Sunday, June 15, 2008

Petrol Saving Tips: Part II

For too long, Malaysians have had smooth drive due to petrol being an affordable commodity. Now, with the price of petrol being squeezed to a new high of RM2.704 per litre, there’s certainly a need to look at our driving habits and how we can go the distance with the fuel in our tank, writes CHAI MEI LING (NST).

THE fuel frenzy has begun. From the Bruneian government lashing out at its petrol
wasting citizens, to irked gas users taking to the streets in Indonesia, the world is finding the spiralling cost of oil price too hot to handle.

The time is nigh perhaps for Malaysians, cushioned still by the unrealistic fuel subsidy, to arm themselves with fuel
saving tips before weaning starts.

While there are no hard and fast rules to improving fuel economy, perhaps these pointers, when implemented collectively, might be useful in stretching the ringgit to the max as you cruise behind the wheels.

1. Keep tyres properly inflated
- Check your tyre pressure check. Under
inflated tyres wear off faster.
- And an under inflation of as little as one pound per square inch can reduce fuel efficiency, says Helen Taylors on Shell's FuelSave website.
- Helen and her husband, John, set a Guinness World Record last year for fuel efficiency by travelling an impressive 28,970km around the globe on just 24 refills of Shell Super with Fuel Economy formula.
- Regular sized tyres are best kept at 28 to 32 psi.

2. No to reckless driving
- Weaving in and out of the traffic at high speed pumps up more than the adrenaline rush. It pumps up your fuel use, too.
- Aggressive driving can guzzle up to a third more fuel than safe driving.
- The trick is to drive smoothly, keep the revs low, and not brake too hard.

3. Use air
conditioning sparingly
- Yes, we understand that sweaty armpits don't make a nice sight.
- But on rainy days, switch off the air-conditioner or use it sparingly.
- Air-conditioning puts added strain on the engine and contributes to fuel consumption.
- And if weather permits, you can wind down the window .
- Whilst you will lose some fuel efficiency through aerodynamics, it is still far more economical than using the air-conditioner, says John.

4. Slow and steady does it
- Speed is a huge factor when it comes to fuel economy. The faster one drives, the more wind resistance there is, and the harder the engine is made to work, says Taylors.
- It has been proven that driving just five miles per hour over the speed limit can dramatically increase fuel consumption.
- Ismail Abu Talib, senior technical executive with AAM, recommends cruise control on highways to maintain a constant speed of 60-80kmh.
- Most vehicles have a certain steady speed range that, if adhered to, will result in good fuel consumption.
- For example, the best fuel
efficient speed range for a 4x4 pickup is between 60 and 80kmh.

5. Avoid excess weight
- Whenever your mother yells at you for cluttering up the car, thank her.
- Heavy load burns more fuel. That means no golf clubs in the boot, books on the floor, and half your closet on the passenger seat.
- An extra 100lb in the trunk reduces a typical car's fuel economy by 1
2 per cent, says

6. Avoid idling
- Your vehicle goes on a drinking binge when caught in a traffic snarl.
- Avoid congested areas by travelling outside of peak hours and use alternative routes.
- If you're in a car waiting for someone, turn your engine off. Idling gets you nowhere, but still burns fuel.

7. Select the right gear
- If you rev the engine and speed off the moment the light turns green, your car burns petrol way faster than it can pull away.
- Over
revving during gear changes, and driving in a gear lower than you need, are surefire ways of fuel wastage.
- Try to accelerate gently and smoothly, and get into high gear quickly as possible, says Isuzu Malaysia's Zaqi Zacary.
- For manual transmissions, change through the gears into top gear without accelerating harder than necessary.
- Automatic transmissions will shift up more smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gains momentum, he adds.
- Always use a gear that corresponds to your speed requirement.

8. Think ‘aerodynamic’
- Wash it, polish it and wax it.
- A clean and shiny car doesn't just look good
it reduces resistance.
- Remove the roof rack too, if not in use, as it affects aerodynamic efficiency.

9. Service your vehicle regularly
- Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.
- Scheduled maintenance services, as determined by the car manufacturer, keep your vehicle in top notch and cut costs in the long run.
- For example, changing the engine oil reduces internal mechanical friction, which is the root cause of fuel consumption, says Ismail.
- Twice a year, get your car tuned if it's fitted with a carburettor, he adds.
- A well-tuned engine also stretches fuel consumption.
- Another recommendation is to change the clogged air filter every 20,000km.
- This cheap trick (RM12
RM50) can improve mileage by as much as 10 per cent.

10. Switch to a Natural Gas Vehicle
- AAM proposes for more drivers to switch to NGV for better mileage and better environment protection.
- The gas cylinder and conversion kit costs between RM1,000 and RM2,000 but in the long run, it saves up a huge sum.
- Cars run on 20-30 sen of petrol per kilometre, but NGV does it on 8-10 sen. You do the math.

Petrol Saving Tips: Part I

This is a message received from a friend. Now that cost of petrol has gone up, you might want to post this and help people save some money.

1. Only buy or fill up your car or bike in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold.

Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground, the denser the fuel, when it gets warmer petrol expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening, your litre is not exactly a litre. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the petrol, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products play an important role. A 1 degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

My comment: A friend told me this a while back, but didn't get to practise this that much.

2. When you're filling up, do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode.

If you look, you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode, you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimising the vapours that are created, while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapour return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapour. Those vapours are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less worth for your money.

My comment: I have been practising this since I found out a few years back, and refuse to let anyone else do it.

3. One of the most important tips is to fill up when your tank is half full.

The reason for this is, the more fuel you have in your tank, the less air occupying
its empty space. Petrol evaporates faster than you can imagine. Petroleum storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the petrol and the atmosphere, so it minimises the evaporation. Unlike service stations, every truck that we load is temperature compensated, so that every litre is actually the exact amount.

My comment: My dad told me to top up when the tank is half full, and I have followed his advice all this while. Now I know why.

4. If there is a fuel truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy, do not fill up.

Most likely the petrol/diesel is being stirred up as the fuel is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Hope, this will help you get the maximum value for your money.