Getting that fuel to last longer
(The world record holders – photo from www.fuelchallenge.com)
I have been using the Shell Super (with the Fuel Economy Formula) for the last 2 full tank fill up and I must say that I was impressed on how far I can stretch the mileage with fuel (with my kind of driving skills). In my last fill, I made some rough calculation on how much I stretched the fuel:-
Total kilometers: 303 kilometers
Total fuel: 33.85 liters
Kilometers per liter: 9.70 (it used to be 10.00 when I just bought the car and there were less traffic jam then)
9.70 kilometers per liter was still better than the brand of fuel that I have used although my colleagues have a different opinion on this. Comparing that statistics with that of John Taylor & Helen Taylor who won the world record for fuel economy, it seems like I have a long way to go:-
Total kilometers: 28,970 kilometers
Total fuel: 1,303 liters
Kilometers per liter: 22.2 (the highest was 25.6 whilst the lowest was 22.2)
22.2 kilometers per liter – that is impressive indeed. Actually, Shell is not the only company that is claiming that their fuel can give you more mileage. So, does the other petroleum companies including our very own Petronas.
For those who have visited Shell lately or being following up on the challenge, the tips on how they managed to stretch their mileage is nothing new. It has been repeated in many motoring magazines and websites but it worth running through the list again (I need to run through it myself):-
Drive smoothly – Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel than safe driving. Avoid accelerating or braking too hard and try to keep your steering as smooth as possible.
Use higher gears – The higher gear you drive in the lower your engine speed is, which can improve fuel efficiency. So change up a gear whenever you can, without laboring the engine.
Tune and service your engine – A well tuned engine can improve fuel economy by up to 4%, so change your oil and follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on servicing.
Keep your tires at the right pressure – Correctly inflated tires are safer and last longer. A tire that is under inflated by just 1psi can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3%. An under or over inflated tire is also more susceptible to failing.
Avoid carrying excess weight – For every extra 100 lbs (45 kg) you carry your fuel efficiency can drop by 1-2%. So keep your boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle.
Keep the windows closed – Wind blowing through an open window will slow you down. To compensate, you may put your foot down harder, using more fuel.
Take the roof rack off – If you’re not using your roof rack then remove it. They affect the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle and create drag, reducing fuel economy by as much as 5%.
Use the correct oil – Always use the recommended grade of motor oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant can improve fuel efficiency by 1-2%. Higher quality motor oils can also help your engine operate more efficiently.
Use cruise control – Using cruise control on major roads helps you maintain a constant speed and, in many cases, will improve fuel consumption.
Avoid excess idling – Idling gets you nowhere but still burns fuel. Turn the engine off when you’re in a queue, or waiting for someone, until you need it.
Plan trips carefully – Cutting down on the time spent in the car is the easiest way to conserve fuel. To reduce driving time, combine all your short trips and errands into a single journey.
Avoid over revving – Change gear in good time when you pull away or when you’re accelerating. Never ‘redline’ the rev counter.
Avoid high speeds – The faster you go the more wind resistance you’ll encounter and the more fuel your vehicle will consume just to maintain speed. Driving just 5mph over the speed limit can affect fuel economy by up to 23%.
Use air conditioning sparingly – Air conditioning puts added strain on the engine and uses fuel to operate, so limit use to particularly hot or cold days. On temperate days use the fan instead.
Check the air filters – Air filters keep impurities from damaging your engine. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve fuel economy by as much as 10% and will help protect your engine.
Avoid rush hour – If you can travel outside of peak times, you’ll spend less time stuck in traffic and consume less fuel as a result.
Conserve momentum – Instead of coasting when you reach a downward slope, maintain steady engine revs. This will mean you pick up speed, and if you’ve then got a hill to climb, it gives you considerable added momentum to help go up it, energy efficiently.
Check the seal on your fuel cap is airtight – Fuel evaporates every time you open the fuel cap. To stop this, prefer larger fills as opposed to repeatedly topping up your tank.
Keep calm – When you’re not calm, you’re more likely to make error of judgments. Fuel efficiency is all about smoothness, and keeping calm is absolutely crucial to achieve fuel economy. The Taylors claim this is one of the biggest single thing they’ve learned during the course of this trip.
Headwinds – When you’re faced with a headwind, the engine has to work much harder to cover the same distance because of the drag. The only thing to do is to moderate your speed to ensure that the engine doesn’t end up laboring too hard.
By the way, do you want to know how fuel efficient your driving is? Take the Shell’s Fuel Stretch Challenge to find out (answer 15 questions and check the result at the end).
Mine returned as “on the way to be a gas guzzler”. Sigh
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