Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel
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Motorists have been advised to use a fuel consumption display that’s built into many newer vehicles to save money on petrol and diesel. Some cars may even come equipped with a more sophisticated display that analyses speed variations, shift points for manual transmissions and driving behaviours.
According to research, many motorists are able to consume 15 percent less fuel by acting on the feedback that the display provides.
The standard version of the display usually tells drivers how many miles per gallon they will get based on current driving behaviours.
This can help motorists improve their driving technique and lead to better fuel consumption.
A more in-depth analysis is also available in some newer vehicles.
Drivers can use the instant fuel consumption display if it’s available to them.
The instant fuel consumption display is able to compute exactly how many miles the vehicle is able to drive per gallon of fuel consumed based on the car’s consumption at that exact moment.
Sensors around the vehicle calculate the engine speed, fuel flow rate, throttle position and manifold pressure.
However, motorists should not rely on the in-dash displays too heavily, according to research by the AAA.
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The display that shows the number of miles a vehicle gets per gallon and range value can often be wrong.
The AAA said that estimates can vary significantly over shorter trips or are dependent on the consistency of things that affect fuel mileage, like speed and acceleration.
The vehicle testing – based on a series of simulated driving scenarios – was conducted by the AAA in collaboration with the Automotive Research Center of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
On average, the fuel economy display of the vehicles tested showed a relatively low error of 2.3 percent compared to the fuel economy measured by in-lab testing.
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However, individual vehicle errors varied greatly, which suggests that each vehicle reacted to changes in driving differently and that the accuracy can be impacted by driving style and conditions.
When it comes to driving behaviour, motorists have been urged to gently accelerate, drive in the highest gear possible and avoid harsh braking.
Looking after the condition of a vehicle is also crucial and that includes choosing the right tyres.
According to Kwik Fit, tyres account for up to 20 percent of a car’s fuel consumption.
Tyres typically lose air naturally, at a rate of up to two PSI (pound per square inch) every month.
Because of this, drivers are urged to check their tyre pressure regularly, as it can help preserve the fuel for as long as possible.
Ensuring the air in the tyres is topped up not only prolongs the life of the tread but also improves fuel efficiency as there is less rolling resistance on the road.
If the tyres are even slightly distorted due to incorrect tyre pressure, drivers will be using more fuel to keep the car running smoothly.
This is because of the added friction while driving that comes from a misshapen tyre.
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