Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maximizing Your Gas Money

Second half of 2008 is the fourth time that the whole world was hit by oil crises since 1973, 1979, and 1990. When diesel and unleaded gasoline retails at close to Php 60/Lt, everybody became more conscious of transportation expenses. The only positive things from this spike in oil prices are (1) less depletion of this unrenewable resource; (2) less traffic and travel time; (3) less pollution; (4) encourages the use of more efficient technologies and energy sources.

Here are 10 tips from DOE to maximize your fuel consumption:
  1. Regularly tuning up any internal combustion engine is the best way to keep it in top fuel efficient condition. A poorly maintained car can waste up to 25% more fuel.
  2. Most engines should be started and kept running at the normal idling speed. Running it for any time longer than this to "warm it up" is a totally unnecessary procedure.
  3. The most fuel efficient speed is between 75 to 90 KPH. Driving at speeds more or less than this bracket will result in less kilometers traveled for the same amount of fuel burned.
  4. Plan your trips to maximize your load factor. Plan the timing and the route of your trips such that you will avoid being caught in the "thick" of traffic. Know your regular routes and always have an alternate route in mind. Learn to identify the tell tale signs of heavy traffic and when to use these alternate routes.
  5. A fuel efficiency conscious driver is one who knows exactly WHEN to shift to a higher gear without placing too much stress on his engine.
  6. Use gravity and inertia in your favor. Anticipate stops. Tests prove that a vehicle driven at 60 kmph can travel a distance of 650 meters by a gradual halt without additional fuel consumption.
  7. Filling your fuel tank early in the morning when it is cool will result in your being able to load about 3% to 6% more fuel as against filling the same tank during noontime when the ambient temperature is higher.
  8. Avoid fuel spillage. Don’t overfill the tank. Keep the fuel cap tightened to prevent fuel loss due to evaporation or spillage.
  9. Avoid “jack-rabbit” starts. Gradual acceleration in driving can save as much as one kilometer per liter compared to rapid acceleration.
  10. Minimize vehicle loads. Transporting unnecessary weight (accessories, 3rd row seats, running in full tank, etc.) in your car will cause it to add 10% to fuel consumption. But this is not an excuse too leave your mother-in-law on a vacation trip, hehe.
If you still want to scrimp on your transportation expenses, you can try driving an electric jeepney by Solarco for about P550,000. After an 8-hour charge that would cost you Php 150, you can drive it on a 120 km stretch with 17 passengers. Its 50% cheaper to use than the most efficient local compact cars, without the usual engine noise and pollution.

The e-jeepney’s downsides? There are limited charging stations even in Makati, and maximum speed is only 40 kph, so forget about travelling to NLEX and SLEX. Besides, at 40 kph speed in major thoroughfares, you will be a nuisance on the road causing heavier traffic, more fuel consumption and pollution to other vehicles. For now, the e-jeepney is recommended for villages and not busy roads, to replace the highly polluting tricycles and regular jeepneys.

Drive safely!
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