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How to make your car more fuel efficient

by Somnath Chatterjee

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Fuel Prices are the talk of the town. They are discussed everywhere and by everyone and while we have little control over the prices, there are steps we can take to lessen the burden on our wallets by simply driving more economically. Here are a few tips:

1. Drive sensibly: The most important factor is to drive ‘sensibly’. By that I don’t mean you crawl at 15 kmph on a highway or over speed. Drive within speed limits and smoothly. In the city, avoid going too fast and sudden braking. Coast to the traffic lights and be smooth with the throttle. On highways, do not drive excessively fast. Instead, use the cruise control on your car.

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2. Choose the right gear: Many people complain that their car does not give the efficiency advertised by the car maker. The main reason for this is wrong gear selection. Unnecessary revving or even driving at a gear too high and not downshifting when necessary puts stress on the engine. Keep the car in the correct gear all the time for the engine to run in the optimal power band. Watch your fuel economy figures rise.

3. Maintaintence: A big factor that determine fuel economy is the condition of the car. If your car is maintained poorly then the effect will show. Maintain your car, service it regularly and keep it spotless and clean. Look after your car and it will look after you.

4. Travel light: Several drivers have the habit of lugging around unnecessary weight. If your boot has unnecessary stuff that you rarely use – get rid of it pronto since weight hampers fuel efficiency.

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5. Tyre pressure: Maintain optimal tyre pressure and check it every fortnight. Correctly inflated tyres will give a good ride and also good efficiency.

6. Plan your trips: Try to drive less and club your trips. For example, if you have to go shopping after work, do it on your way home, rather than going home and then coming out again to run your errands.

7. Climate control: When on highways, avoid opening the sunroof or windows as using the airconditioner is the better option. Before getting into your car on a hot day, open the windows for a bit and then start using the airconditioner to reduce the load on the compressor, thereby reducing consumption of fuel.