While many parts of the world are enjoying declining petrol cost, Singapore faces an inverse trend. The copious number of traffic lights and low speed limits are no stranger to Singaporeans; they work together to stretch the energy bill further. But overcoming these loathsome road characteristics is not exactly an Herculean task. Essentially, it just requires some minor tweaks to your driving behavior and the car.
- Tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve petrol mileage by up to 3.3%. Such information on the proper tire pressure can be found in the car’s instruction manual.
- Ensuring that the car has a properly tuned engine or has passed an emissions test can improve petrol mileage by an average of 4%, while addressing a severe maintenance issue can improve it by as much as 40%! Therefore, sending the car for regular inspections is a good practice!
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil which can improve petrol mileage by 1-2%. Besides, purchase motor oil with the “Energy Conserving” label to ensure it contains chemicals that reduce friction.
- Stay above 48km/h as much as possible because the car consumes greater energy to combat wind resistance than rolling resistance at a lower speed. Carrying more loads and rolling down the windows can yield greater resistance at higher speeds, effectively cutting 1% to 15% of the fuel economy.
- Time your acceleration adequately where you neither strain your motor nor trap your car in lower gears for too long which erodes fuel economy. A good estimate would be to accelerate to 80km/h within 15-20 seconds. Thereafter, keep a constant speed to prevent energy wastage on frequent deceleration and re-acceleration. Use cruise control function if available.
- Brake less since braking converts useful kinetic energy into useless heat energy. Choose the route that has the least traffic – use the much vaunted Google Maps to plan the best route – to reduce unnecessary fuel wastage.
- There is simply no need to warm up modern cars that are produced after the mid-1990s. Advanced engineering feat has made warming up irrelevant since sensors are now built into such cars to ensure the right mix of air and fuel in the engine – instead of relying on a warmed up engine to do the job uneconomically.