Illustration by Denis Shifrin.
Even though fuel prices did not rise as steeply as anticipated, we are still paying one of the highest prices per liter in the world.
Every driver can improve fuel consumption and save money. Tests show that by changing driving habits, fuel economy can improve considerably.
- Avoid overloading your car with unnecessary luggage or items that create greater wind resistance. The heavier the car the higher the fuel consumption. Fuel is also heavy - you don’t have to fill up.
- Watch the engine revolutions on the dashboard. Nearly all cars have rev counters these days. The lower the “revs” the better.
- Following on from the last tip – don’t be a “stop go” driver. Don’t speed when you are going to stop in a short distance and don’t take off like a racing driver.
- Check your tyre air pressure. Underinflated tyres cause more drag. Experts advise adding a few PSI [pounds per square inch] to the recommended pressure.
- Leaving the engine idling consumes fuel. If you are going to be stationary for more than 20 -30 seconds, switch off. True, the engine uses more fuel on starting, but less than would be used during idling over this period.
- Use of air conditioning can add to fuel consumption by 10% on average. So, don’t use it unless it's vital.
Drive more slowly and use overdrive whenever you can. Fuel consumption is very much influenced by travel speed. If your vehicle is giving you 12 km per liter when you drive at 100 kmh it will give you 6 km at 140 kmh! That’s right. Any increase in speed over the optimum travel speed of 80 -100 kmh is adversely affecting your bank account. And yes, you will reach your destination anyway.
- Remember the short way is not always the most fuel efficient way.
- Remember the choke in the old cars? It was always to be “pulled” when starting a cold engine and that was to reduce the air inflow. It was always pushed back as soon as the engine was turning over. Today, cars come with automatic chokes but the process is the same. The point is that air is essential to a gasoline engine and thus the air filter should be changed at every service to ensure fuel economy, because a clogged one will drastically increase consumption. Now, the fact is that although we are always charged for replacing filters in annual services, most of us would not know if the old one was actually replaced. Mark the old air/oil and fuel filters before doing a service and then check to see whether they have indeed been changed!
Remember, driving more slowly can save lives.
Amatzia Gazit MSc is a Traffic Safety Consultant and Hertzel Katz, LLB, is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
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