Reducing fuel consumption by 20% with the ART of DRIVING
Blog on fuel consumption
The modern vehicle is amazing fuel efficient, whilst at the same time, providing more performance than ever before.
Performance takes fuel, fuel costs twice as much as it did only weeks ago. So lets look at how we use the improved efficiency (performance) of your car to use less fuel
The article on seven news and subsequent media could not be more misplaced if it tried, leaving your car at home and walking or riding, is not a fuel consumption tip!
1 – Let us start with the obvious – when was it last serviced? There are two types of friction in an engine,
1.Boundary – which is when the engine starts and all moving parts are separated by a thin film of lubrication
2. Fluid – this is the shear effect within the oil (oil prevents parts from touching)
So if the oil is old, heavy, sludgy etc. it is not efficient and cannot work efficiently. So lets give it a birthday with a service, new air filter and the best oil you can afford.
- Rolling resistance.
Tyres are the most important parts of the car and the most neglected. Everything about driving is an equation of grip vs force.
Tyres have a recommended pressure, a max pressure and a max load rating. Why?
There is an optimum of performance the tyre manufacturer wants
There is an optimum of comfort the vehicle manufacturer wants.
There is a maximum load for safety rating we all want.
To understand more, we need to know why tyres need air!
Tyres have no shape and the air pressure literally creates the shape of the tyre. In motorsport, they even adjust a cars performance by raising or lowering tyres by as little as a few KPA (pressure unit) at a time!
That is how sensitive tyres are to air pressure.
When the tyre is low, this increases the surface area of the tyre, it works like a conveyor belt. In 4WD programs we do this to help the tyre ride on top of surface, such as sand.
On the road though, it increases the rolling resistance, requires more energy and therefore more fuel, with no actual gain.
A great example of this is look at a truck tyre or bus, when it is loaded. You will see the tyre is not round at the point of contact, but is actually flat, like a conveyer belt.
Pump up the jam….. I mean tyre, to the maximum tyre pressure, this reduces the contact patch and reduces rolling resistance. Therefor it also reduces wear!
For more advice on tyres, click this link
Weight takes energy, energy takes power, power requires fuel.
It is a great time to empty and clean the car, and only have necessities. It all counts.
I remember my mum years ago complaining how heavy her bag was, it was causing pain. So the old man tips the bag contents out and counts $30 of coins in it. Not large coins, 5 and 10c coins.
Whilst you are at it, give it a wash, clean the windows and be amazed at how good you and your car are starting to feel.
- Driving technique.
Ever tried to push a car up a driveway? I once owned a mechanical and engineering shop and everytime we had a dead engine, or a car with the engine out and had to push it up the driveway, it taught respect!! And gained a great workout and legs. 😊
We all see car abuse every day, every road. Some even call it the public service 500, where everyone at peak hour, morning and night is hard on the throttle or hard on the brakes and there is nothing in between.
Just imagine having to push the car and you would use your energy way differently.
Now the tyre pressures are up
The weight is down.
Lets learn how to use this thing efficiently.
How to accelerate.
- It takes a certain amount of energy, to move a certain amount of mass, a certain distance.
- Applying more energy, does not necessarily make this happen any quicker.
- Set yourself a goal of how little accelerator input you can use, to keep up with traffic, not race it.
- Use your trip meter and fuel consumption average and see how low you can get the figures,
- Really gentle application at first, wait until the car starts to gain momentum, and then increase in small increments, so you are using the cars mass to assist in speeding up.
- Anticipate the corners and hills, lifting the throttle and letting the cars momentum carry its speed, not the engine.
- Going up a hill is no different, just increase the accelerator to feel the engine under load, this stores energy in the flywheel or torque converter, that energy, carries you over the hill with less throttle overall!
How to slow down – BLAT Racing Brake late and Turn!
Never works. Especially when fuel costs so much per litre.
As we learned with acceleration, little input makes a lot of outcome. Energy goes a long way when you allow it to work for you.
Same with braking!
Now think of driving like a high speed game of chess. Everyone is a player and our job is to anticipate their strategy.
Think of traffic like looking over this game and seeing how the entire game is being played.
So lets focus our driving behaviour, not on the pawn beside us, but on the king who is directing strategy and flow.
We want to look through and over the traffic flow to the furtherest point on the horison. that will tell us how to use the controls of the car, so as the gaps open and close, we can be a consistent speed and gap.
Stay with me here.
Our goal is to use as little of the car as possible.
We want to coast the car, with no inputs of brake or accelerator for as long as possible.
We want to use as little of the steering or anything that changes direction as least as possible so we conserve our energy for the task at hand, of going as far forward as possible.
Let the car do the work.
As we can see an interruption to the flow, be it traffic lights changing, or traffic simply slowing, slow down.
I mean take your foot of the accelerator. Learn how far your car will coast, and you will be pleasantly surprised.
This is what we call the
“ART of DRIVING”
The strategy and thinking that goes into anticipating every action.
Driving is a constant process of decisions made or not made and the consequences of outcome
As you start to learn this skill, you will see traffic, and there is not much difference between the M1 and suburbia, is like a piano accordion. Gaps may stretch, but they also shrink just as quickly.
So pace your driving to use as little of the car to absorb this effect, whilst at the same time, keeping pace with everyone overall.
Now, we get this a lot with our learning to drive students, there is no difference at a set of lights, of whether you used all of your car, fuel, tyres, brakes and engine.
You either sit their waiting for the entire cycle, or anticipated the strategy so well, you hardly had to stop. You were still at the lights, at the same time as everyone else was given the green light to go.
That is all that matters.
There are more than just fuel consumption gains, reduced cost of motoring gains and reduced stress in driving gains.
There is reward and satisfaction for how engaging the ART of DRIVING has now become.
Fatigue is down, Interest is up!!