Fuel prices are a main concern for some people while others don’t care about how to reduce fuel consumption to save money. There are some practical tips for example having properly inflated tires for improving gas mileage.
Tips for improving fuel efficiency in vehicles.
Apart from the constantly rising fuel prices, environmental concerns also prompt us to find ways of reducing fuel consumption. This article focuses on all the ways that someone can improve fuel mileage.
Apply them and you will notice a change. Fuel consumption refers to the quantity of fuel consumed by a vehicle to travel a certain distance.
The engine CC size has a major effect on the rate of the vehicle’s fuel consumption. Therefore, choosing a fuel efficient vehicle is one of the first moves you need to make.
Engine modifications also affect fuel consumption. There are some technologies that allow you to increase gas mileage. Such modifications have a positive effect on engine performance efficiency.
a]. Smooth acceleration.
Vehicle acceleration refers to the increase of speed when the driver hits the accelerator. Pressing the accelerator pedal, causes the throttle position sensor to open the throttle valve.
This allows air to enter the combustion engine for burning the fuel in order to produce power. The transmission supplies that power to each wheel in order to move the car.
Smooth acceleration allows the engine RPM to adjust accordingly. This maximizes the fuel being injected into the combustion chamber as all of it is utilized.
Sudden acceleration increases fuel injection rate. This may result into excess fuel that’s not being sufficiently burnt. Because the sudden acceleration doesn’t give the engine sufficient time to burn the fuel.
Most roads have a designated speed limit which should be strictly adhered to. Did you know that authorities have considered that road’s terrain before setting the speed limits?
The limits are meant to cater for your car’s fuel consumption according to the unique terrain. So, by observing the speed limit, you put yourself at an advantage in terms of fuel mileage.
b]. Minimizing excessive idling.
Immediately you start an internal combustion vehicle’s engine, fuel is ignited in the combustion chamber. In order to keep the engine running, the fuel has to burn constantly.
Otherwise, an empty fuel tank is one of the reasons why the car does not to start. Vehicle idling refers to a situation where the car engine is running while the vehicle is stationery.
Idling happens in cases of thick traffic, however, it’s quite unnecessary in most occasions. In fact, you are encouraged to turn off your engine during thick traffic.
Idling consumes fuel that could have used to get you to a different location. This increases your expenses because it increases fuel consumption.
You can conserve fuel by turning off the engine when the vehicle is not in motion. Further, it also reduces carbon emissions and minimizes the environmental footprint of your vehicle.
c]. Proper tire inflation.
It’s dangerous to have an excessively inflated tire as well as having lower than the recommended tire pressure. In that it could lead to accidents and it’s one of the causes tire damage like bulges.
Tire pressure measurement is in Pounds per Square Inch PSI. You will find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure on a sticker that’s on the car’s door as well as on the tires surface and the owner’s manual.
Proper tire pressure levels, ensure optimal contact between the tire and the road surface. Hence, reducing rolling resistance.
The presence of rolling resistance causes the engine to use more energy when moving the vehicle. Therefore, less fuel is necessary to maintain your current speed.
Under-inflated tires cause rolling resistance which demands more power and causes more fuel consumption. You can use a tire pressure gauge to monitor the PSI of your tires.
Maintaining the correct tire pressure promotes even tire wear, extends tire life, and enhances overall safety on the road. When you change your tires, ensure to perform tire balancing and alignment as this also saves fuel.
d]. Using the correct motor oil.
There are many functions of motor oil in the vehicle’s engine. Motor oil acts as a lubricant for the engine in order to reduce friction between the engine’s moving parts.
When you choose the best type of motor oil that’s appropriate for your specific vehicle, it helps with better engine performance. Furthermore, better engine performance improves fuel efficiency.
There are factors such as oil viscosity that will guide your decision of the appropriate oil to use. Using the wrong oil in your car engine may lead to engine damage as well as performance issues.
Such engine performance issues will cause your car to consume more fuel. Ensure that you check engine oil levels to avoid cases where your engine runs low on oil.
e]. Engine maintenance.
Regular car engine maintenance ensures that the engine is running smoothly and it attains the highest performance levels. Hence directly affecting how efficiently the car consumes fuel.
There are a few areas of the engine whose maintenance is essential for improving fuel mileage.
I]. Air filter.
Ensure that the air filter is clean or it’s replacement takes place during the appropriate car service intervals. The air filter captures a lot of impurities and it prevents them from going into the engine.
Accumulation of such air impurities clogs up the air filter. This interferes with the smooth air flow into the engine. Sufficient airflow is essential for proper fuel combustion.
