• 8 ways to save on fuel

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    SEVERAL years ago, multinational energy firm Shell reported that Filipino motorists were the most conscious when it came to fuel-efficiency and among the stingiest on spending for gas on Earth.

    Filipino drivers, Shell’s report said, were mostly willing to change driving behavior to cut down fuel consumption.

    PinoyDriver.com director Carlos Ubaldo said vehicle condition and driving style, indeed, affect overall fuel consumption. And since petrol accounts for the biggest cost in owning and operating a car, Ubaldo offered easy driving tricks to save on fuel and avoid hurting one’s pocket.

    1.Drive in the correct gear. The higher the engine revs, the more it will consume fuel, Ubaldo said. Thus, shifting to the higher gear as soon as the engine does not sound strained is a good trick to save fuel with cars with manual transmission. For cars that have automatic transmission, go easy on the gas pedal as soon as the car has gained momentum, so gears will shift earlier.

    2.Avoid rush hour. Driving in heavy traffic is expensive because making starts and stops frequently uses more fuel. Try to avoid driving on peak hours, when traffic is heaviest. If this is inevitable, then getting a smaller car designed for city driving is a smart move.

    3.Do it in one go. A cold engine needs more power to warm up and, therefore, uses more fuel. This is why short trips are least fuel efficient. Try going after several errands all in one go. Better yet, go for a walk or ride a bicycle, and get a good dose of exercise in the process.

    4. Inflate tires properly

    Under inflated tires increase rolling resistance because excessive amount of tire rubber come in contact with the road. This increases fuel consumption by up to 6 percent, according to Ubaldo. Check tire pressure at least once a month, following the car’s manual, is advised.

    5. Avoid idling. Idling wastes fuel and contributes more to climate change. Better turn the engine off if the vehicle will not move for more than a minute, except in heavy traffic, Ubaldo advised.

    6. Maintain an economical speed.

    Don’t be too hard on the accelerator. At speeds above 90 kph, the fuel consumption increases significantly. Depending on the vehicle, the most economical driving speed is usually around 80-90 kph using the highest gear.

    “So, don’t be rough on the gas pedal and the fuel cost won’t get rough on you,” said Ubaldo.

    7. Avoid unnecessary weight.

    “Get heavy items off your car like sports equipment or tools if you don’t need them for your trip,” advised Ubaldo. “Make sure to clean your car and remove unnecessary weight before you leave.”

    8. Park in a shaded lot

    Parking in an open area to avoid parking fees won’t save money at all, according to Ubaldo.

    A heated car will take much longer to cool, he explained, especially during the summer, and this will consume more fuel because the air-conditioning system has to work harder.

    “Besides, you wouldn’t want your car to turn into a sauna in exchange for a little parking fee,” Ubaldo said.

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