Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fuel saving Tips from First Gear

First gear, a recently launched book by Ford aimed at providing safety, fuel saving and eco tips to first time car buyers, offers lot of tips which are useful even to the experienced drivers. Below I'm listing some tips which help saving fuel- sourced from First gear and based on the Driving Skills for Life training initiative undertaken by Ford.

Fuel Saving tips:
While driving downhill, driving in Neutral doesn't save any fuel. When in neutral, vehicle will be idling and pistons will be moving. Driving in appropriate gear will be the more efficient option.

Asked the trainers why there're no sensors and gadgets to indicate low tyre pressure (There seems to be sensors and dashboard indicator for almost everything else). Trainers told me that though technology is available to monitor tyre pressure and alert the driver, it is very expensive at this stage to include in everyday cars. After market equipment are also available which can monitor tyre pressure. A more viable approach is to  check tyre pressures once a week manually.

Spare wheel can loose air more rapidly than the wheels which are in use. Strange but true, since wheels which are in use are subjected to compression.

Trainers told it is more advisable to drive full tank, when I presented them with 2 options. Option 1: Do a full tank, drive whole month without re-fuelling again (you save additional trips to fuel station, but have to drive with extra weight of fuel all through the month) Option 2: Fill up say just about 10 litres, visit fuel station again, say 4-5 times a month. Another caution was not to use up reserve and top up before that. When in reserve, all dirt and sediments which have accumulated at the bottom of the tank will be stirred up and might get sucked into the engine.

First gear book says "Buying Fuel in the morning won't save anything". It is believed that density will be higher in the morning due to low temperature. But the book claims since underground fuel tanks are well insulated, effect of outside temperature on them is negligible. I believe we can still prevent save some evaporation while fuel nozzle is exposed.

Do switch off the engine if stopping for more than 20 seconds. Life of starter motor won't get reduced because of frequent start/stop. Every 3 minutes of idling consumes same fuel as it takes to cover 1 km at 50kmph

The trainer shared an experience from South Africa-Owners of SUV would complain about low fuel efficiency. When inspected, this is what engineers found: Owners would make weekend trips and store lot of materials on rooftop- tents, cycles and other materials. Once back, they are too lazy to remove the extra load and all through the week, they drive to work with extra load on roof. Extra baggage on roof increases drag and increases fuel consumption. Unload unnecessary weight- either in boot or on rooftop.

Aftermarket roof top racks increase drag and reduce fuel efficiency. Learn to unscrew them, so that they can be fitted only when really needed

Riding in right gear is important. We're told to shift to 5th gear for 50kmph and above. Most of the cars won't have pull in 5th gear for 50kmph. 4th is most likely, with 5th gear ideal for 80 and above. But again, this is dependent on vehicle and driver dynamics.

High Octane petrol (Speed and Extra Premium etc) is practically useless. Since engines are not designed to take advantage of extra octanes, it is just waste of money buying that fuel. Ordinary petrol and diesel would do just fine.

Read about Safety tips


Spark said...

Nice post... thanks for sharing..

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Used RVs said...

Very interesting points in your blog it sure cleared many questions that I may have had. I loved it because I did learn a lot from it because of it.

Savings Accounts said...

During times when the economy is headed into a downward spiral, it is even more necessary to learn how to save money. However, saving under such circumstances can prove to be quite challenging.

Anonymous said...

The best way to save fuel cost is by sharing office rides with colleagues. There are free carpool matching services like which are only for working professionals !