Making 145 Naira count : Ways to Improve Fuel Economy

Fuel Price signage
With the recent deregulation of Petrol in Nigeria, the pump price benchmark has increased from N87 per liter to N145 per liter. This 67% increase has the potential to increase the cost of living for the economy at large. However, the most direct impact will be on the cost of fueling your car. Considering this development, here are some tips on how to make every N145 count.
Optimizing your fuel economy in a particular car is dependent on the manufacturer rating, but there are a few practices that can increase or maintain the optimum fuel economy for your car.
Regular Maintenance
Ensuring that your car is regularly serviced is one of the easiest ways to optimize your car’s fuel economy. Things to consider include;
  • Optimal Tire Pressure : Low tire pressure reduces fuel economy by increasing the rolling resistance. ensuring that your tire pressure is at the manufacturer’s spec for your car will give you the best fuel economy. Here’s how to find the correct tire pressure for your car.
  • Replace worn out spark plugs
  • Replace dirty air filters.
  • Always use the the recommended motor oil for your car. You can find this information by looking on the oil cover of your car or asking a professional service technician. for example, If it says 5W30, use a motor oil with the same rating.
  •  Ensure proper wheel alignment:  You can check the thread dept on the edges of each tire. The wear should be about the same. If one side is lower than another, then your car needs a wheel alignment.
 fuel price2IMAGE credit: Ibadancity Announcer 
AC on or AC off
At low speeds ( below 70km/h) it is more economical to drive with the windows down and AC off. however at higher speeds ( above 70km/h) it’s better to roll the windows up with AC on as the increased aerodynamic drag from having the windows down negates the power consumption of the AC.
Buy Cold Fuel
Fuel is denser when cold. Since fueling pumps measure by volume, you get more when it’s pumped cold. Take out time to buy fuel early in the morning, the time at which the fuel is at its coolest.
Plan Your Trips
Planning your trip ahead helps avoid traffic which is a major contributor to high fuel consumption. Use Google maps to avoid getting lost and reduce unnecessary detours. In Lagos you can get real-time traffic updates by using Traffic radio or following the twitter handle of Giditraffic.
Streamline Your Car
Aerodynamic drag is a big factor in fuel economy especially at highway speeds. Here’s how to optimize your car’s aerodynamics.
  • Install aerodynamic mud flaps.
  • Remove all cosmetic spoilers, they add unnecessary drag.
  • Smooth/Flush wheel covers, they are more aerodynamic than multi-spoke alloy wheels.
Fueling a car with a Jerry can
IMAGE credit:
Modify your Driving Style
  • Drive smoothly. Use smooth and gradual pressure on the gas pedal and anticipate stops. Rapid burst of acceleration and stops adversely affects fuel economy.
  • Don’t idle. There is a misconception that every car needs to idle for proper function. However this is false. Modern cars are able to warm up very quickly both for fuel economy and emissions reasons. if you’re stationary for more than 30secs, turn off your engine.
  • Use cruise control when possible especially on light traffic highways.
  • Pulse and glide: for more extreme fuel economy measures, the technique of “pulse and glide” is used by hypermilers to optimize the operation of the engine management system. It involves accelerating the car to a certain speed slightly above your desired cruising speed(the pulse) and then letting go of the accelerator pedal and let the car coast to a certain speed (the glide) and then  repeat the cycle. It does take skill to master, but is very effective. You can find information on how to master this technique here and here.
Drive a scooter
Alternatively you can switch from a car as transportation to a scooter. They are cheaper to buy and maintain and are quicker than a car through heavy traffic in going from point A to B.
Featured IMAGE credit: Ibadancity Announcer