How To (Actually) Get Better Fuel Economy
Over time, there has been many crazy ways to save fuel, from 'magic' electronic devices to Peter Brock's crystal ‘Energy Polariser’ (a box of healing crystals famously placed under the bonnet of some Holden race cars); But there are some simple tips and tricks to saving fuel that can save you hundreds of dollars over time that you don’t need to join a cult to benefit from.
Checking your tyre pressures and wheel alignment.
While it might seem a bit far-fetched to many people, checking your tyre pressures and wheel alignment can make a huge difference in how your car drives and how much fuel you use. This is because setting your tyres to the right pressure reduces the drag or friction between the road and your car.
Make sure you have the right oil in your car.
This is another one of those small things in your car which can make a major difference over time, making sure to check what type of oil is being used by your mechanic. A thicker oil is harder for the motor to push around and can reduce your fuel economy by 1L/100km quite easily.
Be mindful though, and have a conversation with your mechanic, as sometimes a thicker oil can actually be beneficial to your car as, when a car ages, the motor can sometimes need a thicker oil to protect it from extra wear and to help the internals stay healthy.
Though it might seem counter-intuitive, accelerating quickly and then changing into the highest possible gear is often recommended by manufacturers (such as Volvo) to increase your fuel economy. A general guide is to use half throttle to accelerate up to speed and then shift into or allow the transmission to shift into the highest gear possible.
This isn’t just better for your economy, but it’s also way more fun.
Don’t use cruise control.
This might be the most painful item on our list, but it also makes a has a big impact if you’re driving in hilly countryside. Cruise control in modern cars has gotten smarter and smarter, to the point that most modern cars can speed up and brake to match the car in front. But cruise control is still a dumb system in many ways, as it can’t see the road ahead.
As you’re driving, often you can see a hill coming up or a decent ahead, which means you can plan for what’s coming ahead. Because cruise control can’t see the road though, it has to make decisions to speed up or slow down based on what has already happened. This means that as the engine has to work harder to get back to the speed you were already at, causing poor fuel economy.
While there is many other things that can make a difference to your fuel economy overall, these are some of the simplest things that you can do to save money over time.