8 habits to drastically improve your fuel mileage

This article will provide you with 8 habit tweaks that you can apply to your everyday routine.

1. Develop good fuel-saving habits

1.1. Drive smartly

One might think that he or she could save gas by running fast. The answer is: not necessarily. Contrary to the popular fuel-saving beliefs, you have to drive at the manufacturer’s recommended speed, not maximum speed, in order to save fuel. What’s more, when you drive at a high-speed, unless you have the whole highway for you, you also have to brake more aggressively and more often. Now you have to use more gas to accelerate to your desired speed, thus defeating the purpose of speeding.

What you should do is to drive at a steady pace and try to keep a fair distance between other vehicles, so that you don’t have to accelerate and brake that often. Pay attention to the driver feedback devices to tweak your behavior and drive more efficiently. Doing so would save up to 10 percent of your fuel.

1.2. Get rid of unnecessary weights

We all like to turn our car into a mini house so that we don’t have to step out of the vehicle more often. This might be a sensible thing to do, but actually, it is slowly thinning your wallet. A research suggests that for every 100 kilograms you bring on, your fuel economy is lost by roughly 1%. This is relative to the actual weight of vehicles, and small vehicles are more affected by this than larger ones.

a car filled with junks

You don’t have to put everything on your car, only the essentials

1.3. Avoid putting your car on idle for too long

Depending on the size of your car’s engine and AC, idling can cost you nearly 2 liters of fuel per hour. So next time, don’t forget to turn the key before leaving your vehicle. This little movement can save you big bucks.

1.4 Use Cruise Control to your advantage

When you’re on the highway, remember to properly use the cruise control feature to help you with maintaining a steady pace.

2. Take care of your car

2.1. Frequent engine maintenance

Sometimes a minor defect in the engine can decrease the gas mileage by roughly 5% (depends on the type of error and engines). Remember to have your engine check up frequently.

2.2. Check the tires every day

Flat tires may decrease your gas mileage by 3%. To be specific, for every 1 psi (unit of pressure) drop inside your tires, your gas mileage is lowered by 0.3 percent. Also, flat tires wear off much faster than properly inflated ones. So remember to have it check up every day. You can find its proper pressure on a small sticker inside your car, near the driver’s seat or in the auto manual. Never apply the maximum pressure though, as it will get you in trouble driving on a hot day.

Someone checking their tires' condition

Spare 5 minutes every day to check your tire

2.3. Always use the manufacturer-recommended motor oil

Don’t try to save a few nairas on this one, you only get what you pay for. When you use 5W-30 oil in a 5W-20 engine, it can lower fuel mileage by roughly 1%. Likewise, an engine designed to use 5W-30 should never contain 10W-30 oil.

Pro Tip: There are many brands for your type of engine, but look for the one that has the label “Energy Conserving” on top of the API performance symbol because it contains friction-reducing substances, which are good for your engine.

someone pouring oil into a vehicle

Get your money’s worth by buying the proper oil for your engine.

2.4. Installing a new clogged air filter doesn’t always help

With old models, especially ones with a carbureted engine, replacing the air filter could improve fuel economy and acceleration by a few percents. On the other hand, modern types such as those with diesel engines don’t show improvement in fuel economy, only in acceleration performance.

3. Small habit tweaks that could save fuel

  • Plan your day beforehand so you can combine trips to reduce the distance you have to travel. This will also keep your engine warm so it doesn’t have to spend that much fuel to ignite from the start.
  • This might sound cliche but try to organize your work wisely so you could finish before rush hours, therefore spending less time in traffic.
  • If you have more than 1 car, drive the more efficient more often.
  • Use the car-sharing service.
  • If you re not in a rush, public transport could be a good way.
  • And lastly, buy a whole new car if you have money to spare.

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