Here are some effective ways to stretch your petrol dollar.
Crude oil prices may have plunged to a record low in recent months, but petrol prices here are still quite substantial. Fortunately, there are easy ways you can stretch your petrol dollar.
1 Keep your tyres properly inflated
Maintain tyre pressure at the figure recommended by the manufacturer to maximise fuel efficiency. Deflated tyres lead to increased rolling resistance, which in turn raises petrol consumption. They are also compromise safety as they may wear out more quickly and weaken the car’s grip on the road.
Car tyres lose an average of about one psi in pressure per month due to various reasons, such as temperature change, or from hitting holes and bumps while driving on the road. It is recommended that you check your tyres at least once a month to ensure that it is properly inflated.
2 Service your car regularly
According to the National Environment Agency, a poorly maintained vehicle can use up to 15% more petrol. Factors such as clogged engine air filters or even dirty spark plugs can increase your petrol consumption significantly. Clogged engine air filters restrict airflow to the engine, while spark plugs that are dirty or worn down will work less efficiently.
Service your car regularly to optimise petrol economy and ensure its reliability. In between servicing, do regular checks on your air filters, tyre pressure, and fluid levels.
3 Drive sensibly
Driving at a steady speed will help your car’s fuel efficiency. Avoid sudden bursts of acceleration and hard braking as these can cause your car to suffer as much as a 10% drop in fuel efficiency. On the expressway, a cruising speed between 80 and 90km/h is ideal to achieve maximum fuel efficiency. Use cruise control, if available, to help you maintain a constant speed. Practise good driving habits, such as keeping a safe driving distance from other vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions: these will add to your car’s mileage.
4 Lessen the load
Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in your car. It is estimated that, on average, every additional 50kg in your car will increase petrol consumption by about 2%. So leave those golf clubs at home if you are not heading for the greens. You should also resist the urge to modify the exterior of your car. Adding items, such as roof racks, spoilers and wings, increases the wind resistance and makes your car work harder on the roads.
5 Cultivate smart habits
Fill up the tank before it is down to half full. Your car may be less efficient when the tank is near empty, as more air in the tank can increase fuel evaporation. Plan ahead so you don’t waste petrol. Always work out the shortest route, use traffic updates to avoid traffic jams, and use your GPS to avoid getting lost. If your car is coming to a standstill for an extended period of time, stop the engine to minimise petrol wastage — leaving your engine idling for more than a minute consumes more petrol than restarting your engine.