The ongoing supply chain problems in the form of inflation, supply chain issues, and geopolitical conflict within Ukraine have been a factor in causing gasoline prices to increase across the globe. In the United States, a gallon of regular gasoline costs around four dollars, up 18% since February 2022 (via CNN). This rise is caused by a number of European countries cutting connections to Russian-supplied oil addition, it is reported that the Biden administration has been trying to negotiate new trade agreements with other oil producers such as Iran as well as Venezuela to cover the difference and bring down fuel price (via Wall Street Journal). But, we could still be paying a high price for fuel in the months ahead.
With record fuel costs drivers are more focused on efficiency than in previous years. The purchase of an electric or hybrid car could be the best solution to ease the anxiety, however, a brand new vehicle requires a significant amount of money upfront, particularly since supplies have been extremely limited in the last couple of months (via and Driver). and Driver). Prices for used cars are rising and many motorists may find it difficult to make an investment of this magnitude. There are however some strategies that drivers can employ to increase the efficiency of their current car, and we’ll discuss them in this article.
Take it easy when you’re putting the accelerator down.
The name suggests that pressing the gas pedal in your car makes use of a lot of gas. Pushing it further will require more. In instances where fast acceleration is not required, slowly press the throttle while you are moving away from stop stops to ensure your engine operates running at the highest efficiency of speed. It is estimated that the EPA as well as the Department of Energy estimate that this method can consume as much as 40percent less gas when moving. If your vehicle comes with manual transmissions, you should consider changing to a lower RPM and using the top gear as often as you can (via Engineering Explained).
According to the EPA states, the majority of automobiles are operating at around 50 miles per hour at top speed. If speed is increased beyond the limit, aerodynamic drag reduces the return on the power of the engine. A 2017 study published by the Department of Energy tested a variety of 74 vehicles and discovered that they consumed on average 12.4 percent more fuel at 60 mph than 50 mph. In addition, speeding up to 80 mph could result in an increase of 40% in efficiency, meaning that it is a costly habit to speed.
Eliminate drag & weight
Aerodynamic friction is among the biggest natural obstacles to efficiency. The fewer drag vehicles have the less it has to do to speed up and maintain their speed and save fuel. Modern cars are made as aerodynamic as is possible and make some compromises regarding the dimensions of the cabin as well as ride height and the safety of passengers (via Edmunds). Drivers aren’t usually able to change the form of their vehicle to reduce drag, however, there are a few small adjustments that can be made in this area.
The first step is to remove any of the auto’s exterior accessories like roof racks and tow mirrors when they are not being used. Anything that extends the vehicle’s body can cause drag. It is estimated that the EPA estimates that leaving a roof rack in place could cause an increase of 25% in the amount of fuel consumed at highway speeds. The windows being closed can affect aerodynamic drag. For pickups, putting the clamshell cover with a hard surface or a camper top over the cargo bed may reduce drag by about 1%, and can lead to fuel savings when you are cruising (via Motor Trend).
Check to see the presence of any large objects that are weighing down the vehicle. Older or power tools, as well as boxes, can be taken out which would reduce the vehicle’s weight and efficiency. Based on the EPA 100 pounds extra on your vehicle will result in the use of about 1 percent more fuel and the impact is greater for smaller vehicles.
Be aware of the maintenance
A vehicle that is well-maintained will operate efficiently and also generally run better. Particularly, be sure that you change your engine’s filters and oil at the intervals that are recommended by the manufacturer or by the car’s onboard computer. The presence of old oil in an engine can cause an increase in friction within the engine that can cause a decrease in efficiency and ultimately lead to components failing. Be sure to make use of the right oil viscosity that is specified by your producer (via EPA).
It’s also crucial to have the vehicle’s electronic sensors regularly examined and replaced as necessary. A defective engine sensor could result in an incorrect quantity of air and fuel mixture, resulting in a decrease in inefficiency. For example, the EPA declares that a malfunctioning O2 sensor can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 40 percent. The components of the fuel system, such as injectors, pumps, and spark plugs need to be kept in good working order to ensure maximum mileage for your vehicle (via Cars Direct).
Another aspect to consider tires. They’ll be most effective when they are inflated according to in accordance with the specifications set by the manufacturer in the event that they’re well-groomed. The EPA declares that “Under-inflated tires could reduce the mileage of gas by around 0.2 percent for each percent drop in the average tire pressure.” Incorrect pressure can cause uneven and premature tread wear, which can cost you more dollars. If the tread on a tire is worn to a depth of 1/32 of an inch, it is recommended to replace it at the earliest time is possible (via Tire Rack.)
Be prepared for cold and hot weather
Extreme temperatures can negatively impact the fuel efficiency of vehicles. In the summertime air conditioning can use up lots of fuel because the compressor is typically operated directly from the engine. It is estimated that the EPA estimates that operating the A/C could use approximately 25% of the fuel driving. The windows of the car that are closed will be much more effective than air conditioning when at lower speeds, but it can increase aerodynamic drag when driving at high speeds.
In colder seasons the engine fluids become thicker and the vehicle will take longer to get to operating temperature. This causes friction to increase which reduces efficiency. Tires are prone to slide across snow and ice, which consumes more fuel. In addition, the cold air particles are placed closer together in comparison to warmer ones which results in aerodynamic drag. As per the EPA, “a conventional gasoline vehicle’s fuel consumption is approximately 15% lower when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit than it is at 77 degrees F.” If you are in cold or hot conditions, parking a vehicle in a garage that is covered can reduce the negative consequences. There’s less requirement for air conditioning in the summer months, as well as the vehicle will have the ability to operate at a higher temperature more quickly in winter.
Consolidate trips to avoid idling
Combining errands and carpooling can be extremely beneficial on efficiency since making two trips into one will effectively cut down on fuel consumption. However, it does need some planning to be successful (via EPA.) The reduced mileage will reduce use and wear on the vehicle’s components. It is also worth considering scheduling your travels at times that aren’t busy to avoid the congestion of stop-and-go traffic. In 2007 The University of Dresden conducted research that showed that vehicles use up to 80percent more fuel in congestion compared to free-flowing streets. This is due to cars “idling” at stoplights which is basically burning fuel with no return.
After 30 minutes of idle, the car could burn as much as a half-gallon of fuel (via NY DOT). If you’re stuck in drive-throughs or parking lots for more than a couple of minutes, think about shutting down the engine in order to save the amount of fuel. In certain states, it’s unlawful to keep your vehicle idle and unoccupied (via NCSL). A lot of newer cars have included auto stop-stop functions which stop and restart the engine at stops, which saves fuel while reducing emissions from the tailpipe (via AutoWeek).