It’s been said that “money makes the world go ‘round.” But more realistically, it’s crude oil — and the gasoline brewed from it — that keep our modern world turning. But with gas prices that seem only to move in an upward direction, it can be difficult for an ordinary commuter to keep their own set of wheels turning.
Understanding Fuel Economy
Fuel economy is the ratio between the distance travelled to the amount of fuel consumed. It is a measure of the energy efficiency of any vehicle. In the U.S., the unit for expressing fuel economy is miles per gallon (mpg). As per the most recent EPA figures, the average fuel efficiency in America is about 30 mpg.
Improving Fuel Economy
There are a lot of different ways and steps by which you can improve fuel efficiency, the easiest to implement being:
- Try to coast more and use the brake less. Anticipate slow-downs earlier and take your foot of the gas.
- While driving, keep your windows up. If your windows are down, the engine has to work harder because of the aerodynamic drag created.
- The wise usage of the gears certainly matters. Whenever possible, drive in higher gear. It could lead to a fuel consumption drop of almost 25 percent.
- Keep your vehicle as light as possible. Removing unnecessary items from the trunk can improve fuel efficiency by about 1 mpg for every 200 pounds of weights lost.
- Never compete with vehicles with bigger engines or drivers who have a lead foot. Instead, practice driving at a safe speed; you’ll save gas (and maybe your life).
Proper maintenance of the vehicle goes a long way too in improving the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. This type of maintenance may include:
- The next time you have your oil changed, get the air filters checked as well. A clean air filter cuts fuel consumption by about 10%.
- Always keep your tire pressures at the recommended level, this helps you by about 3.3% in terms of saving on fuel consumption.
- Use the right octane fuel as mentioned in your owner’s manual. Premium-grade fuel doesn’t always mean better engine performance.
The age of your vehicle can play an important part in how to improve fuel economy. An old vehicle consumes fuel at a faster rate than a new one. This can easily be dealt with by proper maintenance.