Oil prices are at the lowest in over a decade, thanks to increased supply in the world oil market.
It’s the sort of economic change that not only makes avid motorists giddy, but also makes carmakers ecstatic. Spending less for fuel means people would be more willing to drive around more often. And those who wouldn’t buy a car, because they couldn’t afford the cost of filling it up with liquefied fossils before, are now flocking to showrooms to get a new set of wheels. Indeed, this sort of thing makes buzz words like “economical driving” and “low fuel consumption” seem rather pointless.
Despite the joys that cheaper fuel brings, we mustn’t forget that unnecessary driving damages the environment through harmful emissions. It also creates added expense that could be spent on other things, and worsens road congestion. So Michelin has found it necessary to give some tips to help motorists make their trips safer and wallet-friendlier:
Plan your trips well and cut down on them, if you can
Try to schedule all your errands and tasks in one big trip as running different unplanned trips a day can cost you big time. Also, starting a car that’s been parked for a long time uses a lot of fuel for the first eight kilometers or so. If you really want to save fuel, consider carpooling, especially if you’re going to the same destination (this also saves you the hassle of finding a parking spot, too).
Let the traffic ease up before you go
Getting caught in a traffic jam is not only a waste of time, but also a waste of fuel. Sitting idly in traffic is the most fuel-inefficient situation as you guzzle fuel while going nowhere. If you must go out during rush hour, travel steadily at a slow speed and anticipate what the drivers around you are doing so that you avoid excessive accelerating and braking. This heightened situational awareness will also make sure that you don’t get caught unaware by sudden maneuvers by other motorists.
Reduce vehicle weight and keep airflow smooth
Remember your high-school physics: a heavier object requires more force to move it. As such, a heavier car requires more engine power to get it going, thus consuming more fuel. Make sure not to store heavy equipment, tools and other unnecessary items in your car. In addition, wind resistance at high speeds means you need to use more power to build and maintain a certain speed, which consumes more fuel, so make sure to ditch the roof rack, bull bar and other accessories when not in use.
The ideal way to travel is at a constant speed, which is why fuel economy figures on the expressway tend to be significantly better than in the city. Cycles of sudden braking and hard acceleration burn a lot of fuel, as well as put added strain on your car. Indeed, being a patient, defensive driver who follows traffic rules is a win-win situation because you not only save fuel, but also make yourself less likely to be involved in a crash.
Use air conditioning wisely
A car’s air-conditioning unit is partly driven by the engine, which means using it consumes fuel (especially when it’s on full blast on a hot day). However, driving at low speeds with the air-con turned off and windows rolled down helps get a few more kilometers per liter. But at high speeds, keeping the air-con on while driving with the windows rolled up actually improves fuel economy because of reduced air drag.
Use the right tires and keep these properly inflated
The company said tires account for up to 20 percent of your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Under-inflated tires lead to a higher rolling resistance, thus wasting more fuel. Make it a practice to check your tire pressure at least once every month to improve gas mileage by more than three percent. The company also said you can check the right type of tires for your vehicle with the Michelin Tire Selector Tool, and get more fuel-saving and road-safety information when you log on to www.michelin.com.ph.