I am sure that with a country obsessed with mileage, people would be hell bent on extracting the last meter out of the last drop of fuel. But then they do forget that fuel economy depends on a variety of factors like the engine configuration, power of the car or bike, the way it is driven/ridden, maintenance, air pressure and many more. Been driving and riding since the last 8 years, I have actually come across many scenarios wherein I have had to push my bike to the fuel pump or even ask friends or fellow road users to get my car to the roadside. Nothing can be more disturbing than this and especially when you have a femme fatale besides you. But then I have learnt some important lessons from those experiences. As a responsible automotive writer, I have conjoured up the list of things to watch out for and in the process save a few liters of fuel.
Hot things expand and colder things contract is something which we all have been taught in schools or colleges. The same principle applies to a vehicle’s tyres. I am sure that most of the readers rarely take a look at the tyre unless the tyre is punctured. It would be best to fill up air or nowadays nitrogen when your car or bike’s tyres are hot. This would ensure that they aren’t under inflated or over inflated, both which are detrimental to tyre life. Under inflation would give you better handling whereas over inflation gives better mileage. Running the correct recommended pressure ensures that the vehicle is running at optimum level supporting both and also the tyre life is enhanced.
Another scientific term but then it is necessary to explain the reason for filling up fuel early in the morning. It is called as Specific Gravity. If its high, it means that you get slightly more quantity of fuel at the same price. In the morning, fuel has slightly higher specific gravity than what it would have in the afternoon or evening. At the same time, when you fill in the required fuel, ensure that you maintain atleast half the capacity of fuel that can be filled in the tank. This is to ensure that the fuel tank doesn’t rust (in case of bikes) and also an appropriate pressure is maintained. Also if there is always less fuel in your vehicle, it would lead to the fuel lines or the injector to be clogged with slow flowing fuel. Actually slow flowing fuel produces a gum like substance which clogs up the carburettors or injectors leading to a higher fuel consumption.
If the manufacturer recommends use of higher octane fuel, then do use it. Premium fuels have some additives added to them to make sure that the engine can always maintain the required high compression ratio. Some manufacturers however dissuade you from putting in premium fuel like Toyota used to do with the early Corollas. But then if the manufacturer doesn’t recommend, it is advisable not to use premium fuel. Also fill from a reputed fuel pump. If you live in a city and are going to a long trip to a village side area where you aren’t sure of the fuel quality, then it is better to tank up before going there.
Cleaning of your vehicle weekly is recommended since all those dirt and grime adds to extra weight which the vehicle has to overcome if it has to gain motion. Do remember to get the vehicle serviced periodically or as recommended by the manufacturer. This would ensure that the vehicle is running in its prime. Get all the fluids topped up in the vehicle to ensure maximum lubrication and less friction thus increasing the fuel economy.
Always ride at a smooth clip. Never try to overtake unless you are sure there is no more traffic which is going to come your way. Always try to shift to a higher gear only when you are sure that it can remain so for a fair amount of time. It has been widely seen that the moment you start from the first gear, people start changing to higher gear without looking at the situation ahead. Even if you drive your car or ride your bike in 1st gear in heavy traffic you aren’t wasting as much fuel as say someone who is constantly fluctuating from 1st to 2nd and vice-versa. This has other detrimental effects (for the 1st to 2nd types) with the clutch tending to pack up sooner than expected. Moreover it also puts pressure on the braking system and wears out the pads prematurely.
Turn off the ignition if the traffic light is going to stay put for more than 30 seconds. Before this interval if you turn off your car or bike, then you would be burning more fuel than saving. Moreover, avoid riding the clutch under all circumstances except for when the situation demands it. For cars, try sticking to the 60-80 kmph speed limit and with all the windows closed. Open windows take in more air thus inducing more of a drag coefficient than closed ones. With a closed window and the AC on, you would be achieving the same mileage as an open window car at the same speed. So you decide which one is better? It is also recommended that you avoid sudden braking or acceleration. While at top speeds, it is advisable to ease the pressure off the accelerator in case of cars and the throttle in case of bikes. The car or bike would be able to maintain momentum for some time and during all this time, it would be in cruise mode. This means less fuel is been consumed than when you constantly have your hand or leg on the accelerator. Also use both the clutch as well as brakes to stop the vehicle.