Seven Driving Habits that will Help You Save on Fuel & Increase Gas Mileage


An image of a car's open fuel tank

The cost of transport has been rising steeply over the past few years as a consequence of high global oil prices. As a result, transport has become one of the highest expenses for families and businesses. With the perpetual traffic snarl-ups that characterize most roads, you have to dig deeper into your pocket to meet transport costs.

Some people have even stopped using personal cars on week-days, only driving them on the weekends because of escalating fuel prices.

This shouldn't be the case: your car should not be a source of financial distress if you bought it with the aim of improving your personal or business life. Whether you drive a small car or a high-capacity commercial vehicle, it's possible to squeeze more distance from each litre of fuel :)

You don't require to make any changes to your car's engine. The secret is to change your driving habits that can cut your monthly fuel budget by 25%. The trick is simple; stop revving too much, reduce your braking, stay alert and anticipate but don't compete with other people on the road.

Here are some fuel saving tips:

#1. Avoid Unnecessary Braking
The more you brake, the faster your brake pads wear out and the more the fuel you use. The start/stop mode of driving keeps interrupting the momentum of your car, meaning that you have to re-build it a-new to get back to a good cruising speed.

If you let go of the accelerator pedal, the car will automatically slow down, but re-building the momentum will be easier than when you brake and the car comes to a complete stop.

For instance, if you're driving at 80 kilometers per hour, the car will have gathered enough momentum to maintain the speed over a long distance by just resting your foot on the accelerator pedal. Braking kills the momentum and a lot of fuel is consumed to increase the speed.

Breaking frequently wears out your pads faster because they have to absorb more heat. This has a direct impact on the amount of money you spend servicing your car since you have to change the pads every now and then.

#2. Drive with Anticipation
Anticipation skills are crucial to smart driving. A good driver should be able to anticipate what might happen next to make informed decisions. This can be done simply by observing your peers on the road and learning their techniques.

This way, you can make correct decisions on whether to continue pressing the accelerator or start braking.

Drivers who drive without anticipating are those who will apply emergency brakes several times on one ride to avoid hitting the car in front or a bump. This increases your car expenses through increased fuel consumption and the amount of money going into repairing your car.

To improve anticipation on the road, you need to be aware of what is happening around you. You should constantly be scanning the road ahead and checking your side mirror.

#3. Keep a good driving posture
The posture you take when driving has a direct implication on your efficiency on the road. You should sit in such a position that makes you access the pedals, gear shift stick, and steering wheel without straining.

Sitting in an uncomfortable position weakens your alertness and compromises decision-making, which is an integral part of smooth driving. In some cases, this may result in an accident.

The posture should also allow you to clearly see ahead so as to calculate your moves intelligently. This will guide you on when to let go of the accelerator pedal and when to start slowing down to avoid emergency braking.

#4. Switch off the Engine in Traffic Jams
A running engine consumes fuel even when the car is not in motion. If you're caught up in one of the many rush hour traffic jams, idling the engine or completely switching it off will save you a significant amount of fuel.

Sometimes you may spend many hours in the same position or just move 10 metres. Instead of keeping the engine running all this while, switching it off will save you a reasonable amount of fuel and give your car a deserved rest.

#5. Maintain a Good Following Distance
A good distance between your car and the one ahead is important because it allows you time to think and make a sound decisions.

When you see the brake light of the car in front of you, it is a sign that you should slow down. This allows time to let the car to reduce speed without using the brakes. Ideally, you should only use your brakes to stop the car, not to slow it down. But this is only possible if the decision is made in good time.

#6. Service your Car on Time
Many car a owners have the habit of postponing taking their car for service in the name of attending to more urgent needs. Not servicing your car in time decreases the engine's efficiency, which may reflect in the increased fuel consumption. The best thing is to make sure your car is serviced at the right time. This will also reduces the chances of an accident.

#7. Go easy on the Accelerator
However far your destination, you don't have to get to the 100kph mark on your speedometer in just 50 meters. Cost-efficient driving requires that you allow the car to build a momentum without pushing too hard on the accelerator pedal.

You can build up to a high speed and save fuel by gently pressing the pedal.

If you're driving a manual car, you need to know when to engage which gear according to the anticipated speed. If you're speeding on slow gear, you end up using a lot more fuel than a person who is driving at the same speed but in a faster gear. For an automatic car, a gradual increase allows the computer to change the gears easily, which enhances fuel consumption efficiency.
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