Tips to curb fuel costs

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

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

at

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.

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