self the question and try to think of reasonable priced alternatives to your car. Taking a bus, a train, a tram, your bicycle or even walking can be a an alternative more often that you think. Ridding public transports can do a lot more for your life than saving money. Think how you can save precious time reading, making phone calls, checking your emails, planning your agenda, or even sleeping for a while, things you hardly do when stuck at a traffic jam burning your nerves.

2- Check your tire pressure

Ridding poor inflated tires is expensive as the wider the contact area of your tire to the road , the more the friction. The more the friction, the closer friend you`ll become to the gas station guy.Every twice in the month or so try to check the inflation pressure recommended by your car manufacturer , this usually comes written at the data plate in the driver's door jamb.

Checking Tire Pressure

3- Check your air filter

Change this part respecting the service guide of your car model: the dirtier the air filter is, less is the air that flows to the engine, which means you have to step down the pedal to produce the same strength the car usually needs to achieve a certain speed .

4- Your car is not your apartment

Sometimes I find myself , like many of you, carrying extra items in my car that I don’t really need to, in a daily basis: sports bags, books, magazines,gardening tools, sun creams, etc. I try to discipline myself checking every 3 days the trunk and backseats just to make sure I`m not taking meaningless weight to ride every time I leave the garage. This also applies to your gas tank: try half filling it as it is a considerable extra burden, specially of you drive on the city. After I putted in practice all the weight reductions I manage to get rid of some extra pouds equivalent to an extra female adult passenger weight..

5-Planning is saving

Try planning ahead of the journey even if you are short on time as planning is never time wasted: the route, the time of the day, traffic information websites, your GPS, etc. You may also keep in mind that the shortest route in not always the fastest and most economical one- if you stop a lot ( traffic jams, traffic lights,…) the fuel pays the price.

6-Don`t mess with aerodynamics

Decreasing a car aerodynamics can cost you more than 20% of fuel consumption depending on the vehicle and alien object carried. It`s OK to have your bike support at the rooftop or carry a small trailer for extra luggage if you need them, but if you don`t..leave them home.Those 5 tips are not way beyond our capabilities and can be very useful if you maintain a monthly routine of spending an hour arround your car. Believe me it is one of the best investmenst you can make with your time.

Gentleman, start your engines!

1- Enjoy the ride

OK you like Steve McQueen drive style bumping up and down n San Francisco as it is cool and ferocious, but do you really need to speed up every time you see an empty road in front of you? Take an example of a 2 hour trip: if you increase your top speed by 10% you will consume 20% extra fuel, only to arrive at your destiny lets say 12 minutes ahead of time. Is your time that precious?

2- Accelerate gradually

I usually plan what is going to happen ahead of me:a red light, people crossing the road, a traffic jam, etc. Speeding for a couple of seconds just to brake short after it`s totally unreasonable :as you are breaking a negative acceleration is created, sending away all the effort the engine made to achieve the original speed.
Keep gear shifting to a minimum, as keeping a vehicle moving is much cheaper than get him to move, and use your speed control whenever you get the chance to do it. As you speed increases the fuel consumption decreases : you car will steadily achieve and maintain a good speed at low RPM.

3- Be aerodynamics wise

Stuck beside big vehicles ( trucks) if you have the opportunity: they do the wind resistance work for you . Even if you drive behind a car the size of yours the two will benefit as the turbulence will be less, as if both vehicles were just one in fact. You can witness this effect at motor sports racing ( Nascar, Le Mans, etc)

4- Air conditioning

Try open the windows more often a voiding turning on the Air conditioner frequently.Using the Air conditioner only becomes efficient if you are ridding at high speeds because the price for reducing your car aerodynamics is higher than the first option.

5- Choose you gas station

In long journeys avoid the first gas station you see when you pull off the road. Usually these have high rents to pay for being there, so guess who`s gonna pay for the bill? Planning your journey can prevent this as more off the beaten track gas stations tend to offer lower gas prices.

Discipline Yourself

These are the tips I come up with it and that the ones I use more frequently. You won`t notice the difference in your wallet after 2 or 3 weeks , as like everything in life persistence is the key: the more you use them, the more they`ll become a habit therefore the longer they will last.
What about your tips for reducing fuel? I would like to have new ideas so feel free to post your comments.


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    • infocity profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Thats a nice advice for helping our planet, to make it more eco friendly. In regards to the care of vehicle i would say - do proper tire inflation, tune-up, oil change and please don’t leave your vehicle idling for long periods of time and FUEL CONDITIONING. Every one can Increase Fuel Efficiency ++ Reduce Carbon Footprint if they are using good fuel conditioners..


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