13 Best Fuel Saving Tips Every Motorist Should Know

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One major headache that comes with car ownership is cost of fuel. In Kenya, the price of petrol has increased from less than Sh100 to over Sh200 per litre in less than 10 years. With this comes the need to save on fuel costs by extracting as much kilometres as we can from a single litre of fuel.

How much fuel your car consumes is largely determined by the type of car you drive and your driving technique. As a driver, you can save on fuel costs by practising defensive driving techniques and proper maintenance of your car. Here is how the two breakdown:

  • Proper car maintenance: A properly maintained car is a fuel efficient car. Ensure your car is serviced regularly and any problems it has is fixed immediately.
  • Correct tyres: Your car’s tyres should be the correct type, the correct size and are in the correct pressure as recommended by your car’s owner’s manual. Also ensure the wheels are aligned correctly.
  • Easy does it: Have a gentle foot. Make your accelerations gentle and your braking smooth. Your rev counter should be below 2000rpm at all times. Do not redline.
  • Practice predictive driving: This calls for looking ahead, taking note of changing road conditions and planning your next moves early so that your braking, swerving and accelerations are smooth and safe. You will be able to anticipate the actions of other road users and adapt early accordingly e.g. the car ahead braking suddenly, a boda swerving into your lane or the pedestrian choosing that moment to cross the road.
  • Use cruise control: When on the highway with steady traffic, consider engaging cruise control. It saves fuel and as a bonus helps you rest your foot. This should be done with caution as cruise control is not ideal for all road conditions.
  • Beware of wind resistance: Bike racks, roof racks, open windows and open sunroofs are all enemies of your car’s aerodynamics. This in turn makes your car consume more fuel as it is facing increased wind resistance. Remove the racks and close the windows.
  • Lighten up: Avoid having unnecessary items in the car as the heavier your car is the more fuel it consumes. Declutter the boot and backseat.
  • Turn off AC: On top of closing windows and removing unnecessary items in the car. Also limit your use of air conditioning to the minimum. If you do have to use air conditioning, consider recirculating option. If you have to choose between opening your windows or turning on air conditioning, open the windows at low speeds and use air conditioning at high speeds.
  • Plan your trip: Plan your commute to avoid traffic, congestions, accident spots and construction areas. If you can, avoid rush hour traffic and driving through the CBD and town centres.
  • Use correct fuel: Use the right fuel for your car. To this end, only fuel in reputable petrol stations whose fuel you trust.
  • Switch off your engine: Minimise idling your car. if you have stopped for more than a minute and its not because you are in traffic, consider switching off the engine.

For even more fuel saving measures:

Combine trips: Plan to have all your errands run on a single trip. One long drive is more economical than several short ones so combine your errands that will individually be short trips into one long errand-laden trip.

Drive less: No other fuel saving tip is more effective like driving less. It is the best way of reducing your fuel consumption. For shorter journeys, consider walking or biking. You’ll use no fuel and your body will thank you. Carpooling and working from home are other ways that will see you drive less.

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