Driving is enjoyable if all the conditions are right and suitable, but then such conditions are rare in this part of the world, most notably Nigeria. To get the best of your vehicle, good maintenance culture, road network and availability of gasoline, should be in the right mix. However, the biggest problems vehicle owners face in Nigeria are poor road network and fuel scarcity. Fuel scarcity is one of the most frustrating situations vehicle owners go through in the country.
The irony of it all is that the fuel scarcity is being experienced by a country touted as one of the largest oil producers in the world. This deplorable situation is a bitter pill to swallow, as Nigerians are finding it hard to fuel their vehicles these days. However, it's not all doom and gloom for vehicle owners in the country. Some little methods or strategies can be used to minimize fuel consumption in your car. These methods would help you conserve and better manage your vehicle fuel consumption and make them more fuel efficient.
Ensure you drive in the right Gear
Many drivers do not know the impact of the type of gear use when driving on fuel consumption. Using high gears for corners and hills is wasteful because you putting a heavy burden on your car’s engine. Low gears are more suitable for this type of driving conditions because they pack more power and strike a good balance between fuel consumption and power. Automatic vehicles rarely have this kind of problems because their gears are shifted automatically based on car's driving speed.
Avoid idling or warming your car unnecessarily
Most modern cars produced these days don’t need "warming," as many Nigerians would call it. You can start and drive most vehicles immediately. Idling consumes fuel that could have been used to make important movements. Once you are held up in traffic for a considerable amount of time, it's advisable to turn off your engines. Anything that keeps your car's engine running without any form of movement is idling, and it must be avoided at every opportunity if you want to lower your car's fuel consumption.
Use your car's air-conditioning moderately
Knowing when to use your car's air conditioners can help you save liters of petrol on road trips. Air-conditioners place a burden on the engine of a car and are responsible for about 10 to 15% of a car’s overall fuel consumption. However, there are situations whereby it’s more economical to use your car’s air conditioning system, especially when your driving at speeds exceeding 80km/h. closed windows help to reduce the impact of wind drag and make the vehicle more aerodynamic. Drag exacts some resistance to the forward movement of your car, thereby making the engine work more in other to sustain thrust. The rate of fuel consumption in cars as a result of drag is greater than that of Air-conditioning, especially at top speeds.
Monitor your tires
Many can’t seem to establish the relationship between fuel consumption and tire alignment. Well, the reason isn't farfetched. This aspect is quite technical and such information is mostly available to professional automobile engineers and technicians alike. Even your common roadside mechanic may not be aware of this information. When tires aren't properly inflated, they lose alignment, thereby creating more rolling resistance, which is very similar to drag. Imagine yourself running against the wind or being pulled backward when trying to run forward. That’s what drag and rolling resistance do to vehicles. Proper tire inflation will ensure your tires are properly aligned, leading to sleek movement on the road, thereby reducing your car's fuel consumption.
Be conscious of carrying excess weight
There is a positive relationship between the amounts of weight been carried by a car and its fuel consumption. Every 100 pound of weight reduces a vehicle's fuel efficiency by 2%. That's one of the reasons you see commercial vehicles frequenting the gas station. Almost everything about vehicle maintenance isn't right with them. They always overload their vehicles, drive at speeds with windows open and use improperly inflated tires. Carry less, if you want to save more!
Avoid driving too fast
Most of us want to try the "Need for Speed" scenery on our dilapidated roads, but then we tend to forget that these vehicles come with fuel-thirsty engines. Once you hit the throttle, your car's engine takes a massive gulp of fuel. More fuel is needed to boost engine power, so you must strike a balance between speed and fuel economy. If you have insufficient fuel in your petrol tank, and you need to drive to the filling station, it's advisable you drive slowly, so as to achieve more mileage per litre.
In conclusion, the fuel-saving tips listed above are invaluable if you are a car owner seeking to cut down fuel consumption costs. Fuel is one of the most precious commodities in the country, which ought not to be. Ensuring you strike a proper balance between your vehicle's speed, air conditioning, idling, weight, and tire management, will help you get the best of your car as well as improve its fuel efficiency and economy.
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