former owner of a 2016 Soul SX 2.0L - Caribbean Blue
Five fuel-efficient driving techniques:
Other trips and tricks:
- Accelerate gently – in city driving you can conserve as much as 15% of your fuel by easing the pedal gently and gradually. To maximize your fuel efficiency, you should take about 5 seconds to accelerate to 20 km/h (12 mph). Imagine an egg under your accelerator pedal and an open, nearly full cub of coffee on your dashboard. Do not break the shell or spill the drink! For manual transmission, you should shift between 2000-2500 rpm and use a moderate throttle position.
- Maintain a steady speed – avoid unnecessary acceleration, helps enhance traffic flow, minimize exhaust emissions. Speed variations caused fuel use to increase by 20% on one test and 48% on an other test, but the average speed remained the same, so constant speed saves the most fuel. Consider using cruise control for highway driving, however, skilled driving can be even more fuel efficient than cruise control in certain circumstances. For example, on hilly terrain and where traffic conditions permit, you will consume less fuel by allowing your speed to drop when you travel uphill and building your momentum again when you roll downhill.
- Anticipate traffic – avoid the unnecessary fuel consumption – and safety risk – associated with hard braking and rapid acceleration by reading the road ahead and anticipating situations before they arise. The principle behind this tip calls on you to maintain your vehicle's momentum and avoid coming to a full stop unless absolutely necessary.
- Coast to decelerate – by predicting slowdowns and removing your foot from the accelerator as early as possible, you can decrease your speed, conserve fuel and save money. The reason is that most vehicles today are equipped with fuel-injection systems that automatically shut off the flow of fuel to the engine when the accelerator is released. When the engine speed drops to a preset number of rpm's, the injection system restarts the fuel flow. Keeping your foot on the accelerator and braking at the last minute wastes fuel. Coasting to decelerate also reduces wear and tear on your tires and brakes, which in turn lowers your maintenance, repair and servicing costs.
If the accelerator is released when driving at high speed, fuel supply to the engine will be halted automatically. Then, when the engine speed is lowered, about as much fuel as will be necessary for idling will be supplied again. This means that releasing the accelerator as early as possible can be a good way to minimize carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.
- Avoid high speeds – Each vehicle operates most efficiently at a given speed. While this speed varies from model to model, most cars are most fuel efficient when travelling between 50 and 80 km/h (31 and 50 mph). For example, a vehicle needs 20% more fuel to go 120 km/h (75 mph) than to go 100 km/h (62 mph).
The reduction in travel time does not compensate for this added fuel consumption and expense. For a typical 25 km (16 mi) trip, you will only save 2 minutes but use 20% more fuel by going 120 km/h (75 mph), rather than 100 km/h (62 mph). For a 100 km (62 mi) trip, for example it's equivalent to throwing a toonie ($2) out the window every 100 km (62 mi) or every hour!
Other trips and tricks:
- Combine trips – cold engines use more fuel than warm ones. As a result, trips that are shorter than 5 km (3 mi) can be hard on your pocketbook, because your vehicle's engine never reaches its peak operating temperature – the temperature at which it converts energy most efficiently. This is especially true in cold weather. To optimize your vehicle's fuel efficiency, run several errands one after the other, and plan your routes before starting out to avoid backtracking and rush-hour traffic.
- Avoid unnecessary idling – turn off your engine when you park for more than 60 seconds, except in traffic. The average vehicle with a 3L engine waster 300 ml (more than 1 cup) of fuel for every 10 minutes it idles.
Contrary to popular belief, excessive idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm it up is to drive it. With today's computer-controlled engines, no more than 2-3 minutes of idles is usually enough warm-up time before starting to drive – even in cold winter days. (but make sure that windows are free from snow and properly defrosted before driving away).
Under tests in a cold chamber and 3 vehicles, each was cooled to -18ºC (0ºF) and driven over a simulated urban driving cycle using first a 5 minute warm-up and then a 10 minute before driven. Test results on 5 min warm-up fuel consumption increased by 7-14%, with a 10 minute it increased from 12-19%.
You can help reduce the impact of cold starts – and reduce idling times – by using a block heater on a timer. This device warms the coolant, which in turn warm the engine block and lubricants. The engine will start more easily and reach its proper operating temperature faster. Also, it will not have to work as hard to pump oil through the block. At -20ºC (-4F), block heaters can improve overall fuel economy by as much as 10%. For a single short trip at -25ºC (-13F), you fuel savings could be in the order of 25%. To limit the amount of electricity used to operate your block heater, put in on a timer so that it runs 2 hours before you have to leave.
What's often forgotten is that idling warms only the engine – not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission and tires. These parts also need to be warmed up, and the only way to do that is to drive the vehicle. Until the engine temperature begins to rise, it's a good idea to avoid high speeds and rapid acceleration.
- Measure tire pressure monthly – tires leak air, in fact, more than 2/3rds of vehicles on the road have at least one under-inflated tire. You can extend the life your tires by 10,000 km (6200 mi) and reduce fuel consumption by up to 4% simply by maintaining proper pressure.
Measure the pressure of your ties once a month. To find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, refer to the tire-information placard, located on the edge of the driver's door or doorpost or in your owner's manual.
- Avoid carrying unnecessary weight – for example in a mid-sized car, fuel consumption increases by about 1% for every 25 kg (55 lbs) of weight in the vehicle.
- Remove roof racks when not in use – depending on the shape of the item this drag can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20% on the highway. Use a removable roof rack and install it only when needed.
- Use a/c sparingly – use the vehicle's flow-through ventilation to cool off. A/C can increase a vehicle's fuel consumption by up to 20% in stop-and-go traffic. Select the recirculate option, rather than the fresh-air alternative, to reduce your vehicle's fuel consumption by about 4%.
- Use a fuel-consumption display – on most vehicles it can inform you of immediate and average fuel-consumption readings. Although these systems in itself does not save fuel, many drivers report consuming 15% less fuel by acting on the feedback the systems provide.