Reduce your fuel consumption and you save money. Plus it’s kinder to the environment. One way to achieve this is by choosing the correct, most-economical vehicle for your needs in the first place. But you can also achieve significant improvements in fuel efficiency and economy by how you drive and look after your car - as much as 30% if you really try.
Keep your load down
Carrying anything around in your vehicle that you don’t really need is just wasting money. Fuel consumption increases by about 2% for every 50kg you carry, so check your boot - even the glove box - clear out any clutter and leave it at home.
Your Hyundai has been aerodynamically optimised by some of the world’s best car designers in one of the most sophisticated wind-tunnel facilities on the planet. Compromising that aerodynamic efficiency will push up fuel consumption. Take off roof racks. And, while leaving the window down can avoid using the A/C (which boosts fuel consumption), any savings can be lost through aerodynamic drag. Windows down at low speed is okay, but not at highway speeds.
Watch your air con
Air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by up to 10%. Use it only when needed rather than as a kind of default setting. Other powered features, such as the rear window demist, also consume fuel, so make sure you switch them off when they’ve done their job.
Maintain top efficiency
A little love goes a long way. Keeping your tyres at the right pressure improves fuel efficiency, as does checking your wheel alignment, engine timing, air filter and spark plugs regularly.
Perhaps the simplest way to save fuel is to reduce your speed. And it’s safer. Driving at 110km/h uses roughly 13% more fuel than driving at 100km/h.
Look ahead and anticipate
Every time you brake, the momentum you’ve built up using expensive fuel is literally burned up as heat. If you look ahead, plan your driving and anticipate what is going to happen, you’ll avoid getting on the throttle and then on the brake so often. Imagine letting the car coast down to a lower speed naturally, while being ready to smoothly apply just enough power to get back to cruising speed again.
Hard, fast acceleration with high revs uses more fuel than getting up to speed smoothly. Select the right gears to keep the engine in the part of its rev-range with the most torque, avoid high revs and apply just enough throttle. In an automatic, keep the gear selector in ‘economy’ mode. Also, don’t accelerate so much that you have to brake again.
If you’re going to be stationary for more than 30 seconds, switch off the engine. There’s also no need to warm up a modern engine by idling before you begin your journey. Just take off gently and avoid any high revs until the temperature gauge has risen to Normal.
Avoid short trips
Short trips have a significant impact on fuel efficiency. You use 20 percent more fuel driving when your engine is cold.
Do you need to drive?
Could you walk, cycle, or take public transport rather than using the car? If you need to use the car, plan your journey. Picking up groceries and other items on the way home saves taking the car out later.
Test your savings
If you want to know just how much of an improvement you’re making to your car’s fuel economy, you need to have a starting point. So. before you make any changes, check your fuel consumption.
Stop at the servo and either reset your trip meter or make a note of the vehicle kilometres. Make sure you’ll be putting in a reasonable amount of fuel - preferably more than half a tank - as it tends to be more accurate that way. Then fill the car up. You don’t have to fill it to the brim, just until the pump clicks off is fine.
Drive around as normal until your fuel gauge is roughly where it was before the last fill-up, then head back to the servo. Make note of how many kilometres you’ve travelled then fill the tank exactly as you did last time. Now you have the distance travelled and the fuel used.
Simply divide the number of litres used by the distance you travelled, then multiply by 100. Let’s say you used 30 litres and covered 500 kilometres, 30 divided by 500 is 0.06. Mutiply by 100 makes it 6.0. So your fuel consumption is 6.0 litres/100km. Not bad.
Fill the tank again, apply some of the advice above, then when you head back to the servo for the third time you’ll be able to see exactly how much difference it makes.