Tips to curb fuel costs
AS fuel prices reach two-year highs, motorists are looking for ways to ease the financial burden.
The various automobile clubs, tyre companies and car manufacturers have responded by trotting out the usual economy tips such as drive slower and smoother, correctly inflating tyres and make fewer trips.
But we’ve heard it all before. So, now may we present these five radical ideas to go towards reducing your fuel expense burden.
Turning off the airconditioning will help provide a slight increase in fuel economy.
However, when travelling along on the highway, it is more fuel efficient to have the windows up and aircon switched on than having the windows down and creating aerodynamic drag.
Don’t leave the aircon off for long periods as bacteria build up in the system.
So throw out unnecessary baggage such as your golf clubs, and maybe even the spare tyre.
A spare tyre can weigh 15-20kg in the average car.
The US Department of Energy quotes fuel use as of 1-2 per cent for every 45.5kg, so that’s at least 0.5 per cent saved. Conversely, NRMAtests show that loading a vehicle up to its rated maximum increases fuel consumption by 24 per cent.
While you might be able to get away with taking the spare tyre out around town, we recommend you should always carry it on long trips, especially in the country.
Switch off the long traffic light
will engine stops.
Modern fuel-injected cars start quickly without the need for any throttle. Car makers with stop-start technology that automatically switches off the engine every time the car is stopped quote fuel savings in traffic of 4-5 per cent.
Use cruise control more frequently. Most systems actually put the car’s engine into an economy mode and will run more efficiently than most drivers as it accelerates more slowly.
It is best used on the open road and not hilly terrain or stop-start conditions.
While we could not find any official figures, some internet forums claim fuel savings up to 14 per cent.
The next time you buy tyres, choose from the new range of ‘‘eco’’ tyres with low rolling resistance.
A California Energy Commission study estimated they could save 1.5-4.5 per cent on fuel consumption.