SAVE FUEL LIKE A TRUCKER
WHEN the fuel price shoots back up by R2 a litre next on April 1 next week, people will start worrying how to drive with a light right foot. Below are the tried and tested tricks of the trade top truckers use to save diesel.
1. Be patient
The first rule to save fuel is to remain patient UNTIL you get there.
Driving to save fuel means driving slowly, which for most people becomes very boring very quickly.
To prevent boredom from making your right ankle fall flat, either start thinking long and slow thoughts, or if you are not the medidating type, download audio books and listen to these. Such is the power of a good book, often times people will remain sitting in their cars to hear the end.
2. It all averages out
Driving slowly of course means not starting late, so plan your life to leave in time. But even if you left it too late, don’t rush. Your average speed in town will rarely go over 41 km/h — and that is on a good day. Stick to this speed between traffic lights and you will burn a lot less fuel, plus save on wear and tear.
3. See the invisible
Wind is your biggest enemy when trying to burn less fuel.
The wind resistance rises exponentially the faster you go. At 120 km/h you car has to push its way through an invisible wall that is about the same consistency as wet cement. Keep at the average speed for best results (See trick 2).
4. Bad drivers brake
Bad drivers brake, good drivers regulate. Truckers are rated on how many times they touch their brakes and can lose their jobs if the red lights show too often, for each flash of lights means they have just wasted all the diesel they burnt in order to drive that little bit too fast. (And with trucks often getting one kilometre out of a litre, this quickly makes a big difference.)
Learn to look far ahead so that you can change down to cruise at the same speed over any speed hump or around any corner.
5. Throw your weight around
Check your car’s handbook to see at which revolutions your car’s engine make the most Newton metres.
Then switch off the speed control and focus on using your right foot to keep your rev needle hovering around the lowest possible revs. To do this without losing speed, you will have to use the vehicle’s momentum.
Let it gain a bit of speed downhill so that the vehicle’s weight will push it partly uphill. Don’t put your car in neutral when going downhill. Idling uses more fuel in a fuel-injected engine that riding against compression.
Getting 15,6 km/l from a supercharged V6 Audi A8 on a return journey between Durban and Johannesburg shows what can be achieved by applying the five steps below.