It’s no secret that the price of fuel is continually rising, especially in Singapore. In 2015, despite the falling global crude oil prices, Singapore petrol pump prices did not fall in tandem.
With no estimated date in sight as to when petrol prices will ever come down, consumers need to be smart about how to save on fuel costs before they reach the pump. It is especially even more important to know how to save money on fuel use for your car if you are driving a car for a living – for example, driving a taxi (ComfortDelgro, CityCab, SMRT Taxis, Trans-Cab, Premiere Taxis, Prime Taxi, HDT Singapore), driving for UBER, or driving for GRAB.
Fortunately, there are many ways to save fuel (oil and gas) significantly – without requiring a great deal of effort on your part. Here below, we have put together 8 Ways to Save Money on Fuel Use for Your Car.
#1 – Maintain your car
1a. Monitor Your Tires
Under-inflation causes tires to wear out faster and wastes fuel. The lower the tyre pressure, the more fuel the car needs to move it down the road. Properly inflated tires reduce friction and offer better fuel mileage.
(Photo: Dent Wizard)
We recommend that you take five minutes every fortnight to check the tyres. If you’re not sure what the pressure should be, you can normally find the figures near the lock inside the driver’s door.
1b. Tune the Engine
Car engines need to be regularly tuned. A properly tuned engine uses less fuel, so if you can’t remember when you last had a tune-up, it may be time to schedule one.
1c. Change Filters
Check your filters regularly – especially if you live in a dusty area. Clean filters help to keep cars running more fuel efficiently.
1d. Use the Correct Motor Oil
Be sure to use the proper motor oil. If you’re not sure which type your car requires, check the owner’s manual or do a search online. Using the wrong motor oil can cause the engine to work harder and waste fuel.
#2 – Don’t drive in the rush hour
There are few worse places to spend your time than stuck in a traffic jam, but it’s also a very expensive way of travelling. Every time that you stop and start in traffic, your car 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. You can also save some fuel by trying to understand what the traffic is doing in front of you, and travelling steadily at a slow speed, rather than accelerating and braking. If you have to travel in rush hour a lot, then you could consider buying a hybrid car, which uses much less fuel in town than a normal petrol or diesel.
(Photo: Jax Stumpes)
#3 – Choose the Best Route
Whenever possible, take the route with the fewest stop signs and traffic lights. The shortest route isn’t always the most fuel-efficient way to go.
#4 – Eliminate Wind Resistance
The shape of your car is very important. Car designers call it aerodynamics and make lots of effort to reduce the ‘drag’ and make the car as sleek as possible. Anything that makes wind noise as your car goes along is actually making your car more expensive to run. You can’t do much about the design of your car, but you can avoid making it worse by not leaving the windows and sunroof open.
An open window increases drag and costs you fuel in the long run – so keep your windows closed whenever possible. Also, remember to remove unneeded car racks and carriers. If you normally drive around with a bicycle rack, or luggage rack on your roof, take it off when it’s not in use to make your vehicle more aerodynamic.
#5 – Change your Driving habits and style
5a. Slow Down and Drive Steady
Driving fast may be fun, but it also increases drag, which increases fuel consumption. Driving just below the speed limit and driving smoothly (not accelerating quickly) uses fuel more efficiently, so you may have to fill up a lot less often.
5b. Monitor When and How You Brake
Braking excessively wastes fuel and causes your brake pads to wear out quickly. Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you when you’re in heavy traffic – that way, you won’t need to brake as often as if you were tailgating.
Also, by keeping a bit more distance between you and the car ahead, you can begin braking earlier, especially when approaching a traffic light. By not having to slam on the brakes at the last minute, you’ll improve the efficiency of your car and save fuel.
5c. Turn Off the Engine when waiting
If you’re waiting outside for your spouse to finish getting ready for your night out, or you’re waiting at a railroad crossing for the train to cross, turn off the engine. Idling is a major waste of fuel, and contributes massive amounts of pollutants to the atmosphere.
5d. Drive in the correct gear
Incorrect gear shifting can lead to as much as 20% increase in fuel consumption. Also idling is a fuel guzzler—many times it is best to turn the car off if idling for more than a few minutes.
5e. Accelerate smoothly
The perfect way to travel is at a constant speed (ideally around 80km/hour on the highway, and 40km/hour on normal roads), and in the highest gear (five or six). So if you’re a patient driver, you’ll have lower fuel bills – it’s as simple as that. It’s unrealistic to avoid overtaking, but there’s little point accelerating past a car to simply be in front of it at the next set of lights (especially in Singapore where there is so many traffic light junctions) – any instant gratification will appear on your fuel bill the next time you fill up.
(Photo: Tumblr via manrepeller)
5f. Don’t push the accelerator down too far
This one always surprises people. It’s not just to do with what gear you’re in. You may be in a high gear and travelling at a sensible speed, but if you’re pushing the accelerator down a long way to avoid changing into a lower gear (into third from fourth, for example), then you’re actually using more fuel not less. Obviously, if your car has an automatic gearbox (you’ll know if it does), then it will probably do a better job than you of choosing which gear to be in, so it’s not a problem.
5g. Warm Up Your Car for Shorter Lengths of Time
If you wake up to a cold morning, don’t warm up the car for longer than 30 seconds (up to one minute if you must). If you idle the engine for more than a minute, you waste fuel and pump nasty greenhouse fuel emissions into the air. Engines of modern cars do not require the extensive length of time that older models needed to warm up. Warming a car up for more than 30 seconds is a waste of fuel.
#6 – Buy Fuel Early or Late in the Day
Purchase fuel early or late in the day, especially during warm months. Fuel is cooler earlier in the day or late in the day, and denser. As temperatures rises, fuel density falls and you get less of it when you pump. And use 92-octane petrol, which is the cheapest. Most cars will do fine with 92-octane.
#7 – Don’t carry round unnecessary weight
Just like your body, your car needs more fuel to move around more weight. So, just as you wouldn’t wear a heavy rucksack unless you had to, don’t cart stuff around in the boot of your car unless you need it. Ironically, the heavier the item (the usual culprits are spare tyre, golf clubs and trolleys), the less likely you are to bother taking it out of the boot and the greater the effect it will have on your fuel consumption.
#8 – Strongly Consider Buying a Fuel-Efficient Car
Consider getting a more fuel-efficient car hybrid vehicle or an EV (electric vehicle). Even several models of affordable non-hybrids can get 40 miles per gallon.
The vehicles that ETHOZ rents under their private hire rental business unit – ETHOZCab, offers fuel-efficient car hybrid vehicles. Vehicle hirers of ETHOZCab have the option to drive for UBER or drive for GRAB accordingly.