How Do I Improve Fuel Efficiency? – Eco Driving Tips

Refill and filling Oil Gas Fuel at station

Fuel costs add up. Sometimes it feels like you’re watching your life pass before your eyes as you fill up at the gas pumps. Using less fuel also reduces pollution, and the same tips that save you fuel also saves wear and tear on your vehicle. While buying a new vehicle is one way to reduce your fuel costs, there are a number of fuel-saving tips that will help you save on gas no matter what vehicle you drive.

Of course, we couldn’t leave you without mentioning that Kia cars are among the most fuel-efficient available. Try one of the vehicles from our new Kia lineup, combined with our fuel-saving tips, and you’ll be passing the pumps and pocketing the difference! Our Mississauga Kia dealership is just a short drive from Milton, Brampton, and Oakville.

Read on for Mississauga Kia’s top eco-friendly driving tips and start getting better fuel economy no matter what vehicle you drive.

Drive Passive, Not Aggressive!
Actually, passive isn’t the best technique either. You actually need to be paying attention to really save on fuel. What you need to do is avoid aggressive driving techniques. If you like accelerating quickly from stops, braking at the last possible second, and passing other cars when you get the chance-then you need to tone it down if you want to pay less in gas. This includes driving more slowly at highway speeds. By avoiding unnecessary acceleration, you can improve your fuel economy by up to 33%! Less acceleration also means less braking, which will save you on the costs of replacing your brakes, rotors, and tires.

Slow Down. You’re Going Too Fast.
Speeding costs more than what you pay in automated enforcement tickets. Not only does it reduce your reaction time and increase your potential for an accident, speeding at just 10 km/hr over the limit on the highway also reduces your fuel economy by up to 15%. The simple way to avoid speeding on the highway is cruise control. This could help you save in two ways: First, it controls your maximum speed, which can help you stay below 100k; and second, it maintains a constant speed, which means you won’t be pumping extra fuel into your engine to accelerate. Many modern vehicles will let you monitor your mpg while you’re driving. You should aim to set your cruise control at your vehicle’s most fuel-efficient speed, as long as it’s at or below the legal limit.

Reduce Your Drag
Your vehicle is designed with efficient aerodynamics in mind, but even with that, 50% of the energy required to operate most vehicles is spent overcoming wind resistance. Car top carriers, rooftop bike racks, and even those plastic window flags for your favourite sports team can all add resistance and cut down your fuel efficiency, especially at high speeds. Washing and waxing your vehicle can actually help your aerodynamics too. Besides, who doesn’t want their vehicle to look great?

Save A/C for the Highway
Using your air conditioning puts an extra load on your engine. If you’ve ever tried to accelerate a car with a small four-cylinder engine with the air conditioning on, then you’ll feel the difference in power. This equates to as much of a 15% reduction in fuel efficiency-sometimes more, when it’s hot outside and your engine is idling or your car is moving at low speeds. However, A/C becomes more efficient once you are travelling at speeds above 80 km/h, where the wind drag of open windows will reduce fuel economy just as much. In other words, save the air conditioning for the highway! Or, if you like a sauna, drive with just the fan and you will get the best economy of all.

Combine Trips
Your engine is least efficient when it’s still warming up. In fact, some vehicles consume most of their fuel right at start-up. If you can combine your trips, your engine will stay hot, meaning you have better fuel economy. This is most noticeable in the winter months, where starting a cold engine uses more fuel than ever (and also causes more wear on the engine). Oh, and you have the side benefit of getting more done!

Car Pool
If you’re commuting to work, you probably make a drive twice daily up to five times a week. That can add up to a lot of fuel burned. Check with your co-workers to see if anyone lives in your area, and start a car pool. Whether you drive, or another of your co-workers, you can share the costs and reduce your environmental impact at the same time.

Use Public Transit or Bike
You don’t always have to drive. Check if a public transit route would be easier for you to get to work or school. Sometimes transit is easier than finding a place to park, and you’ll also shave off fuel and maintenance costs for your vehicle. Is your destination close? Why not break out the bike and get some exercise while you’re at it.

Avoid Excessive Idling
An idling engine gets zero miles per gallon. Once you turn it off, you’re not wasting any fuel. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ll be idling for a long time-say the local drive through, or the line at a car wash-then it’s better for you to turn off your engine. This is more noticeable on vehicles with larger engines like trucks, that consume significantly more fuel at idle than smaller vehicles. If you find yourself stuck in traffic, it may not be reasonable to turn your motor off, but you can still improve economy by rolling at a constant speed instead of accelerating quickly to fill the gap.

Proper Vehicle Maintenance
Some basic maintenance can keep your car running at its most efficient. If your vehicle’s emissions systems are in need of repair, or your vehicle is burning excessive oil, it’s not only bad for the environment, but can give you bad gas mileage. You should get your car inspected every 6 to 12 months to keep it properly maintained.

Use the correct motor oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can improve your gas mileage by up to 2%. When you use a thicker viscosity of motor oil than recommended in cooler weather, you’re making your engine work harder. Remember to change your oil at the recommended interval as well, as oil loses its lubricating qualities over time and use.
Maintain proper tire inflation. Under-inflated tires might be great for the drag strip (they provide more grip), but they’re terrible for fuel economy. They have a higher rolling resistance, which means that your car works harder to keep moving and you burn more fuel. Get a reliable tire gauge and check your tire pressures at least once per month. Be sure to check your tire pressure when your tires are cool for an accurate reading. Keeping your tires inflated to the proper level can help improve your gas mileage by up to 4%.
Take your car for a tune-up. Keeping your engine tuned up is important for fuel efficiency. The next time you bring your vehicle in for a service, make sure your mechanic checks things like your wheel alignment, shocks, and struts as well. Always replace fuel filters, air filters, and spark plugs at the recommended maintenance intervals set out in your owner’s manual. It’s worth getting these checked regularly, as they may need to be replaced more often if you are driving under difficult conditions.

Things to Keep in Mind When You Fill Up
A place you might not expect to lose fuel is at the gas station. But when you’re filling up, gasoline vapours can evaporate quickly in hot weather. Here are some other tips for when you’re fuelling up:

  • Tighten the gas cap. A loose gas cap will cause you to lose fuel to evaporation. It’s not only bad for the environment, but it can also be bad for your engine-this can even trip your check engine light. Always remember to tighten your gas cap after you fill up.
  • Fill up when it’s cool outside. Fuel evaporates less when it’s cool and dark outside. Try to drop by the gas station in the early morning or evening to reduce the amount of gas you lose to evaporation.
  • Use the correct octane. If your car is gasoline, it was designed to run on a specific octane for best efficiency. You can find this information listed in your owner’s manual. If you use too low of an octane in a high compression engine, you can cause engine damage and reduce economy. While a vehicle designed to run on regular fuel won’t be harmed by premium gas, it won’t gain any benefits either. If you drive a diesel car, the cetane rating is an equivalent measure to look for.