The recent news about reduction of excise duty on petrol and diesel might have sounded like music to the ears of many car owners. Fuel prices have been the highest they have ever been and even crossed the century mark in many places in the country. While this cut in excise duty might bring some relief, petrol and diesel prices are still very high. While one could switch to EVs for lower running costs, it is not that simple for all. So, in this article, we will explore some simple tips that can help reduce your monthly fuel bills.
1. Drive gently
A gentle foot on the accelerator is key to lesser stops at the fuel station. When driving, try not to abuse the three (or two) pedals given to you. Even if you see a long and empty stretch ahead of you, try to maintain a constant speed while keeping the revs low. When approaching a stop or a red light, let go of the accelerator pedal a good distance away from the stopping point. The same trick can also be used when descending a hill or a flyover. Coasting can help you keep the fuel burning to a minimum.
2. Service the car periodically
This one is a no brainer. If your car is not serviced regularly or is running on dirty filters and faulty parts, it is going to drink more fuel than is necessary. Anytime you see the check engine light come on the dashboard, get it checked as soon as possible. Changing the air filter, oil filter and the various lubricants can be a quick way to ensure that the car is consuming the right amount of fuel. Do not think that you do not need to repair something until it is completely broken or you might end up spending more than what you thought you could save.
3. Maintain tyre pressure
Maintaining the optimum pressure in all four tyres is another easy trick to help with your fuel saving endeavours. Rubber is a flexible material and in absence of enough air, the weight of the car can push down on the rubber, resulting in more rubber making contact with the road. This increases the amount of friction the car has to overcome and also burns more fuel. It does not hurt to get your tyre pressure checked after every 2-3 weeks.
4. Shift early
The enthusiast in you might prompt you to shift up when the revs are high so that you can get the best acceleration. However, doing so does have an adverse effect on the fuel economy of your car. The higher the engine speed, the more fuel it might be burning. This is where you can look into shifting earlier in the rev band. In most cases, you can think of shifting between 1500-2000rpm and not run the risk of stalling. Not only will this save fuel but also provide a smoother ride experience for people travelling with you.
5. Reduce weight
The longer you own a vehicle, the more things you tend to collect inside it. Plus, the bigger the boot, the lesser your motivation to move things out of it. This too can be a cause for lesser fuel economy. The more weight the car has to lug around, the more work the engine has to do to move the vehicle. Do a thorough cleaning of your car once in a while and take out anything you might not need for your trips.
6. Check the wheel alignment
The roads that we drive on can be ruthless and riddled with potholes and speed breakers. Any of these can catch you off guard when going at a high speed. Bashing your way through the broken roads of the urban jungle eventually catches up to you and messes up your wheel alignment. If the car is veering to one side or becoming harder to steer, it will not only eat up your tyres but also cause the fuel to drain faster. Get the problem fixed as soon as possible.
7. Keep the windows rolled up
Switching off the air conditioning system of your car can help save fuel and that is a fact known by almost everyone now. After switching off the AC, you might crack open the windows to let some cool air come inside. Well, doing so reduces the aerodynamic efficiency of the car and that too can lead to more fuel being used. If possible, try and keep the windows closed so that the air can gently pass over the vehicle and cause the least amount of resistance.
8. Avoid traffic
Following this tip is less about driving and more about planning things in your head. Neither you nor your car like to be stuck in traffic or behind too many traffic lights. It can drain you of your patience and peace while it can drain the car of precious fuel. Planning your journey in a way that you skip rush-hour traffic or finding a route that has a lesser number of traffic signals can help improve the mileage of your car as you spend less time pressing the clutch and brake.
9. Ride together
Now I know that I asked you to carry less weight in your car to save fuel just a few points ago but in this one, I am going to ask you to do the opposite. Carry more people with you when you head out. Carpooling is a great way of saving fuel and the environment. If you know someone in your neighbourhood who goes to work around the same place as yours, take them along. If there is someone in the office that stays close to your house or along the way, ask them to come along. When carpooling with someone, all parties involved can share the cost of fuel and that helps the cause of saving money on fuel expenses. Even if your family plans to head out, you can manage the trip in such a way that you can do it in one trip and not take four different ones.
10. Do not idle
Idling your car is bad for its fuel efficiency. If you stop at a traffic signal and have to wait for 30 seconds or more before the light turns green, it is best to shut the engine down. The same goes when stopping somewhere to either wait for someone or to decide which way you should be heading. Only keep your car running if you plan to stop for a brief moment. Why waste fuel when you are not even moving?