How to get the most out of your fuel

Thursday February 7 2019

With rising fuel prices, adopt fuel saving

With rising fuel prices, adopt fuel saving practices to save you from excessive spending. PHOTOS BY Edgar .R. BATTE 

By Roland D. Nasasira

Since 2018, there has been no sign of fuel prices dropping. You go to bed when the fuel pump reads, say Shs4,000 and when you wake up in the morning, it has increased by Shs1,000. Some fuel stations across the country have already hit the Shs4,500 mark for a litre of petrol. The cost of diesel also seems to be competing with that of petrol, with now a litre of diesel at Shs4,200 at some stations.

Nevertheless, it is still possible for you to achieve a certain level of fuel efficiency, with hope that fuel prices will one day drop or remain constant.

Stick to one fuel dealer
Eric Semanda, a motorist, advises that if you want to achieve fuel efficiency, stick to one fuel station or dealer every time you are refuelling or topping up. This does not only keep your car engine in a good mechanical state but it also saves you risks such as engine knocks that are costly to service.

“I refuel from one dealer who sells genuine fuel because their fuel is constant and is of the same contents across the country. It keeps my engine clean with no need of having to carry out engine cleaning,” Semanda says.

Like you could stick to one car brand every time you buy another car, Semanda opines that the beauty of sticking to one fuel dealer or type is that your engine gets used to a particular fuel brand. The fuel becomes compatible with your engine as opposed to fuel from another dealer with different contents which might be of harm to your engine as far as its functionality is concerned.

Service your car
One of the important aspects on your car that yields satisfying fuel efficiency are the tyres. Edward Mugisha, a mechanic in Ndeeda, reasons that when you drive on tyres that do not have tyre treads, they increase your car’s fuel consumption because the engine will burn more fuel to move the tread-less tyres. Tyres that have no treads do not have traction with the road on which the car is moving, which leads to increased fuel consumption.

“Besides the factor of tyre treads, make sure that your tyres are of the same quality and size. Even if they (tyres) are of quality but are not the same size, the vehicle will visually appear okay when moving but the imbalance in tyres will negatively impact fuel economy and efficiency. The more imbalanced the tyres are, the more fuel you will burn to move the car,” Mugisha advises.

He also advises that before you start your car engine every morning, in the evening as you drive back home or when you make a lengthy stopover, ensure you have the right tyre pressure. If your tyres do not have the right pressure, you will obviously burn more fuel because the engine will use a lot of fuel to move the not-well-inflated tyres. Mechanically, other important car parts to keep well serviced include the air filter and making sure your engine runs on clean quality oil.

Maintain constant fuel levels
Some motorists will only refuel when their fuel gauge mark reaches the red (empty) line. While this is damaging to the fuel tank such as causing it to rust at the bottom, Sula Kilimani, a mechanic in Downtown Kisekka market, says when you keep your fuel tank full or atleast halfway full, fuel air remains inside the tank. It also keeps the fuel nozzles that transports fuel from the tank to the engine compartments full.

“A drop in the amount of fuel that is being supplied to the engine from the tank means that engine will be strained to keep it running normally. It also means that fuel air will be depleted from the tank and on refilling, the engine will burn more fuel at the start before it regains its normal consumption rate,” Kilimani explains, advising that you do not have to wait for your tank to run dry before topping up.

Avoid overloading
Most, if not all vehicles regardless of whether it is a saloon or commercial, are manufactured with maximum weights they are supposed to carry. If your car was manufactured to carry a maximum of, say, 300 kilogrammes and you load it with 350 kilogrammes, it means your engine will use more fuel to carry the excess 50 kilogrammes thereby getting no fuel efficiency at all.

Stick to your driving patterns
Teddy Murungi, a motorist, observes that in most cases when you realise you have enough fuel in your car, it is when plans of driving to visit friends or driving elsewhere come to your mind. This means that you will automatically burn more fuel.
“If you have been the kind of motorist who drives from home to work in the morning and then back home in the evening using a particular route, discipline yourself to follow the same routine even when you have more fuel at your disposal. At the end of the day or week when you evaluate your expenditures, you will realise that you have saved some money and you still have a little more fuel to start the next day or week,” Murungi advises.