Regularly filling your vehicle with fuel – diesel or petrol – is likely to be your largest motoring expense. The more miles you drive, the greater your monthly fuel bills, which is why it’s important to maximize your fuel.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to reduce fuel consumption, from simply adjusting your driving habits to using the latest motoring technology to your advantage. These five tips will help you get the most out of every last drop of fuel.
- Fuel-saving tire technology
Tire manufacturers have been consistently developing tires that push the performance envelope, not only in terms of superior driving characteristics but greater fuel economy too.
Michelin is amongst the leaders in this technology and has been manufacturing their “Energy Saver” tires for years, developing them to the extent that they’re up to 8% more fuel efficient than the average tire.
Eight-percent may not sound like a significant improvement, but when you take into account the fact that the average driver in the U.S. logs about 13,500 miles per year, the savings can quickly add up. Using this example, an additional 1,080 miles per year on the same amount of fuel may be possible under the right conditions.
Continental produces their “EcoContact” line of tires which exhibit superb low rolling resistance characteristics. It’s a great alternative to Michelin’s energy saving tire line-up.
- Low rolling resistance tires
Fuel-saving tire technology works on the principal of reducing the amount of rolling resistance shown by a tire. In other words, less energy is lost per rotation which translates to less effort required to maintain the same amount of forward propulsion.
This is achieved through the use of specialized tread compounds like silica that work together to keep the tire cooler. In addition, a unique tire carcass construction method reduces the amount of tire flex as well the size of the tire’s contact patch. The end result is a tire that rolls much more easily on any surface.
- Correct tire pressure
Ensuring your tires are neither overinflated nor underinflated is the key to not only good vehicle safety but in increasing gas mileage too.
Tires that are underinflated result in a greater contact patch which requires more energy to rotate. Couple this with an increase in tire temperatures and you’ll quickly see your mileage plummet.
Simply consult your vehicle’s handbook for the correct tire pressure and ensure you check and inflate each tire as necessary every week.
- Remove excess weight
This is a factor many motorists fail to consider when trying to improve fuel efficiency. More weight requires more energy to move which is why heavier vehicles often feature poorer fuel economy. In real terms, removing 100 lbs. of weight can improve fuel efficiency by 1-2%.
Make your vehicle as light as possible by emptying your trunk of all unnecessary items that you don’t need to carry on a daily basis. The more weight you can remove, the more money you’ll save at the pumps.
- Reduce drag
Aerodynamic drag is a significant factor for determining fuel economy, a factor that increases exponentially with speed. If you regularly fit a bike rack or roof box to the top of your vehicle, you’re reducing aerodynamic efficiency and increasing the amount of energy required to move through air at any given speed.
Removing any racks and other accessories when not in use reap the rewards of reduced drag and improved gas mileage.
- Drive smoothly
We all have our own individual driving styles that are developed over years and miles. The fact remains that being smoother with your vehicle’s controls can go a long way to improving fuel efficiency.
The key is to only accelerate as much as you need for any given situation, in addition to reading the road ahead to anticipate when you’re going to be required to stop. Rolling towards a stop light rather than accelerating and braking at the last minute will conserve energy and provide a more relaxing drive for both you and your passengers.
Save money at the pump
These tips can help you drive further for less money. Maximizing fuel efficiency is so beneficial you could reduce your fuel consumption to the extent that you receive a “free” 1,000 mile trip each and every year.
If you’d rather not trade in your current vehicle for a more fuel-efficient model, doing everything possible to save fuel can keep you driving the car you enjoy without feeling it in your pocket.