More ways to reduce your fuel use
Here are six more easy ways you can reduce your fuel consumption—and costs—by as much as five percent:
- Avoid unnecessary idling.
Turn off your engine when you are stopped for more than 60 seconds, except when in traffic. The average vehicle with a three-litre engine wastes 300 millilitres—more than one cup—of fuel for every 10 minutes it idles. For more information on idling and how to avoid this wasteful habit, visit Natural Resources Canada’s Idle-Free Zone.
- Measure tire pressure monthly.
Operating a vehicle with its tires underinflated by 8 psi (56 kPa) can reduce the life of the tires by 10,000 kilometres and increase the vehicle’s fuel consumption by four percent. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle on the tire-information placard—located on the edge of the driver’s door or doorpost—or in your owner’s manual. Learn more about tire maintenance at www.betiresmart.ca.
- Avoid carrying unnecessary weight.
Remove items such as salt, sand and sports equipment from your vehicle before setting out. The less weight in your vehicle, the less fuel your engine will need—and the fewer carbon dioxide emissions your vehicle will produce. Consider that the fuel consumption of a mid-size car increases by about one percent for every 25 kilograms of weight in the vehicle.
- Remove roof or bicycle racks when not in use.
Use a removable roof or bicycle rack and install it only when needed. By avoiding the extra bulk, you’ll streamline your vehicle and minimize aerodynamic drag—the air and wind resistance your vehicle must overcome to accelerate and maintain a constant speed. Depending on the shape of a vehicle’s roof rack and the items it carries, aerodynamic drag can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent on the highway.
- Use air conditioning sparingly.
Air conditioning can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent. Try opening a window while driving in the city and use the vehicle’s flow-through ventilation system with the windows up while on the highway. If air conditioning is a luxury you simply don’t want to give up, select the re-circulate option as opposed to the fresh-air alternative to help minimize the impact of air conditioning on fuel consumption.
- Use a fuel-consumption display.
See the impact of the five fuel-efficient driving techniques firsthand with the help of a fuel-consumption display—a feature now standard in many vehicles. (Some newer vehicles come equipped with even more sophisticated displays that analyze speed variations, shift points for manual transmissions, and driving behaviours such as acceleration and braking times.) Calculate the amount of fuel you consume on trips and challenge yourself to do better. Many drivers consume 15 percent less fuel by acting on the feedback that fuel-consumption displays provide.
If your vehicle doesn’t have one, look into getting a display installed. Many vehicles manufactured after 1996 can be retrofitted easily with a range of devices.
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