Steady pressure wins the money
We all know there are times when we push the envelope and try to get ahead. For many of us, we only think about the immediate and not about the future. But what about long term? Do we think about our long term goals or objectives enough, especially while driving? Probably not, but it’s never too late to begin.
Most drivers tend to drive in such a manner that the only thing important to them is reaching their destination without incident. But for many drives, there already is an incident. They’re wasting so much fuel as they drive that it will affect their wallet by the end of the year. Many drivers fail to even give fuel economy some thought, but with subtle changes to their driving behaviour, they can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year on fuel; depending on their yearly average mileage traveled.
Let’s start out with, well, starting out… from a stopped position. I’ve always heard how smooth acceleration allows us to saves fuel. I was able to really understand this when I first had a vehicle with a fuel economy gauge. It showed how my mileage was for every second I travelled. It was a reality check, as you can see by the photos when I accelerated smoothly from a stop compared to the famous “jack rabbit start”. The smooth acceleration kept my litres/100 kms lower compared to the harsher acceleration. The higher the litres/100 kms the worse my mileage, compared to the higher number for miles per gallon.
When I was growing up I had a friend that always accelerated quickly from every stop, and I do mean every stop. I can just imagine how much fuel he wasted over the last 30 years. It would be mind-blowing to say the least. When I’m teaching my students at Young Drivers of Canada, I ask them to ease off the brake when the light turns green to get the vehicle in motion prior to pressing the gas pedal. This helps to keep the litres/100 km lower until I reach my driving speed. If you spend roughly 4 to 5 seconds to reach 20 km/h, it will maximize your fuel savings upon start up.
The mileage gauge on my vehicle also shows me my average fuel economy for the vehicle itself. I’m averaging 8.5 litres of fuel for every 100 kms I travel. That’s about the same as 27 miles per gallon in US gallons. Not too bad considering the average fuel economy for new cars sold in the US is less than 25 miles per gallon. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2013/06/new-car-average-mpg-hits-24-8.html
Even as a driving instructor with new drivers being less smooth than experienced drivers, that’s still pretty good mileage. If I travel the average of 20,000 kms per year, I will spend roughly $2210 in fuel. However, if I average 12.2 litres/100 km as many other drivers do, I’ll spend roughly $3172 on fuel. This is all based on $1.30/litre in average gas prices across Canada. Are those savings enough incentive to change your driving habits yet?
To keep your average litres/100 kms low, look well ahead and anticipate the flow of traffic to determine when slowing is appropriate. I’ve been in the vehicle with drivers who stay on the gas pedal until they have to brake. This is a full waste of fuel. A better plan is to ease off the gas as you see traffic slowing or stopped ahead of you and see if you can keep the vehicle in motion by slowing early. A vehicle in motion can use a significant less amount of fuel to reach traffic speed again compared to having to accelerate from a stopped position. Fuel-injection systems in most vehicles will automatically reduce the flow of fuel to your engine. And by the way, that also saves your brake pads.
Other fuel saving tips include planning your trips. Do all of your errands at the same time and plan the route so you can minimize the time between each errand. Why do one errand a day, especially two locations are in the same area of the city? Choose lanes of traffic that allow you to keep moving. The lane of least resistance allows you to keep moving and avoid having to stop behind buses or vehicles making turns. Putting all of these changes into place can save you enough cash to put that smile back on your face in today’s economic hard times. This is something you can bank on.