Reducing fuel consumption

Apr 23, 2012 | Energy and Carbon, Environment | 0 comments

The recent article in the Irish Times (19 April 2012) concerning a commuting couple who spent €350 per month on petrol for just one car started me thinking.  My first thoughts were ‘why not buy a smaller car’; however, this is not always practical.  As with any problem in business, one should look at the no cost solutions first.  In this vein, the following are my best tips to help reduce fuel consumption.

  • Reduce your speed.  Limiting your speed to 100 kph can offer a significant saving with little increase in journey time.  I have personally done this and have obtained a 9.1% improvement in fuel consumption.  Now when planning journeys, I have set the ‘limited speed’ option on my sat nav to 100 kph.  On a 2 hour journey, the extra journey time is less than 8 minutes.
  • Ensure tyres are correctly inflated.  Efficiency drops by 0.3% for every 1 psi below the recommended pressure.
  • Ditch the junk in the boot.  20 kg of extra weight can reduce efficiency by 1%.  I took the free floor mats out of my car that car dealers insist on putting in, these weighed around 6 kg.  I was also carrying around a fall restraint harness, spare safety boots, spare hard hats, various sample bottles and a can of oil.  The total was 24 kg.  I am sure that many of us have items in the boot that we might need, but not necessarily that day.
  • Turn off the engine when idling.  Most authorities agree that if you are idling for more than 10 seconds, you save fuel by turning off the engine.  The extra wear on the engine from starting is less than keeping the engine running.  This can be safely done when dropping the kids of at school, at level crossings, road works and long queues at slow changing traffic lights.