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How Can Fuel Efficiency Be Improved?

Fuel efficiency has become a major concern for many vehicle owners due to constantly rising fuel prices. Whether you are looking to save some money on your monthly fuel bill or are simply trying to protect the environment by reducing pollution, you will be glad to know that there are several simple ways in which you can improve the fuel economy of your car. By making a few small changes to your driving habits, you can significantly reduce the amount of cash you spend on keeping your car filled up and ready to go. Fuel-efficient driving is not just about driving in a specific way — it is about a mindset and adopting a more planned approach when it comes to driving. Although that might sound complicated, it doesn't have to be.

So, how can fuel efficiency be improved? One of the easiest ways to improve your car's fuel efficiency is to plan your journeys better. For example, taking the shortest possible route to your destination reduces the amount of fuel you need to get there. However, that is not the whole story regarding effective journey planning. You can further improve your fuel efficiency by waiting until you have more than one destination to visit and grouping your destinations by area. The reason is simple — by running all the errands you need to get done together in a specific area, you ultimately reduce the distance you need to travel. Most vehicles are less fuel-efficient in urban surroundings, and choosing a route with fewer traffic lights or stops is another easy way in which you can help to improve your average fuel economy.

Naturally, driving styles also have an enormous impact on fuel consumption. For example, a particularly aggressive driving style results in significantly higher fuel consumption, while a more moderate driving style will decrease fuel consumption. Sticking to the speed limit and avoiding harsh acceleration or strong braking also goes a long way toward increasing your vehicle's fuel economy. Other small changes that can make a huge difference in fuel consumption include changing gears on time in manual vehicles and avoiding the use of kick-down functionality in automatic vehicles.

Another often overlooked way to increase your vehicle's fuel economy is to ensure that you do not lug around unnecessary luggage. Every unnecessary item your vehicle has to carry is extra weight that the engine must move around. By frequently clearing out the boot, you can get rid of that excess weight and save some fuel in the process.

Vehicle maintenance and fuel economy

Fuel economy and maintenance go hand in hand, and a well-maintained vehicle will generally have better fuel economy than one that isn't serviced regularly. Consumable items such as air- and fuel filters can negatively impact your vehicle's fuel consumption when they reach the end of their service life. However, fuel economy is not the only thing affected when you do not service your vehicle regularly. The general reliability of your vehicle significantly reduces when you do not service it regularly, which is another important reason to ensure that you stick to the recommended service schedule. Consumable elements, such as the air filter and fuel filter, are replaced during servicing to ensure that your vehicle's engine doesn't have to work harder than it should.

Use intelligent assistance features

Most modern vehicles come equipped with fuel-saving features that make vehicles more fuel-efficient without inconveniencing drivers. One of the most popular fuel-saving systems that you can find in modern vehicles is a stop-start system. The purpose of the stop-start system is to automatically switch the engine as soon as the vehicle is stationary. Research has shown that significant fuel savings can be made by switching a stationary vehicle's engine off. It also reduces pollution, which has an altogether positive effect on the environment. Many people believe that restarting a vehicle's engine uses more fuel than simply keeping it running. However, numbers do not lie, and research has conclusively proven that these systems do save fuel in the long run. In addition to stop-start systems, many modern vehicles are fitted with eco-coaches that help drivers improve fuel consumption by providing helpful tips. Some tips include information on the optimal moment to change gears and guidance on how the current driving style affects fuel consumption.

Another little-known fact is that cruise control can also be used to help improve fuel efficiency. By activating the cruise control system during long journeys on the open road, you can make your vehicle maintain a constant speed. This feature is excellent for fuel economy because the top reason for poor fuel economy is erratic driving. By driving at a constant and economic speed, your car's engine doesn't need to constantly adjust to increasing or decreasing speed demands, which means you can expect better fuel economy. Because of this, cars are usually more economic to drive on longer journeys than short urban hops.

If you have a lead foot and you frequently find yourself driving just a bit too fast, there is another electronic aid that might be useful to you. This tool is called a speed limiter, and its purpose is to prevent the vehicle from going faster than a pre-set speed. Speed limiters are great devices for avoiding traffic fines, but they can also improve your car's fuel efficiency by limiting the top speed. Speed limiters can be used in both the city and on the open road, which means you can save fuel on every type of journey.

How can fuel efficiency be improved with tyre maintenance?

Surprisingly, tyre pressure can greatly influence your car's fuel efficiency. You should make sure that your tyres are inflated to the pressure level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to get the best possible fuel economy. In addition to affecting fuel economy, over-filled and under-inflated tyres can also be dangerous. So it is best to regularly check the tyre pressure of your car. Incorrectly inflated tyres can also wear down much quicker than correctly inflated tyres, so you can even save on maintenance costs by ensuring that your tyres are at the correct pressure.

Although it is not always necessary to check the tyre pressure every time you use your car, it is wise to check them when you visit the petrol station to refuel. Most modern cars have built-in tyre pressure sensors that will tell you when the tyre pressure is incorrect, so really, there is no excuse for driving around with over-pumped or under-inflated tyres.

Remove accessories that you do not need

Roof rails and roof boxes are excellent accessories to have when you need to lug a vast amount of luggage around, and they are especially great for holidays. However, they are not so great when it comes to fuel consumption, as they can significantly reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle. The increase in fuel consumption is a small price to pay when you consider the convenience of having the extra luggage space when you need it. However, lugging around an empty roof box when you do not need it uses more fuel, ultimately reducing fuel economy. Most roof boxes are designed to be easy to remove, and they can be taken off within five minutes. In many cases, by removing an unused roof box, you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 5%.

While we're talking about aerodynamic drag and its effects on fuel efficiency, driving with an open window can also cause fuel economy to drop slightly. An open window creates drag and slows the car down a bit. The car uses more engine power to overcome the drag and perform as expected, resulting in the use of a bit more fuel. With that being said, this effect is most notable at motorway speeds, so driving with an open window in town will not have a sensational effect on your car's fuel efficiency.

How can fuel efficiency be improved by adjusting air conditioning?

Did you know air conditioning can have a pronounced effect on fuel efficiency? That means if your budget is particularly tight, you might want to consider leaving it switched off. This loss in efficiency is because the air conditioning system draws power from the engine to operate.

So when it is in use, the engine needs to work harder to provide enough power to run the AC. Not using the air conditioner can help improve the fuel efficiency of your car significantly, but it comes at the price of comfort.

Conclusion on how to improved fuel efficiency

Ultimately, fuel-efficient driving is more of a mindset than anything else. Plus, driving proactively instead of reactively is one of the simplest ways to increase your fuel economy. Simple things like avoiding high engine speeds, changing gears on time, and avoiding hills as much as possible can result in significantly better fuel efficiency.


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