March 9, 2008

Transportation- Fuel Efficient Driving Techniques

Transportation- Fuel Efficient Driving Techniques


When it comes to conserving fuel, it’s not just what you drive, it’s how you drive it. Utilizing a few driving, maintenance and planning tips can help conserve a vast amount of fuel.


Use public transit whenever possible. This will be cheaper than driving everywhere, and it can be much less stressful. Leaving your car at home will have an immediate and direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, a single city bus can take 40 vehicles off the road, save 10,646 litres of fuel, and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 25 tones.

Use car and van pools. An average van pool of seven passengers emits about seven times less pollution per mile than drive-alone commuting.

Avoid Short Trips in the car. Trips of less than five kilometers generally do not allow the engine to reach its peak operating temperature, meaning fuel consumption and exhaust emissions will be significantly higher.

Plan your trip, whether you are going across town or across the country. Try to combine several errands in one outing, and plan your route to avoid heavy traffic areas, road construction, hilly terrain, etc. With a little organization, you can group your "town tasks" into fewer trips, saving you time and fuel expense.

Avoid aggressive driving. "Jack-rabbit" starts and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%. Tests show that "jackrabbit" starts and hard braking reduces travel time by only four percent, while toxic emissions were more than five times higher. The proper way is to accelerate slowly and smoothly, then get into high gear as quickly as possible. In city driving, nearly 50% of the energy needed to power your car goes to acceleration.

Drive steadily at posted speed limits. increasing your highway cruising speed from 55mph (90km/h) to 75mph (120km/h) can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%.

Avoid idling your vehicle. Idling wastes fuel, gets you nowhere and produces unnecessary greenhouse gases. If you're going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds, except in traffic, turn off the engine

Make sure your tires are properly inflated to prevent increased rolling resistance. Under-inflated tires can cause fuel consumption to increase by as much as 6%. Operating a vehicle with just one tire under-inflated by 40 kPa can reduce the life of the tire by 10,000 km and increase the vehicle's fuel consumption by three per cent.

Select the right gear. Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible without accelerating harder than necessary. Driving in a gear lower than you need wastes fuel.

Use your air conditioner sparingly. Using a vehicle’s air conditioner on a hot summer day can increase fuel consumption as much as 10% in city driving. If it’s cool enough, use the flow-through ventilation on your car instead of the air conditioner.

Use the cruise control. On long stretches of highway driving, cruise control can save fuel by helping your car maintain a steady speed.

Choose the octane fuel which best suits your car. Premium, high-octane fuels aren't necessarily the best choice for your car; higher price doesn't guarantee better performance.

Service your vehicle regularly. A poorly tuned engine can use up to 50% more fuel and produces up to 50% more emissions than one that is running properly.

Change filters. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10% increase in fuel consumption.

Shut off all power-consuming accessories before turning off the ignition. That way, you decrease engine load the next time you start up. Items that plug into your vehicle's cigarette lighter, such as TV consoles for mini-vans and SUVs, can cause the alternator to work harder to provide electrical current.

Reduce weight and drag. Out on the open highway, keep windows rolled up to reduce drag. Remove bicycle and ski racks when not in use. Excess weight also uses more fuel. Remove unnecessary items from inside the vehicle, trunk or truck bed. An extra 100lbs (48 kg) of weight can increase your fuel bill by 2%.

Use a block heater when the winter temperature drops to -20°C or below. A block heater keeps your engine oil and coolant warm, which makes the vehicle easier to start and can reduce winter fuel consumption by as much as 10%.


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