The air filter must be in the right condition for this to happen. You can also install aftermarket air filters. Their build ensures better air intake and this improves fuel mileage.
II]. Engine sensors.
The essential car engine sensors are responsible for monitoring operations and reporting to the Engine Control Unit [ECU] when something is wrong. Faulty sensors give the wrong reading and this may display dashboard warning lights.
The mass airflow sensor and throttle position sensor are directly responsible for affecting fuel consumption. If any of them is faulty, they may lead to a reduction in engine power.
Whereby, they reduce the engine’s acceleration capacity. In such situations, the rate of fuel consumption is lowered and an adjustment of the air-to-fuel mixture takes place.
Other areas of maintenance that you should pay attention to are inclusive of;
- Engine oil.
- Ignition system components.
- Components of the fuel delivery system such as fuel filters.
f]. Improve your car’s aerodynamics.
A vehicle’s body design and shape determines how air flows around it while in motion. Hence affecting the amount of resistance the vehicle encounters at different speeds.
That resistance affects fuel consumption in relation to the amount of energy demanded by the engine to move the car. Therefore, the more the resistance, the higher the energy demands by the engine.
There are a few considerations in relation to the concept of aerodynamics affecting fuel consumption.
I] Reducing drag.
Drag refers to the resistance that air exerts on a moving object. Effects of drag on the car’s fuel economy originate from;
- The shape of the body.
- Angle of the windshield.
- Design of the side mirrors.
- Presence of roof racks or spoilers.
Streamlined sleek designs, with smooth contours and components in the appropriate position, can help reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency.
II]. Airflow management.
Airflow management strategically directs air around and away from the vehicle. This minimizes turbulence and pressure differences. Hence the vehicle experiences less resistance which leads to better fuel efficiency.
In order to optimize airflow you need to have air dams on the car body and underbody panels. Further, install rear diffusers whose design optimizes airflow and reduces turbulence.
III]. Size and positioning of openings.
Aerodynamics are affected by openings such as grilles and vents. Reduce some of the openings on the car’s body because they create drag.
Keep the openings whose responsibility is cooling the engine and providing air to other components. Manufacturers use active grille shutters or adjustable vents to improve airflow.
Ensure that your windows are shut when you’re driving in order to minimize resistance. All those moves will improve fuel mileage by reducing resistance.
g]. Reduce the vehicle’s weight.
A lighter vehicle requires less energy to accelerate and maintain speed. Which results in an improvement of the car’s fuel economy.
Before venturing into the several ways of effectively reducing a vehicle’s weight, you need to consider safety and performance. you can reduce vehicle weight through the following ways;
- Decluttering the vehicle.
- Choose lighter materials during the vehicle’s manufacturing.
- Upgrading to lighter replacement components.
h]. Check the gas cap.
The fuel cap is responsible for covering the pipe through which fuel enters the fuel tank. A Check fuel cap warning light shows up on your dashboard when something is wrong.
For example, when it’s missing, damaged or it isn’t closed correctly. Checking the fuel cap will involve ensuring that it’s rubber seal is in a good condition.
Further, you will ensure that once you fill your gas tank, the restoration of the fuel cap takes place. Otherwise, leaving the fueling station without doing so will cause fuel to evaporate.
If fuel evaporates completely, you will be left with an empty fuel tank. This will lead to extra fuel costs and it might also cause damage to the engine if the car isn’t refueled immediately.
Causes of high fuel consumption.
High fuel consumption refers to a reduction in the miles per gallon such that you spend more fuel to cover the same distance. High fuel consumption can be alarming and a few things can cause a change in the amount of fuel you use to cover a specific distance.
a]. Vehicle design and specifications.
Changes in the vehicle design and specifications will cause a high fuel consumption rate. Specifications such as engine size, vehicle weight, and drivetrain type can influence fuel consumption.
Vehicles with larger engines consume more fuel because the larger engine produces more power. Therefore, they use a lot of fuel in order to match the power output.
A less fuel-efficient drivetrain is one that demands more fuel because it requires more power to move the car through a specific distance. Components of the drivetrain are inclusive of transmission, differential, driveshaft, axles, CV joints, and the wheels.
A vehicle that has heavier weights strains the engine. Because that engine will work extra hard to provide sufficient power to move the car.
Loading the vehicle with heavy weight will lead to more fuel consumption. Reduce unnecessary components and upgrade to light-weight components. This will reduce demands to the engine when moving the car.
Speeding requires the engine to operate at high rotations per minute RPM. This causes the engine to demand more power in order to maintain speed.
When you drive at high speeds, the wind resistance or drag is higher than when driving slow. This increase in wind resistance causes the engine to require more power. Hence, leading to an increase in fuel consumption.
c]. Incorrect tire pressure.
