Are you still driving your car to work (or to any other place you need to be)? Good for you! So many other car owners have opted to take public transportation to get to their offices and business places as fuel prices continue to soar weekly. I personally believe taking the train or bus to work is the most sensible response to the rising prices of gas and diesel. The weekly price hikes are beyond my control, I can only control how I respond to it. I have been taking the LRT at least three times a week since May. And I realized I not only save on fuel expenses, I also get to liberate myself from hourly (exorbitant) parking fees. Yes! Be wa-is in the face of a crisis. Haha!
For those of you (or us, since I still take my car to work at least twice a week) who still opt to drive to work, I have good news for you. There are ways you (we!) can save on fuel consumption without sacrificing ease and comfort (Yes, you don’t need to switch off the A/C and roll down your window because, eeew!). I researched on driving tips that will help you maximize your fuel during these difficult times. I have personally tried these hacks so I can assure you, they work!
So, buckle up! We’re going for a drive 🙂
Tip 1: No “pedal to the metal” driving.
Easy-han mo lang. Avoid hard pressing the accelerator pedal. If you drive an automatic transmission car, take about five seconds to accelerate to 24 kph, while manual transmission cars require a moderate throttle position and shift between 2000 to 2500 rpm.
The “egg under the gas pedal” principle helps you take it easy on the your accelerator — pretend there is an egg right beneath the accelerator pedal and it will crack and make a mess in your car if you press on the gas pedal too heavily.
Tip 2: Keep it steady.
Accelerating rapidly can increase your fuel use by up to 30%. Stopping and then going quickly may make you feel like you’re saving time but in reality, you are consuming more fuel than you’re supposed to if you just keep your speed at a steady pace. This is also the reason why fuel consumption is a lot less when long driving on a one-way highway like the TPLEX compared to city driving in… say, Makati. Hah!
Tip 3: Keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
By maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, you avoid making abrupt stops and accelerating rapidly. It also helps you avoid accidents on the road.
How do you know you are maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of you? Use the 2-second rule:
While driving, pick an object like a sign board, a huge tree, or a prominent building. Now wait for the car in front of you to pass the object you chose and then start counting the seconds until you pass the same marker. A safe distance means that it will take you at least two seconds after the car in front of you has passed the marker before you do.
Of course, this may be a challenge when you’re driving along the busy streets of Metro Manila where the terms “bumper to bumper” take on a different meaning. I guess the idea is to take it easy on both your accelerator and brake so that you do not floor either. Timing is everything when driving on a budget.
Tip 4: Don’t slam on your brakes.
Now, I know it may look like the tips are starting to look redundant — but believe me when I say, Papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part.
A good practice to train yourself to go easy on your brakes is to develop the habit of coasting toward a red light or stop sign. To achieve this:
- Plan your routes
- Look out for stoplights and crossroads (use Waze or Google Maps!)
- Choose to slow down on a yellow light rather than speed up.
Your tires will thank you too.
Tip 5: Check your tire pressure regularly.
When your tires have the correct pressure, your fuel efficiency increases by an average of 0.3% to 3%. Over-inflated tires cause the tread section to round out. This will result to wearing out the middle tread faster. Also, if there’s too much air pressure in your tire, you’ll most likely get the “bumpy ride” feel when driving. You might resort to stepping on the brakes more often when the ride isn’t smooth (even if it’s supposed to feel smooth if not for the ill-inflated tires).
Tip 6: Don’t load your car with too much cargo.
Of course, if you drive a sedan, you know better than load it up with two sacks of rice, boxes of groceries, gardening soil, a cooler filled with tube ice, three teenagers, and two grown dogs. This is common sense. Even you use up more energy and easily tire when you carry heavy loads (literally and figuratively). The same thing happens to your vehicle when you require it to do more than it’s supposed to.
Tip 7: Plan your trips.
Go out only when it’s necessary and try to get all your errands done in one go. Plan your week, list down the things you need from outside your home, and get things done systematically to avoid making multiple trips because you forgot to get something.
Tip 8: Don’t use your car’s A/C at low speeds.
Uh-huh. You may have to roll down those windows when you’re stuck in traffic or crawling along Edsa on a weekend. When you do need to switch on the AC, it may be a good idea to let the hot air out first, crack open your windows or open the car doors. This makes it easier for your AC to cool the car faster and with less consumption. Park in shaded areas and indoor parking lots to keep the temperature in your car low while you run your errands.
Do you have your personal tips and tricks on how to save on fuel that you’d like to share? (And please don’t smart-aleck me by saying “don’t use the car!” because we all know it is still much more convenient and fast to go around when we’re driving our own vehicle). Drop them in the comments section below!
Also, drive safely.