How to improve your car's fuel efficiency
Of the many upcoming films announced this month, perhaps the biggest one for action fans and petrolheads is the announcement of a new Mad Max film.
For those who have never seen a Mad Max movie, the basic premise is as follows:
Set in a dystopian future Australia, the original trio of movies starred Mel Gibson as the eponymous Mad Max, a supercop who zooms across the outback in a variety of haggard and rusty rat rods and who loves nothing more than punching crime in the face. Hard.
The latest instalment now features Tom Hardy as Max and is set to be released next summer.
Although the actor may have changed, the basic setting stays the same. In the bleak future world, law and order has begun to break down due to energy shortages and fuel has become a vital and much sought-after commodity.
As a result, motorcycle gangs roam the country and scavenge the lands, battling Max and his fellow Main Force Patrol officers for control of the region and control of the fuel.
We’re not saying that you will end up stuck in a dystopian future, but even if you don’t, fuel shortages and fuel efficiency are nevertheless hot topics at the moment.
Consumer demand for efficiency and alternatively-fuelled vehicles has skyrocketed in the past year, spurred by rising fuel prices.
Due to that, it’s handy to know how to get the most mileage from your tank.
As a result, we’ve compiled a handy list of tips to improve your car’s efficiency, so even if you don’t end up scrapping over fuel with a biker gang, you can still keep some extra change in your pocket.
Make sure your tyres are correctly inflated
It might seem like a small thing, but properly inflated tyres can actually reduce your fuel consumption by up to three per cent.
Typically, your tyres lose around one PSI per month, and when the tyres are cold (for example, in the winter), their pressure will decrease further due to thermal contraction of the air. Likewise, in hot weather, tyre pressure will be affected in the opposite way.
It’s generally recommended that you should check your tyre pressure at least monthly, or preferably weekly. Special attention should be given in extreme weather conditions to ensure your tyres are correctly inflated, and as an added bonus, correct inflation will also help to avoid uneven tread wear.
You should always check your owner’s manual to find out the correct tyre pressure as inflating to the maximum stated on the tyres themselves could pose a risk of a blowout.
Tune up your engine
A correctly tuned and maintained engine will maximise power output and greatly enhance fuel efficiency.
Unless you’re properly qualified, it’s not recommended that you tinker with the engine yourself, however you can contact your local Perrys dealership for a servicing where you can get it seen to by our team of experts.
As well as that, Perrys are offering the special Clean & Fresh detox for your car for a limited time this summer.
The whole service costs only £32.99 and includes a cleanse of your car’s fuel system and an engine flush to vastly improve performance and fuel efficiency, as well as a sprucing up of the air vents.
Each individual treatment can also be picked separately for a lower cost, saving you even more money!
Lighten the load
More weight in your car means more effort on the engine’s part to cart you along and the same speed, and therefore more fuel used in the process.
Weight is one of the biggest causes for loss of kinetic energy and loss of fuel efficiency figures in cars, and it’s therefore a good idea to avoid carrying extra weight wherever possible as just an extra 45kg can increase the fuel your car consumes by as much as two per cent.
Even the smallest changes can make a difference; clearing out the junk in your car or removing child car seats whenever they’re not used, for example.
More extreme measures can be taken if you wish, like removing extra seats that aren’t used if you’re really concerned about increasing your efficiency.
That said, be careful never to remove things from the car that you use frequently or need in the case of an emergency. Spare tyres, while heavy enough, are far more important in your car’s boot than they are at home. After all, you wouldn’t want to get stuck without one on the side of the road…
Plan your journeys in advance
Planning your route can go a long way to increasing your fuel efficiency. Using an application like Google Maps to choose the shortest and most direct route to your destination is always a good idea, as SatNavs don’t necessarily always pick the quickest route.
Choosing routes with the fewest stops and turns, as well as the least traffic will also increase efficiency, as will using straight roads to city streets and country roads wherever possible.
Change your driving style
There are few drivers who take too kindly to being told how to use their own vehicles, however a few helpful tips can go a seriously long way in increasing your car’s fuel efficiency.
Use cruise control. In most situations, using your cruise control reduces fuel consumption by maintaining a constant speed.
Surely the biggest sin when it comes to killing your car’s efficiency is harsh stop/start driving. Accelerating quickly and then braking harshly can spell disaster for your performance figures.
Braking wastes energy from fuel that’s already been burned, while harsh acceleration after braking consumes more fuel than driving at a constant speed due to the engine’s need to combat it’s deceleration.
Likewise, speeding will also seriously damage efficiency. The faster you move, the more ‘solid’ the air becomes around the vehicle.
Travelling at 10mph, the air around your car will be relatively easy to move through, but at speeds of 60mph and over, the air creates the relative resistance of having to drive through custard.
As a result of that, the engine has to work much hard to push your car through the wind and speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 33 per cent or higher.
Finally, keeping engine revs low will further increase fuel efficiency. The higher the revs, the higher the amount of fuel required to power the engine, so it’s worth keeping revs low and selecting an appropriate gear for your speed.