We’re all becoming more and more aware of the price of a barrel of crude oil and how it can quickly and negatively affect the price we pay for gas at the pumps and the ever-increasing costs of simply driving. For this reason, we find ourselves seeking out ways to get better mileage from our gas.
Some people are even going as far as downgrading engine sizes and opting for more fuel-efficient cars in place of gas-guzzling ones but saving on your fuel bill doesn’t have to be as drastic as that at all. By making small changes to the way we drive and the way we look after and maintain our vehicles, we can make a big impact on the fuel economy of the car we already own.
Let’s have a look at what impact the car you drive can have on your gas mileage and an in-depth look at a few tips on how we can save gas with every mile we drive.
About Engine Size
Engine size, also called engine capacity, is the measure of the total volume of the engine’s cylinders. For the layman, that means that the bigger the volume of the cylinder the more space for air and fuel it has inside it. A 2 Liter engine (2000cc engine) means that the combined volume of the cylinders is 2 liters. Engine size affects performance because the additional space inside the engine means it’s able to burn more fuel quicker and therefore produce more power and speed.
The catch here, for those of us looking to save fuel, is that it’s using more fuel to get that performance. There was a time in the past when the size of the engine is all that mattered when it came to speed and power. Thanks to some clever engineering from carmakers in the last decade, we’re seeing them opt instead for smaller engines augmented with turbocharges and other effective methods of getting more power from smaller engines, thereby increasing fuel efficiency. It’s not uncommon, thanks to manufacturer technologies like Ford’s EcoBoost to find cars on the market now with smaller engines that don’t sacrifice much performance even though they might have much smaller engines.
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It’s not always that easy or cheap to just replace your car though, so trading your car in for one with a smaller engine with newer technology might not be an option. The good news is that you can still make significant savings on your fuel. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Use Your Car’s Eco Mode
If your car is equipped with different engine modes, it’s not always a good idea to have the mode set permanently to a performance mode like sport mode. Eco mode offers a really good and automatic way of saving some gas by turning down some things in the engine’s operating parameters. It’s not a magic button and does still need some changes in the way you drive from you, but it’s a great start to saving some gas, even if it might make the car feel less spirited and affect acceleration and top speed.
Use Your Accelerator Gently
If your car is able to monitor and display current fuel use, then have a look at the effect of how the different ways you accelerate affect fuel burn. You’ll quickly notice that the harder and faster you accelerate and the more firmly you plant your accelerator to the floor, the more likely you are to burn much more gas than a slower, more controlled acceleration.
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To save fuel during the acceleration phase of your driving, aim to accelerate in a controlled and more gentle way, particularly if you’re driving in traffic where you’re constantly slowing and accelerating.
Try and Keep Your Speed Constant
As in the previous section, accelerating uses a lot of gas, so you’ll want to avoid it where possible. Once you’re up to speed, try your best to keep your speed as constant as you can. Just a 10 mile an hour change in speed up and down every minute or so can cost you an additional 20% in gas over a journey. If you have cruise control or a speed limiter on your car, make use of them whenever you’re going to be doing a constant speed for a while, particularly on highways and interstates.
Just the same as keeping your speed constant, you should try to keep your speed lower too. The faster you go the harder your car’s engine needs to work and the more fuel it’s going to burn to do so. The gas use difference between 60 and 80 miles per hour will shock you.
Think Ahead and Anticipate
Anticipation of what’s to come ahead is one of the most fundamental cost-saving techniques of any driver. That’s because you won’t be suddenly accelerating and, even more importantly, suddenly decelerating. Anticipating when you’ll need to stop or slow down means that you won’t be using your brake as much, and that’s only going to mean less unnecessary use of your accelerator only to have to brake and lose all that fuel burn.
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Coasting to slow down means you’re using no fuel to cover the distance, so not only are you saving on fuel, but you’re also saving on brake pads and tire wear too.
Keep Your Car Healthy and Tires Inflated
Regular servicing of your vehicle is absolutely essential to keep your fuel economy in good shape. Every part of a car that has suffered from wear and tear increases your fuel burn and affects your economy. Worn spark plugs can cause your engine to misfire, and waste fuel as much as an ineffective fuel filter. Check these auto & tire center locations to find Paul Campanella’s Auto and Tire Centre and pay them a visit to get great pricing, service, and reliability on your next car service. They often have special offers and offer easy financing and a local shuttle service. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee on them while you wait.
Don’t forget to check that your tires are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure too, as soft or worn tires influence fuel economy too.
Turn Off Your Engine
It’s a common myth that starting your engine uses more fuel than running it idle. If you’re going to be stopped stationary for more than about 60 seconds, it’s better to turn off your vehicle than to let it idle. An idling car is still burning fuel, and it’s being completely wasted since you’re getting no forward movement from the fuel burn. Crack open a window instead of running the car idle just for the air conditioning.
These are just six of many ways you can save on your fuel bill. We didn’t even touch on air conditioning, trip planning, and keeping the weight of the car down by removing additional baggage from the trunk. By practicing good fuel-saving driving techniques, you can cut down on the amount of gas you use no matter the size of your engine. All you need to do is slow down and be mindful about how you’re driving and using your accelerator and you’re halfway there!