How to increase fuel economy

Using common sense behind the wheel is definitely the best way to save money at the pump. If you drive carefully and maintain your vehicle, and your wallet will thank you.

Every vehicle has a posted fuel economy – the number of kilometers per litre that it is supposed to get. However, actually achieving that number depends on how you drive and how you treat your vehicle. If you want to improve your fuel efficiency, there are a number of steps you can take.

Keep Your Vehicle Maintained

Did you know that putting off a tune-up can cost you three to five kilometres-per-litre of fuel economy? Dirty, thin oil allows friction to build up between the moving parts, causing your engine to work harder to overcome the excess heat that results. Changing your oil at the proper intervals not only will extend the life of your engine, it also will extend the distance that you can travel on a litre of fuel.

Spark plugs and wires also contribute to your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. A spark plug that isn’t firing at full capacity won’t allow the engine to properly combust all of the fuel being injected into the engine cylinders. That unburned fuel will be exhausted through the tailpipe, and the engine will have to use more fuel to compensate for the reduced energy that’s being produced.

Air filters are also important because they regulate the amount of air flowing into the engine for the combustion cycle. If the air filter is dirty or clogged less air will get through. This also will cause the engine to work harder in order to compensate for the reduced energy being produced, resulting in more fuel being used to make power.

Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires

If your tires are underinflated, the loose rubber causes extra resistance against the road, making the engine work harder to turn the tires. The engine has to burn extra fuel to fight against the resistance and turn the tires.

To prevent this, simply pick up a tire gauge at your local auto parts store and check the tire pressure once a month. The correct tire pressure is stamped into the sidewall of the tire, and keeping them properly inflated can give you several extra kilometers from every litre of fuel.

Adjust Your Driving

How you use the gas pedal is the biggest factor in how much fuel your vehicle consumes. When you constantly speed-up and slow-down, the engine has to burn more gas to get the vehicle back up to speed. Driving at a constant speed uses less fuel because the engine stays at a steady RPM. Using the cruise control also helps to keep the engine turning at a consistent speed, saving you money on long distance journeys.

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