Ecodrive: saving money behind the wheel

Ecodrive is an easy way to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%. Thanks to skilful gear shifting, engine braking, or use of cruise control, you won’t have to go to the gas station so often. If you want to save fuel and consequentially save money and time, learn how to drive economically.

The fuel expenses are a major item in every household budget. At the current fuel prices, economic driving is an effective way to reduce your gas station bills.

Engine braking

Engine braking is the first step on the road to effective restriction of fuel consumption. When you shift down and let the car slow down on its own, you are reducing the fuel consumed during the braking process because its supply to the engine is cut off completely. Engine braking requires you to develop the skill of estimating distance – you have to start the process appropriately early to have the car effectively break on its own.

Steady speed

Frequent and sudden acceleration and deceleration has considerable impact on fuel consumption. Instead of approaching a traffic light at great speed and braking abruptly, you should approach it at a slower pace. When you are on a long road trip, you should take advantage of cruise control, which will maintain a steady speed for you.

Shifting gears

Shifting up early is a good way to save fuel. Higher RPM means that you are consuming more fuel. Check the engine specifications of your car (in the instruction manual or online) and try to shift gears appropriately. In modern cars, you can drive in fifth gear at speeds as low as 60-70 km/h. And many drivers tend to forget that the first gear is intended only to start moving and prolonged time in this gear will definitely not be an economic solution.

Air conditioning

If may be hard to imagine driving a car on a hot day without air conditioning, but you are consuming quite a bit of fuel when it is turned up to maximum, up to 2 litres more per every 100 kilometres. Use it wisely. Interesting fact: driving with open windows instead of having the air conditioning turned on is not a good solution either. When your windows are down, they raise the car’s aerodynamic resistance and force it to consume more fuel to compensate. In effect, from the perspective of economic driving, it is better to use your air conditioning in a reasonable way.

Air resistance and mass

The aforementioned air resistance is also higher when your use roof boxes. It is best to remove them completely when you are not using them at the moment for your skis or other sports equipment. Such an element fixed to your roof can raise your fuel consumption by as much as 15%.
You should also pay some attention to the car’s load. If you have some additional windshield wiper fluid, oil bottles, or various tools “just in case” next to your spare tire in the trunk, you are considerably increasing the vehicle’s mass. Every 100 additional kilograms means up to one litre more of fuel consumed per every 100 km.

Parking

The active engine of a parked car can consume up to 1.5 litres of fuel per hour. This is completely unwarranted and you should always turn the engine off unless you plan on moving again in less than a minute. In newer cars, such fuel wastefulness is eliminated by the start-stop system, which automatically shuts down the engine when the car is not moving for more than 20 seconds. If your car does not have this system, remember to turn back the key when you stop to let a train pass at a railway crossing or when you are waiting for someone in a parking lot.

Tire pressure

If you regularly check your tire pressure and add air as needed, you will definitely save some money during your next visit to the gas station. According to experts, pressure reduced by as little as 0.5 bars can raise fuel consumption by even 2-3%. This is because of the higher rolling resistance of the tire. The tires “buckle” under the pressure of the car’s weight in the contact point with the road, which flattens the tread. This momentary deformation creates resistance, which requires more power, i.e. more fuel, to overcome it. Furthermore, poor pressure also contributes to tire wear and has an adverse effect on your driving comfort and safety.

Seasonal tire change is also an important aspect of economic driving. Due to their structure, winter tires have a higher rolling resistance. They offer superior traction in the winter but require higher fuel consumption in the summer.

Photo by A. L. on Unsplash

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