10 steps to improve your fuel economy figures

With the prices of petrol and diesel surging upwards every other month, everyone is looking for ways to save on fuel costs. Here is a list of easy to follow tips to reduce your monthly fuel bill.

The tips below are nothing but good driving and car care practices. Follow them, and you will see your monthly fuel bill come down (some claim by as much as 20 percent!)

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Drive at speeds of under 60kmph as long as possible. This may not seem like a major change but will help slash fuel expenses. If your cars speedometer also indicates an economy zone, stick to it and you will end up spending 10-15 % lesser on fuel. The trick here is to maintain a constant speed and sustain it for as long as possible (without disrupting traffic off course!).

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A lot of fuel is spent while your car is simply parked at red lights with its engine on. If you know that a particular stop light lasts for more than 60 seconds, turn your engine off. However do not turn your engines off if the stop is less than 60 seconds or if there are several under 60 second red lights on your route. That will not help save on fuel.

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It may seem like a good idea to race traffic from one stop light to another or even generally, but it isn’t. You will save hardly 5-10 seconds by doing that, which is nothing compared to the fuel you will burn. Accelerate smoothly without stomping on the pedal to set the car in motion, as it will only pump more fuel.

Similarly you should avoid braking hard. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you and let the car come to a halt gradually. This will help save fuel as your brakes only stop the car not the amount of fuel you’ve pumped in with your last rev.

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Tyres play a major role in the amount of fuel you spend while driving. Keep your tyres inflated as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Tyres which have not been properly inflated increase your cars rolling distance which trickles down to more fuel being spent. Similarly check the tread of your tyres at regular intervals.

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Get your car serviced regularly. A dirty air filter, oil filter or low engine oil will only increase the amount of fuel your car consumes. So always get such parts inspected and, if required, replaced. Also get your car’s wheels balanced and aligned, as the lack of alignment and balancing too will cost you more fuel. So you’re better off spending Rs.300- Rs.500 on getting these two done than spending more on fuel.

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The logic behind this particular practice is fairly simple; more weight to lug requires more effort from the engine which copes up by gulping more fuel. Remove unnecessary items from your car’s trunk, back seats etc. This alone will reduce fuel consumption marginally.

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Plan your route keeping in mind the number of petrol pumps that you will come across. Try to drive near cheaper pumps (more on that later). Also try and plan a route which can take several people to their destination, as car-pooling will help you and your friends save on a lot of money.

This is probably one of the most environment and pocket friendly way to travel. If your car pool is large enough, you may even end up spending lesser than you would on public transport.

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This doesn’t mean that you should drive around in sweltering heat without you’re AC, but you can always avoid using you’re AC when the weather isn’t too unpleasant. Again turn you’re AC off whenever possible and you will see a small increase in your cars mileage.

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This is to be done when driving at high speeds as open windows make the car less aerodynamic. It is perfectly alright to drive with your windows rolled down at low speeds but when driving fast roll your glasses up. This again will put less pressure on your engine and it will in turn consume lesser fuel.

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A lot of people commute to work from suburban areas to major cities therefore there is a difference in price of fuel. For example fuel is cheaper in New Delhi than it is in Noida or Gurgaon. If you plan your trip accordingly and manage your re-fueling intervals, you will save on the cost of fuel itself! Also if you get your car re-fueled in the morning, you will get more fuel for the same amount of money as the fuel is denser in the mornings.

Follow these simple tips and your monthly fuel expenditure should come down significantly. And if you have more tips to share with all of us, please do!