10 tips to save fuel and improve your fuel efficiency

10大駕駛慳油秘訣

For Hong Kong drivers, the biggest expense has to be the gas. This is compared to the price of your car, parking lot fees, and regular checkups and repairs. Unfortunately, petrol prices continue to climb in 2020. However, compared to other costs, you actually have some control over your gas costs. As long as you develop good habits to save fuel, it's not impossible to save up to several thousand dollars a year!

Today at Kwiksure, we'll show you the 10 most common ways drivers save fuel.

Keep your driving speed constant

Avoid unnecessary speed-ups, slow-downs, and brakes. According to the annual Fuel Economy Guide by the United States Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, 40 to 50 km/h is the optimal speed for gas-saving. Once you go over 60 km/h, your fuel efficiency will decrease by 7% every 5 km. If you speed on a highway, hard accelerates, or hard brakes, your fuel efficiency will even drop around 10%-40%.

There are countless traffic lights in Hong Kong. Most drivers will accelerate or brake without realizing it, just to get past one more traffic light. Sometimes you might even follow the car in front too closely to be safe. A better way to do this would be to select a lower gear when you start the engine, then lightly steps on your accelerator. As you accelerate, switch to high gear to avoid your engine reaching the red area on the tachometer when you change speed. Going uphill? Change to high gear when there's enough power, so you could steadily continue up the hill. Remember to avoid stepping too hard on your accelerator.

So, is your driving speed the slower the better? Not really, because when your car is at low gear at low speed, there is less friction from the ground and less air resistance. Moreover, it's easier on your engine. However, the fuel you used up isn't to move forward. Instead, it's spent on heat dissipation inside your car. That's why fuel efficiency remains low. 

Try installing some driver feedback devices. They help you to both improve your driving skills and fuel efficiency.

Avoid going downhill on neutral gear

You can indeed avoid using gas if you drive down a hill on neutral gear. However, this means you'll rely on brakes completely to control the speed. In the long run, repeated braking will cause the car exterior to overheat. Then, the surface will oxidate, and friction decreases. In the end, your ability to brake will have diminished significantly. So, go for a lower gear when you drive down the hill. Make use of your running engine's resistance, so you won't have to rely too much on your brakes.

Lighten your trunk

Get rid of unneeded things in your trunk to improve fuel efficiency. According to research, every 100 pounds less in your car means 1-2% of fuel saved. We recommend all drivers to clear out the junk in their trunk when they have some spare time. 

Most cars have a spare tire installed. Drivers can consider whether they should keep it in their car. Actually, there are many light-weighted tire-repair kits and tools available for handling flat tires. If they really don't work for you, it's also very convenient to call for a towing service.

Halving your fuel tank doesn't make much of a difference

When it comes to reducing fuel efficiency, most people immediately think of refilling only a portion of their fuel tank. The idea here is that when your car is lighter, you'll use less fuel. However, a regular car - even on a full tank - only weighs around 40 kg. It follows that a half-full fuel tank will only be 20kg. Not only does this have very little impact on saving fuel, but you'd also have to head to gas stations often. In the end, it might still be a loss for you.

Keep tire pressure in the right range

As for car tires, some car owners like to remodel their wheel rim with an attractive design. For example, they would turn a 16-inch rim into an 18-inch. However, a wheel rim that is more than 18 inches in size is only suitable for automobiles with high horsepower and high-torque. 

For a regular family car, it'll make the start and acceleration slower, increase fuel consumption, or even harm certain car parts like the gearbox.

In addition, even if you have customized your tires with extra width and height to meet the guidelines, remember to pump your tires regularly. Otherwise, the tires won't have enough air. This will also increase fuel consumption.

Avoid modifying your vehicle

You might increase fuel consumption and your chance of losing car parts if you modify your vehicle. This is despite the fact that these changes seem to only involve electricity consumption, such as adding interior lights. To clarify, the electric current in your car is actually converted through gasoline. In other words, as you use more electricity, you use more fuel. This is likely to shorten your car's battery life.

For the same reason, avoid constantly charging multiple devices, such as smartphones and laptops in your car. Also, we recommend that you don't turn the air-conditioning up too high in the summer. Instead of aircon, open your window in the winter to reduce both electricity and fuel consumption.

Turn off the engine when you stop the car

The government has implemented a power-off policy for many years. In fact, power-off parking is not only environmentally friendly, but you can also avoid idling the engine. For every 5 minutes of idling, the amount of fuel your car engine consumes is equivalent to driving about 1 km.

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is very important. This is regardless of whether it's a self-inspection or an annual checkup by your car factory. It's especially the case as your car ages, and its mileage increases. Of course, the probability of car problems will also increase. That's why maintenance and repairs keep your car's various components including the engine in their best operating condition. Moreover, by doing this, you maintain fuel efficiency and reduce the possibility of accidents.

Regularly clear out carbon deposits

Carbon deposit is impurity found in gasoline. It accumulates in the engine over many years, particularly if you drive slowly in the city. Since the engine speed is low for a long time, carbon deposit is more likely to form. To remove them, avoid long-term slow driving. Also, you can occasionally speed up for a small distance under safe conditions. This way, you would steer clear of carbon deposit formation. Lastly, drivers can visit car care service companies, so they could use hydrogen to remove engine carbon deposits for you.

Shop for fuel-efficient cars

There is no shortage of fuel-efficient vehicles in the market. With the introduction of more and more Hybrid models and electric vehicles, you can greatly reduce fuel consumption by buying fuel-efficient vehicles in the future.

Want to learn more money-saving tips? Check out our previous article: Guide to running a car in Hong Kong 2020.

Having served Hong Kong for more than 20 years, Kwiksure is a well-known auto insurance broker. In addition to car insurance (third-party and comprehensive), In addition to car insurance (third-party and comprehensive), Kwiksure also provides a variety of products such as domestic helper insurance, motorcycle insurance, VHIS, and other products. You can use our online quotation system to get a free quote! If you wish to chat with us, you can contact our expert insurance advisors, who can provide unbiased suggestions to help you compare various insurance plans!