The right tire pressure ensures that the car’s tires are in contact with the ground at the right angle. Incorrect tire pressure increases the car’s rolling resistance.
This resistance causes the engine to use more power when moving the car. The more power that’s required by the engine, the more fuel it uses.
d]. Environmental conditions.
Extreme temperatures, such as very hot or very cold weather, have an impact on fuel efficiency. When the weather is extremely cold, the recommendation is that you allow your engine sufficient time to warm up.
Sufficient engine warm up is essential to ensure that oil fully circulates the engine to clean and lubricate all the components. This will involve an increase in fuel consumption because you may stay stationery for sometime while the engine runs.
Alternatively, extremely hot weather reduces the amount of oxygen rich air flowing into the engine. That’s because hot air contains less oxygen in comparison to cold air.
Therefore, the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine may not balance. If this is the case, fuel will not burn fully and it might lead to more fuel consumption.
e]. Fuel quality.
The quality of fuel you get is not something you can control because the fuel manufacturer and distributor determine the quality. However, any increase in fuel consumption after changing your supplier is a sign that you’re getting low quality fuel.
f]. Traffic congestion and excess idling.
Time spent in idling mode is something you can control. However, the amount of time spent in traffic is not a circumstance you can influence directly.
Time spent during traffic congestion involves a lot of acceleration and deceleration. This leads to frequent and repetitive changes in engine RPM which increases fuel consumption.
Idling on the other hand involves having a running engine that’s not moving you from one location to the next. An increase in idling will cause an increase in fuel consumption because extra fuel will burn.
g]. Aerodynamic drag.
Aerodynamic drag comes from the resistance that a car faces when moving. The levels of the aerodynamic drag are determined by the car body design.
There are racing modifications whose installation helps to reduce aerodynamic drag. Opening car windows when you’re driving increases the aerodynamic drag.
This increase in air resistance puts more demand on the engine as it requires a higher amount of power to move the car. Roof racks also increase the aerodynamic resistance.
h]. Vehicle condition maintenance.
Poor vehicle maintenance results to higher fuel consumption because it reduces engine efficiency. Bad maintenance results to different mechanical issues.
For example, a clogged air filter, worn-out spark plugs, misaligned wheels, or low tire pressure. All of them have a negative impact on fuel efficiency.
Regular vehicle maintenance by checking on the different components reduces the amount of fuel it consumes. Additionally, addressing any mechanical issues fast enough helps to improve fuel economy.
i]. Poor driving habits.
Driving habits refer to how you handle your car from the moment the engine starts to when you stop and park. Aggressive driving involves rapid acceleration, sudden braking, and excessive speeding.
Such driving behavior increases fuel consumption. To avoid this you need to develop a smoother and more consistent driving style. This will reduce fuel consumption.
Factors that reduce fuel consumption while driving.
The need to limit the amount of fuel a car consumes when driving is necessary given the fact that fuel prices are increasing every now and then. Further, it minimizes your carbon foot print.
Here is a list of the factors that reduce fuel consumption while driving.
- Smooth driving.
- Optimal driving speed.
- Anticipating traffic and planning efficient routes.
- Maintaining proper tire pressure.
- Regular vehicle maintenance.
- Using the recommended engine oil.
- Reducing vehicle weight.
- Minimizing idle time.
- Using cruise control to maintain a consistent speed.
- Avoiding the excessive use of air conditioning.
How to check if fuel consumption is high
There is a specific formula for checking on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. The formula involves dividing the distance driven with ÷ the fuel used.
You will need to set your car’s trip odometer to 0. Afterwards, you will fill up the tank and record the amount of fuel it takes for your tank to fill up. Next, drive the car until you’ve emptied the fuel tank.
Fuel consumption is the measurement of the miles or kilometers you’ve driven per gallon or liter of fuel. That’s why it’s important for you to know the amount of fuel it takes to fill your tank.
Every car manufacturer installs an odometer on the dashboard to measure the distance you travel. In order to reset it, press the trip button on the dashboard. Some manufacturers install this button on the center console.
If your car doesn’t have such a button, just record the current reading before you drive off. After driving until the fuel tank is empty, record the new reading and subtract that from the first distance. This will give you distance you have travelled.
Once it’s set to Zero, fill up your fuel tank and note the amount of fuel you use in liters. Drive the car until the fuel tank is empty. This will ensure that your calculation of the fuel you’ve consumed is correct.
Afterwards, refill your fuel tank until it’s full. Divide the distance travelled with the amount of fuel you used when your tank was full the first time. This will show you your fuel consumption.