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How to save cash at the pumps

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:16 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Automotives Writer

A motorist’s driving habit can have a serious impact on fuel consumption.

“Certainly, the basis of a well-maintained car is a well-tuned engine,” advised Andrew Brown, an experienced auto mechanic with over 30 years’ experience in the motoring world. “Without an engine that operates at full efficiency, an automobile is a hazard on our roads, drinks petrol like it’s going out of style, and spells despair for its driver and his pocket.”

How can we save cash at the pumps? What are some habits that can be considered, changed, or modified to get maximum fuel consumption? Some motorists share ideas with Automotives.

According to Kadean Vendryes, realtor associate, she fills up her tank every time she goes to the pumps.“I purchase at specific gas stations where the price is reasonable,” she adds. “I also shop at business places that offer coupons, discounts, or incentives, which helps with my gas purchase”.

“I plan my day and my route carefully,” says Keisha Blackwood, financial adviser. “I leave home early in order to get to my destination on time.”

Michael Smith says he saves on fuel by driving and maintaining the 50km per hour speed.

“I do not run the air conditioner for too long (although the heat has its toll on the body), I maintain and keep my tyres with the recommended air pressure, and I service my motor vehicle at the right time.”

“To economise on fuel, drivers must keep their car tyres properly inflated, reduce starting and idling the vehicle unnecessarily, and use the natural shade instead of the air conditioner when parked,” says R. Phillips, co-author of the book The Richest Man In The World.

“I try not to drive around unnecessarily,” says Petria-Kaye Aarons, broadcaster.

With the help of auto mechanic Andrew Brown, Automotives offers the following useful tips that could help you save at the pumps:

SAVING 1: Avoid ‘jack rabbit’ starts. Fast starts cut fuel economy. Slow starts; getting into high gear as quickly as possible; and moderate, consistent driving will significantly improve your fuel-economy record.

SAVING 2: Maintain a steady speed within limits. When driving, for example, at a steady 50mph, approximately half of the fuel used by a car is used to push air out of the way.

SAVING 3: Do not tailgate. It is both dangerous and uneconomical. From a fuel-consumption standpoint, a tailgator is alternately hitting the brake pedal and accelerator pedal. This wastes fuel.

SAVING 4: Practise stop-and-go passing – To pass another vehicle, it is best to avoid running up in its back, slamming on the brakes, and hitting the accelerator pedal to get around. Instead, start your pass well to the rear so that you can swing out smoothly and execute the pass without braking and then hitting the accelerator pedal.

SAVING 5: Do not idle excessively. An engine that idles for three minutes uses as much gas as a car that is driven half mile at 30mph.

SAVING 6: Try not to brake unnecessarily. If you can keep rolling, do not stop. This means trying to time traffic lights. If the light in the distance is red, coast up and brake slowly. If the light turns green before your car reaches the intersection, apply steady pressure on the gas pedal. Stay off the brake pedal if you can.

SAVING 7: Ensure that the tyres are properly inflated. Keeping the tyres at the correct pressure and having front wheels properly aligned reduces friction that puts a drag on the car.