How To Improve Fuel Economy


Whether your car takes petrol or diesel, it’s still a big cost to an average commuter. So how do you reduce your fuel consumption in easy and relatively unobtrusive ways? You have to figure out how to improve fuel economy, but we’ve already got some good ideas.

We’ve got 5 handy tips and tricks to make your tank go that little bit longer and improve fuel economy.

Tip 1: Turn off A/C Where Possible

Your air conditioning runs off of the motor in most cars. This means that while on, although nice and cool, it creates drag on the engine. This in turn saps power and makes accelerating the car consume more fuel to get you to the same speed. If the weather isn’t that bad and you have not other need for A/C, just leave it off and use the climate controls to adjust your temperature.

Tip 2: Engine Brake Where Possible

With all modern cars using fuel injection of some sort, this has created a new way that car makers save fuel. When decelerating, the engine computer will turn the fuel injectors off and let the wheels spin the engine rather than normal where the engine spins the wheels. This means if you are heading down a hill or coasting to a stop, your engine will be using no fuel at all.

It’s important to know that diesel engines will slow the car down quicker than petrol motors, and never fully rely on the engine to slow you down, always brake where needed.

Tip 3: Accelerate Slower, Brake Earlier

Acceleration is what creates the most load on the engine. The most load means the most fuel consumption. If you can spare an extra 2 seconds to 100kph you’ll save a decent amount of fuel. This doesn’t mean drive like a grandma, it just means that where possible, don’t tear off into the sunset, cruise there instead.

The inverse of this is to brake earlier, the earlier you start to slow down, the more chance you won’t have to come to a full stop. (Unless coming up to a Stop sign). If you can keep some momentum as the cars in front of you start to move, it will greatly reduce the energy required to start moving your car again. Think of it like a boat moving through the water, you want the momentum to aid acceleration because then the initial drag is reduced.

Tip 4: Buy a Car With Start/Stop Technology

Start/Stop technology is one of the biggest advancements made to deal with modern traffic. By turning the engine off while sitting still, your car drops fuel consumption to 0. When starting back up again, modern starter motors and engine management systems mean that the fuel needed to start the engine is less than what the car would have used by idling.

You don’t have to do anything, the Start/Stop just automatically saves you money.

Tip 5: Service Your Car Regularly

Most people service their cars as they remember or go off the sticker that tells them when they need an oil change. But clean fuel filters, spark plugs, oil filters, fuel injectors, and oil make the engine perform better for longer. Regular servicing will also ensure your tyres, suspension, and anything else that may become a problem will be spotted early and prevent issues from developing down the line.

If you need some servicing for your car, we’ve got everything you need right here.

These aren’t everything you can do to improve fuel economy but they’re a good start and something you can easily stay on top of and practice everyday.
If you’re looking for more useful tips, or just some light reading to pass the time, check out the rest of our “How To:” series here.