Switch off the AC or keep windows down, the mileage is unaffected on highways

Thursday 02 August 2012, 11:13 AM by

With sky-rocketing petrol prices, many people have been forcibly buying diesel cars lately. However, the money saved on fuel brings along with it other disadvantages in the form of maintenance issues, vehicle's performance, etc. Vehicle owners are also bogged down by difference between the mileage of a vehicle prescribed by the company and that actually returned on road. However, improving fuel efficiency of your vehicle is not a tough task. People only know few ways and hardly follow them religiously. However, there are some methods which when taken into consideration can make a huge difference to the fuel consumption of your vehicle. Foremost among these, and the most commonly known, is running the air-conditioner in cars. Use of the air-conditioner results in up to 20 per cent excess usage of fuel. One can always switch off the air-conditioner until situations get unbearable or, well, enjoy and don't mind the depreciating fuel level. Secondly, it is extremely important to switch off ignition at traffic signals. It is roughly estimated that keeping the vehicle idle for a minute consumes the same amount of fuel as starting the vehicle. So, it is advisable that if the vehicle is stopped for a duration of over 1 minute, the ignition should be put off. As it is important to keep the air-conditioner switched off, similarly one is also advised to keep windows closed to avoid drag. This mainly applies to highway driving since in slow moving traffic, there is hardly any drag. So, while driving on highways, the best combination is switching off the air-conditioner and rolling up the windows. A startling fact here is that, on highways at considerably high speeds, when the air-conditioner is running and windows are closed, the car returns almost the same mileage aswhen windows are down with air-conditioner put off. However, this only applies to cars with powerful engines. One of the most important factors, and practically the most difficult to follow, is driving at a constant speed. Speed of 50 kmph is known as the economy speed as the fuel isleast consumed at this speed. So, it is advisable to drive at speeds of 40 kmph to 60 kmph changing the gears minimally. Regular car maintenance is also a key to better fuel efficiency. Replacing air filter is necessary and so is using the right kind of engine oil. One must take one's vehicle to the service station at the specific time period prescribed by the car maker to avoid higher fuel consumption or, worse, other repercussions might follow. Excess luggage inside the car or on the roof rack significantly affects the mileage of the car. The roof rack increases drag and should be completely done away with. The baggage can be fitted in the trunk; however, one must note that extra weight inside the carcan also decrease fuel efficiency by a trifle. Various other methods can be useful to different people at different points of time and,in the subconscious state, one must be aware of these things. One must find ways to commute to office using methods like car-pool or taking public transport like bus, localtrain or the metro. It is important to lose the habit of driving the car to the nearby shop. Walking helps in staying fit and, of course, conserves fuel. Lastly, one must buy a car smartly. Preferences must be set right while purchasing a car. If fuel-efficiency is the requirement, one must not let the car's design overrule its utility. A car is the most prized possession for maximum people. Wrong selection at the time of buying can result in prolonged regret!
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