In one of our previous blogs, we discussed the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) regulations/tests which are aimed at making the predicted MPG a reality, now as we discussed there, while this has defiantly made the difference between expected and actual MPG there is still a difference. That’s why, in this blog, I will be giving you 5 tips to increasing your fuel economy and trying to reach the mythological advertised MPG.
Regular maintenance may seem like a simple tip, but when we say maintenance, we don’t just mean making sure you have the correct amount of oil and coolant, but more importantly making sure your tyres are properly inflated.
If tyres are not properly inflated, you are increasing the amount of rolling resistance. The resistance is being caused by the deformation of the tyre when the tyre spins, it’s estimated that for every 2psi your tyre is under-inflated, you lose about 1% of your fuel efficiency. While 1% may not sound like a big difference, let’s say you are 6psi under the manufacturers recommend, you are losing 3% of possible range. If you normally receive 60MPG, you could be losing almost 2MPG (1.8 to be exact).
If you are struggling to find what pressure you should inflate your tyres to, the recommended manufacturers recommendation is often written on the sidewall of the tyre. Failing this a simple Google search of the make and model of your car should give you a good indication of the recommended pressure.
Smooth acceleration and deceleration
Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not about to tell you to drive like an old lady. Rather when we mention smooth acceleration and deceleration, we simply mean just that, smoothly. This is because we want to minimise the amount of time you are accelerating or decelerating at. Experts actually recommend you accelerate quickly while remaining smooth.
The reason we want to minimise the acceleration of a vehicle is that if we can sit at a constant RPM range, we are not pushing the engine to go faster or slower. To put this into perspective lets pretend we are driving a 2003 Honda S2000, which has a red line of 9,000RPM. The car is quite happy to cruise along at low RPMs, but if you want to go faster, let’s say 2,000RPM you have to wait for the engine to build up its speed and push itself harder and thus heat up more. This heat and extra work that the engine must deal with needs to be cooled and distributed to not disturb the driver. This extra process is what uses the extra fuel.
Crank down your windows, and turn off aircon
Unfortunately, some of life’s little wonders often cost us something else that we never realised we were losing. This is the case with aircon, it costs MPG to enjoy that sweet cold air. So instead of being afraid of your music choices, crank those windows and embrace it. We won’t judge… Promise.
Now aircon is probably one of the biggest offenders when talking about increasing MPG, with aircon increasing fuel consumption by an average of 9%, this is due to the extra stress that aircon puts onto your engine. Aircon is a separate component within an engine and thus requires its own extra power.
Now by no means is opening your window the answer to all your solutions as it causes extra drag and thus requires the car to push through extra air resistance, however, compared to the increase in fuel consumption caused by the aircon, this trade-off is well worth it.
Go on a diet
Yes, we are serious. Weight is a big killer of MPG, so shed as many pounds as you can. While this includes you and your passengers this also means not leaving tools or rubbish in your car or removing that pesky roof rack that also increases air resistance. Its as simple as that, no need to go to the extremes like some self-made race cars, removing all interior linings and chopping bits from the car.
Weight reduction is prevalent in all types of cars, from carbon fibre on high-end cars to aluminium instead of steel on the lower end. These materials have been purpose-built to be as strong as the alternatives while shredding as much weight as possible. On a typical vehicle, such as a Ford Focus, removing even 45kgs can increase your fuel efficiency by 2%, and to put just to show how pesky those roof racks can be, they can affect MPG by up to 20%. So, if it’s not being used, get rid of it.
Think about the size of your car
Do you truly need a new Mercedes Benz, or would you be able to live with a smaller Vauxhall Astra? This is more a form over function type of mentality. Do we really need these cars that can accelerate from 0-60 in 3.9s like the Audi TT RS? How often do you put your foot flat to the floor?
Now we aren’t saying nobody needs these types of cars, if nobody needed one these, brands wouldn’t sell them. What we’re saying is either replace your car or get a second car for when you’re commuting daily. I’ll be the first one to point out that when I was looking for my first car (and even still) I look at the 0-60 time before the MPG, and the form over the function but, you can buy or even lease a smaller, cheaper car for your daily commute still have your fun car for the weekend.
We understand that not all of these tips will work for everyone, but there will defiantly be one that you could use. We tried to cover at least one method for each type of person. The conclusion is to look after the car, remove anything that you don’t truly need and drive smoothly.
While a lot of these tips would only equate to a small amount of improved MPG each, when combined you could be saving almost 20% more fuel (unless you have a roof rack, in which case it could be up to 40%).