Fuel saving tips for hard times

When you rev to higher revolutions per minute (RPM), the fuel consumption is heightened.

What you need to know:

Engines need fuel to run yet the prices are not in line with what many budgets had at the start of this year. So, some fuel saving mechanisms must be employed.

Making the journey from, say Mukono to Kampala and back is quiet something. If one is to make it on time, more so with public transport, waking up as early as 4a.m may be the solution. In these times where the cost of fuel makes one budget for every coin, some have resorted to ditching their personal cars for taxis. However, what happens when you must make that trip somewhere?

Engines need fuel to run yet the prices are not in line with what many budgets had at the start of this year. So, some fuel saving mechanisms must be employed.
Some of these are as simple as getting the car serviced or as character straining as not hitting hard on the gas. Yes, character straining because some people love flying only to hit the brakes so hard when they see an obstacle in the near distance.

Check the tyre pressure
When driving, one is better off doing so with well-inflated tyres rather than underinflated ones. When tyres are underinflated, they have a higher rolling resistance. That translates into more friction generated with every kilometre hence more fuel used. Therefore, make it a habit to look at your tyres before you drive off to see if all is well or there is need to branch into a fuel station in search for that air refilling station.

Watch the weight
Ever tried carrying something on your back? You will use more energy than if you did not have it. The same goes for vehicles. The more weight they carry, the more fuel they will burn. For those who were accustomed to carrying all sorts of things in their boots, it is time for spring cleaning. Allow the car to carry just a spare tyre, any road emergency equipment you must carry and what you need for the day. That way, fuel consumption will be minimal.
When you must carry weight, such as when you are traveling, rather than carry the weight atop your vehicle, opt for a trailer. Pulling weight is more fuel efficient compared to carrying it.

Switch on that AC
Contrary to what many know, driving at high speeds with windows down leads to wind build up in the car. That is in addition to what the car is already dealing with to slice through the air. Unfortunately, this causes resistance thus burning more fuel to deal with it. That is why turning on that air conditioner will save you some fuel.  

Keep it consistent
The temptation to drive too fast on highways is one that many fall for. That causes the car to burn more fuel very fast, leading to higher fuel consumption. However, that does not mean that one drops below 50 kph because that would mean driving in gear one which is equivalently a fuel guzzler.
The trick is to keep it at 80kph on the highway while 50kph for town drives is perfectly sufficient.
Nonetheless, while that may work sufficiently for Toyota cars, European cars may not work in the same manner.
Robin Byarugaba, of Duke Garage says these cars are built differently and may not respond to this fuel saving strategy.
“They respond to the temperature, road type and traffic flow. That means you may have to try a different strategy,” he shares.

Do not rev
Subaru drivers love this but it causes the engine to roar, giving the driver an adrenaline rush. However, there is need to go for some more miles beyond today. How about driving normally? When you rev to higher revolutions per minute (RPM), the fuel consumption is heightened.
Additionally, for people with cars that need idling before they can start driving, avoid revving them to quicken the warming up process. That wastes fuel.

Be gentle on those brakes
Accelerating hard means that at one point, you will need to slam at the brakes. That is true when the driver ahead of you stops or when a bad driver intercepts you. It is easier and better if the speeds are moderate. It also means looking at the road ahead to plan the next move. That way, rather than slam the brakes because of a red light, you would start slowing down way in advance.
On the other hand, when approaching a hill, rather than accelerating hard at the foot of the hill, start increasing the speed as you get closer to it so you simply build up on the power to climb rather than hit the acceleration pad hard in order to get up. You may also avoid accelerating hard when moving the car from a total stop.

Plan your route
Often times, during rush hour, the traffic is bumper to bumper. The start and stop puts pressure on the engine thus increased fuel consumption. If possible, see to it, that you leave early in the morning before the morning rush jam builds up depending on your when it does from where you live. Then in the evening, try to leave a little earlier than 5p.m when the mad dash to go home is at its peak.

Another way is to opt for the route with fewer stops. For instance, if the shorter route has several stop signs, hills or traffic lights yet the longer one is leveled with fewer stops, you are better off driving the longer way.
Planning the trip also constitutes lumping up several journeys into one. For instance, there is no reason as to why you will head home, then drive out again to buy groceries. These can be done in one go. Moreover, if you can cut back on how much you drive, it is better. That could be using a motorcycle to head to the market for the groceries rather than sitting in jam or driving around the market in search of parking.

Buy fuel before the sun is hot
Try, buying fuel in the morning because at that time, it is dense and you will get value for money. As the sun gets hotter, fuel or gasoline, expands thus getting thinner which is accompanied with evaporation. Therefore, if you fuel in the heat of the afternoon, you are getting fuel fumes and very thin fuel that will get used up faster than if you fueled in the cool of the day.

A man fills a fuel tank at a petrol station. Allow your car to carry just a spare tyre and any road emergency equipment to limit fuel usage. PHOTO/file

Do not skip car maintenance
After every service, the mechanic will indicate the mileage when the next servicing should be done. It is important that you religiously adhere to it because not keeping up with it will have an effect on the amount of fuel the car uses. For instance, during servicing, various oils such as the engine oil are changed as well as the oil filter.

Additionally, wheel alignment and balancing are seen to, while tyre pressure is taken care of, spark plugs and air filters are replaced. All these affect fuel consumption.


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