Debunking the never-ending myths about fuel economy

The way you drive can contribute to the amount of fuel you use and inevitably prolong the life of the car…

There are so many myths and opinions on how to save on fuel, but it really depends on the actual car: its age, its make, its fuel type etc.

But the way you drive can also contribute to the amount of fuel you use and inevitably prolong the life of the car.

Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), Les McMaster, says that in hard times consumers think twice about their expenditure and many are left scrambling to meet the running costs of their vehicles.

Saving on fuel economy is an easy solution but how exactly do we do this and what really works?

“It may seem petty, but being a considerate, patient driver is good for your fuel tank. Aggressive, agitated drivers tend to stop and start abruptly, especially in city traffic, and this places a lot of wear and tear on the car. Take it easy on your brakes and transmission and your car – and fuel tank – will return the favour,” says McMaster.

MIWA debunks some myths about fuel economy

MYTH: You may have to drive a smaller car to save fuel

Many of the most fuel-efficient cars in the world are mid-size or large cars.

MYTH: You need to warm your car up before you drive it

Modern cars can be driven within seconds of being started, and the quickest way to warm up a car’s engine is in fact to drive it.

MYTH: As a car ages, so its fuel efficiency decreases

A car that is properly maintained, no matter what the age, will retain its fuel efficiency for many years.

MYTH: Manual transmissions get better fuel economy than automatics

Advances in automatic transmissions have improved their efficiency to the point that automatic vehicles often get the same or even better fuel economy than manual transmission vehicles.

MYTH: Keep your windows down and air conditioner off on a long road trip

This makes no difference to your fuel usage at all.

FACT: Make sure the tyres are the right pressure

Underinflated tyres can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to three per cent.

FACT: Stick to the speed limit

This could save you over 10% on fuel, and even more on the highways.

FACT: Don’t idle your vehicle

Turning the ignition off instead of idling, even for just a minute or more, can save you almost 20% on fuel.

FACT: Avoid rush hour

It’s near impossible for thousands of motorists to avoid it, but stay out of rush hour if you can – the constant starting, stopping and idling is a fuel economy killer!

FACT: Keep the boot light

Extra weight in the boot requires extra power and extra fuel from your engine, especially if you drive a smaller car.

“The bottom line is that good fuel economy starts with driving a fuel-efficient car, buddying-up on trips, and maintaining your car. The tips we’ve provided will help to keep the needle out of the red to provide that much-needed budget breather,” McMaster concludes.