Improving your Fuel Economy

Motoring corner With Carlover In this age and time, one of the most costly items on your vehicle is the fuel that you consume in order to get that vehicle moving from place to place.  Going by the amount you spend on this single item, you might get surprised as to how big a percentage this is in relation to other expenses.
Manage your fuel costs. Net photo.
Manage your fuel costs. Net photo.

Motoring corner With Carlover

In this age and time, one of the most costly items on your vehicle is the fuel that you consume in order to get that vehicle moving from place to place.  Going by the amount you spend on this single item, you might get surprised as to how big a percentage this is in relation to other expenses.

They used to say that there are two things in life that are for sure - taxes and death. Not, anymore. There are three things. Taxes, death and the cost of petrol spiralling forever upwards. If you can increase or improve your kilometres per litre, then you are smart enough to manage life. Better fuel economy = more money in your bank account. Fuel economy can be achieved through a combination of measures!

It seems obvious but a lot of people just don’t know how to measure their average fuel mileage. Fuel economy is a total mystery to them. So bear with me - I realise to a lot of you this is the age-old adage of teaching you to suck eggs.

 So - a lot of cars nowadays have a KPL (kilometres per litre) or MPG (miles per gallon) readout that you can select from their onboard computer. Whilst these are useful, they do tend to be a bit optimistic. Some on-board mpg displays tend to over-read by about 7%. Not much but enough to give you a skewed view of reality.

So how do you measure your average mpg? It’s easy. You need to start with a full tank and always fill your tank to the point where the pump cuts off. It’s painful to your wallet, especially at today’s prices, but it’s the best chance you have. So first - fill up. Fill your car to the point where the pump cuts off and zero your trip counter.

Now you know you’re starting from a ‘full’ tank. I say full because each car has a different amount of dead space at the top of the tank and in the fuel filler neck, but if you let the pump cut off on its own each time, it will generally fill to around the same level each time.

Next time you fill up, again fill the tank to the pump cutoff and importantly, make a note of the number of litres or gallons you put in, and the trip counter reading. Divide one by the other and you get either miles per gallon (mpg) or km per litre. Zero the trip counter again and keep a note of the mpg calculation.
Each time you fill up, fill it to the pump cutoff, and make a note of the amount that went in and the trip counter reading, calculating your mpg or litres per km each time. Once you have four or five calculations, you can start to figure out your running average using some simple arithmetic.

One of the first things that people think of once they think they’re getting bad fuel mileage, is buying a new car - not necessarily brand new - perhaps a more fuel-efficient used one or even a hybrid. But be careful - you have to do your homework here.

Take into account how much you could sell your existing car for and how much you’re going to pay for the new one. It’s important because generally speaking, going this route will normally result in a net loss - you’ll end up losing money unless you keep the new car for 5 years or more. Better fuel economy will mean that the day-to-day running expenses will be less once you’ve got the new car.

But think about it - the initial outlay to swap cars will likely be huge. So then you’re left with the other option - getting better mpg out of your existing car. In order of ease-of-attainability then, the carbibles.com ten tips for better gas mileage!  (To Be Continued)

 

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