Mobility is an important human activity and one of the important means that facilitates easy movement is a car. In a large country such as Nigeria, individuals need a car to move across from one point to the other.
However, in a period when the price of fuel is N145 (or even higher in hinterland areas) in the country, one has to be circumspect about its usage in order for his or her car not to run short of the critical product.
Below are 10 tips to help save fuel for every car user
1. Don’t drive during rush hour
It is a common feature to see car owners hit the road, especially in big cities such as Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Abuja, from 4pm after the close of work. But the numerous cars moving at the same time from that particular period means that the roads are clogged, particularly as the roads are not in such a superb condition. Every time a car stops and starts in traffic, it needs first gear and a huge amount of fuel to get moving again. Second gear is not much better. The best solution is to not travel during the rush hour. Commuters are advised to utilise mobile traffic information apps and/or listen to radio stations which provide information on traffic situation during such period.
2. Make Fewer Trips
It is advisable for commuters to make fewer trips with their cars in a day. This is because the longer the car is on the road, the more fuel burns away. So, it is much better to combine all trips at once. But in the case where the car needs to go more than a single trip, car owners are expected to be conscious of the distance to be covered and possibly top up the fuel during their journey so that the car does not suddenly trip off on the road.
3. Don’t open windows completely and close sunroof
Many car owners, especially those whose cars do not have air conditioners, roll down their windows for ventilation purposes. While the infusion of air is important to aid breathing during movement, too much of air affects the dynamics of the car. The aerodynamics of a vehicle is designed in such a manner that as the wind noise that blows the car continues to drag, thereby making it more expensive to run. Since you cannot do much to change the shape of your car, it is best that you limit the level of the windows opening and close the sunroof completely, especially when on the expressway and moving more quickly.
4. Don’t carry excess weight
Just as the lifting of weight bars immediately weakens its human carrier at the gym, so does excess weight affect the movement of the car and ultimately, its fuel level. The heavy weight load as a result of items loaded drags and limits the progress of the car on its journey and this ensures more fuel is consumed as the car is condemned to move at a slower speed. It is advised that car owners do not their cars with much load except when necessary.
5. Avoid unnecessary over speeding
The consequential impact of over speeding does not only hinge on the occurrence of accidents, but also has a negative effect on fuel consumption in cars. The more a driver accelerates, the more fuel reduces from the car. Even though a driver arrives about 20 minutes early on a 200-mile trip by travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph, that 20 minutes could cost you thousands of naira in fuel. Drivers must ensure they accelerate at a constant speed (at a suggested pace of about 50 miles per hour) in order to move smoothly on the road, avoid accidents and save some fuel.
6. Use air conditioner when hot
As part of enjoying the luxury of a car, most car owners in Nigeria seem to switch on the air conditioners in the car regularly. Some also decide to use theirs in order to prevent themselves for either inhaling dust or the toxic scent of the environment, prevent fog during the rainy season or for security purposes. However, the constant use of the air condition ensures that fuel in the car is swiftly consumed. Therefore, it is advisable not to switch it on, especially when the weather is not hot.
7. Check your tyre pressure regularly
The lower the tyre pressure, the more fuel the car needs to move it down the road. It is, therefore, recommended that a car owner or the car driver check the tyre pressure regularly before leaving home.
8. Negotiate speed bumps sensibly
Braking hard, accelerating, then braking for the next speed bump is inefficient and uses extra fuel.
Try to drive along at a steady 15-20mph instead.
9. Switch off car engine when not in use
When the vehicle is not in motion probably due to traffic, it is advisable to switch off the car engine to reduce fuel consumption. Fuel is being burned continuously when the car engine is switched on without the car moving.
10. Ensure air filters are always clean
It is important for car owners to check air filter condition regularly, since a broken air filter will consume 10 per cent more energy. In order to check this car part, drivers can examine it after washing it carefully. If the sunlight can go through the air filter, drivers should change to a new one. If the filter gets congestion regularly, it is also suggested to replace a new air filter to make sure the air purification is clear and fuel is saved.