Fuel Economy Tips

Here are some simple and proven things you can start doing today to help you get better fuel economy from your vehicle.

The obvious one of course is to service your car at the specified intervals and keep it in good tune.

Be sure you have the proper air pressure in your tyres. The less pressure in your tyres, the more friction your tyres create on the road. This also means your engine has to work harder to maintain speed when driving. Your tyres lose a little air pressure every week. So, over the course of several months, your tyre pressure could be off significantly thereby costing you valuable fuel economy. When added up over the course of a year, you could be looking at a savings of a hundred or so dollars just by maintaining proper air pressure in your tyres.

Hand in hand with correct tyre pressures is correct wheel alignment. Excess toe-in, toe-out will cause extra drag.

A dirty air filter will have a direct impact on your fuel economy. Check it monthly and clean it as necessary or replace with a decent air filter that actually filters the air. See my air filter story in Product Reviews.

Slow it down a little. Did you know that cars get about 10 -15% better fuel economy at 90 kph than at 100 kph.

Remove any excess weight from your boot. Heavier vehicles require more energy to move, so carrying around excess weight will also affect your economy. If you have a roof rack, only use it whenever you need it as it increases the aerodynamic drag on your vehicle.

Back off the throttle a little earlier when you see that you may need to stop and let the engine slow you. In a lot of injected cars the injectors are shut down during deceleration when the engine is above approx 1200 TO 1500 RPM, which means no fuel is injected. If you have an EFI automatic transmission, then manually change down a gear or two so the engine revs are higher than 1500 so the fuel injectors will cut out.

DO NOT under any circumstances put the transmission in neautral while decelerating or going down hills to try and save fuel. This is absolutly bloody dangerous.  Have I made this point clear enough.?

Only use the air conditioning if you have to. In smaller cars you definitely notice when the air con cuts in. Evertime it does you have to open the throttle a bit more to maintain your speed, this uses more fuel.

If you have a vacuum gauge on the dash, like most good hot cars do, then this is an excellent tool to use. When accelerating do not allow the vacuum to drop below 10" of Hg. This will ensure in a carburretted car that the power valve circuit will not activate. Saving lots in fuel but grandma might go speeding past you, which would be embarrassing for some. This steady style of driving will work for EFI as well.

In carburretted cars avoid sudden depression of the accelerator. This sudden movement will force a strong jet of fuel into the throat of the carby via the accelerator pump circuit. A gentle movement will reduce the amount of fuel injected.

Some of these tips are just not practicable for a hot car as they usually have performance cams fitted. Spark plug fowling becomes a big issue and these cars need a good thrashing regularly and you thought they were just showing off.

This list is not exhaustive, if I think of some more I'll add them in.