We are all a little panicked to observe the skyrocketing fuel prices. For some, driving less is not an option, however, by driving better, experts claim that you can save 6 to 12% of fuel by adapting your driving style. That’s why a Seat expert, Ángel Suárez, engineer at the Technical Center of SEAT SA, gave us 7 tips for economical driving to consume less gasoline and therefore space out visits to the pump.
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1. Ride with fluidity
Sudden gear changes and rapid acceleration increase fuel consumption. That is why “It’s important to drive smoothly, anticipate traffic conditions and make smooth transitions”, explains Ángel Suárez. You should only stay in the lower gears for the first few seconds of driving and use the higher gears as soon as possible. It is best to follow the recommendations of the vehicle’s gear shift indicator or, if the vehicle does not have this system, try to shift gears before 2500 rpm.
2. Make full use of the Start&Stop system
If the engine is running while the car is stationary, it overheats and fuel consumption increases. Thus, an engine idling during short stops, for example, at traffic lights consumes about one liter of fuel per hour. Many vehicles are equipped with the Start&Stop system, which switches off the engine by default when you stop. Make sure it’s not disabled…
3. Maintain a constant speed and slightly below the limit
As we know, gear changes influence fuel consumption. It is therefore preferable to maintain the same speed as long as the flow of traffic and the road allow it. It is recommended on the motorway to drive 10 km/h below the speed limit as a measure of economy. Slowing down to 110 km/h on the highway alone is proven to save 11% fuel.
4. Use engine braking.
“Wherever possible, try to come to a smooth stop by taking your foot off the accelerator, to take advantage of the opposing pressure the transmission puts on the engine, before stepping on the brake pedal”, advises Angel. In this way, the car brakes gradually without depending on fuel, and consumption decreases. To use the engine brake, it is essential to anticipate and respect the safety distance. “The correct procedure is to use the engine brake while keeping the gear engaged. Do not shift into neutral, just take your foot off the accelerator. Thus, you will not consume any more fuel »he adds.
5. Turn off the air conditioning, a good idea?
Air conditioning is one of the most fuel-intensive non-driving factors, between 4 and 10% according to the IEA, but beware, lowering the windows at medium and high speeds creates a drag effect: the air enters the car and generates aerodynamic drag that slows it down and forces the engine to work harder to keep pace. So at low speed, you open the windows, but from 80 km/h, when aerodynamics plays an important role, turn on the air conditioning instead…
6. Don’t forget the tire pressure
This is an essential aspect of safety, but it also affects economical driving. Regularly checking the pressure of your tires would save at least 1.5% of fuel. In addition, Ángel Suárez advises to “first distribute the load correctly in the boot, as this also affects efficiency, then only adjust the tire pressure”. It goes without saying that a roof box penalizes fuel consumption.
7. Plan the route
A planned route can save fuel. Traffic jams or detours that we take when we are stuck and that cause us to get lost on unfamiliar roads can make the trip unnecessarily long. It is always better to plan your route, choose the times of the day when the traffic is less dense and make the same trip profitable to do several different things…
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