Steps you can take to cut down your fuel expenses!

So the petrol prices have touched a whole new level in Pakistan with last night’s increase. New price of petrol is Rs209.86 whereas the diesel is at 204.15 rupees. Considering the inflation and average income, a lot of people are going to feel squeezed with the latest price bump. Unfortunately, those who rely on vehicles, whether private or public, will have to bear with this additional cost. In this blog we are going to talk about some of the few points that can help you curb the fuel cost to some extent. Of course nothing is as effective as the reduced prices in the first place, but still there are some things that you can do to reduce the wastage of the fuel as well as reduce your overall cost spent on motor vehicles and transportation.

Buying a used car? Keep an eye on these things before you do!

Walk

There is no better way to save your fuel money other than walking. I know it seems obvious, but for some reason, we still feel compelled to use our cars or bikes even if you have to go to the shop in the next street. You do not have to get your car out to go get “anday double roti” from your local market. If it was taking you 2 minutes by car, it would take you like 7-8 minutes on foot. Save whatever you can by walking and doing things you can do easily without having to drive a fuel thirsty lumbering medal box everywhere.

Cycle

Second logical step is to cycle. Dust off that old Sohrab cycle you have kept in your store and start cycling to shops near you instead of taking the car or the bike. Cycling for people who live in congested areas as well as those living in gated communities can take great advantage of. Yes it is tricky and downright dangerous to take them on the main fast pace roads in your cities, so maybe don’t take them there. But otherwise they are a great mode of transportation.

Needless to say both walking and cycling are excellent workouts as well. You might lose a few kilos by the time prices of petrol reduce in the future, which is highly unlikely to happen to be honest so keep pedalling that cycle.

Downsize

This is something that won’t be a choice for many, but if you can do it, you will benefit from it greatly. If you own a 1800cc car, maybe get a 1500cc car. If you own a 1500cc, maybe get a 1200/1300cc car. For those who have some spare funds, they can buy a smaller 660/800cc or a 1000cc smaller car; new or used. And if you do not want to buy another car, or do not want to downgrade from a bigger car to a smaller one, maybe think of getting yourself a motorcycle. A nice 150 or 125cc motorbike can not only keep up with the traffic if you have to ride it to your commute to office on a main road, it will also be considerably cheaper than a car when it comes to running cost (fuel consumption and maintenance).

So you do not want to do any of the things mentioned above. Okay, to each their own. Here are some steps you can take with regards to your car and your driving habits that can help you save whatever fuel you can possibly save.

Lose the extra weight

It goes for both you and your car. Lose those extra pounds in the shape of all the junk you were too lazy to take out of the trunk of your car. Keep it clean and light and it can give you whatever small advantage it can. Why is the baby seat still in the back? Clean your car. Those dead phone chargers in the glove compartment need to go. Give those carpet rugs extra dusting. Give it a wash, and make sure you get under the body to remove all the dirt and mud piling on top of each other. Throw those empty soda bottles and cans that have been piling up in the back under the seats.

Plan your route

You really do not need to get those chocolate brownies from the local bakery at 6 in the evening when all the people are out in markets. If you go to the office at a fixed time and face rush hour every time, maybe try adjusting the time; leave 10 minutes before the usual time and see how it goes. 

Choose a route that has less signals, and choke points even if it’s a couple of kilometres longer. The smoother the drive, the less fuel is consumed and less wear and tear as well.

Rethink your driving habits

There really is no need to race that Mehran blasting Sidhu Moose Wala with 7 boys in it doing 80 in a 40 zone. Let them go. Be gentle with the car. Abrupt accelerating and braking and accelerating again and again is going to significantly increase the fuel consumption of your car. You really do not need to race off the road signal line every time you are in front. Be gentle with the race pedal. Speed thrills but also significantly drops the fuel economy of your car. Control your inner boy racer.

Anticipate when driving. If you see that road signal about to turn red, just cruise to the halt instead of racing towards it and then braking hard. 

On motorways, instead of doing 120 km/h, reduce your speed by 10 or 15 km/h. It will take you a little longer to reach, but you will be doing some excellent per litre mileage.

Fueling

Get fuel early in the morning. Fuel expands and contracts according to the temperature. In day daytime during our hot summers, and especially at noon and even in the evening, the fuel in the underground tanks of petrol stations gets hot and the fuel gets thinner. Thinner fuel means you are getting less fuel. In the morning, the fuel gets time to cool down throughout the night and you can take whatever small benefit there is from it. 

Also, do not let the fuel station attendant fill the tank at full speed. Tell him to use the slowest setting on the filling nozzle. 

Do not let the fuel tank get to empty before your next fillup. Petrol evaporates significantly in empty space than in a filled state. Also, you need to avoid going to the station again and again. This is especially important for people who live far from a fuel station or there is no fuel station in their daily commute and they have to drive an extra mile or two to get the fuel. Those extra kilometres are going to add to the wastage. 

And lastly, try finding reputed fuel stations near you that do not do “hera pheri” with fuel.

Regular maintenance

Be good to your car. Get those spark plugs checked/replaced that you have been running for last 80,000 km since you bought the car. Change that clogged up air filter. Get that fuel filter changed as well when you are at it. And always get quality engine oil. Also, use recommended viscosity engine oils. The rule of the thumb is, thinner the oil, the more average you will get since the engine gets to work relatively freely compared to a thicker oil. Thicker oils are good in extreme conditions but they do cause engines to work a little extra hard. But keep in mind that you will not see any considerable fuel consumption reduction by just changing the oil. Also, the jump between viscosities needs to be a little aggressive; like from 20W-50 to something like 5W-30 or ideally 5W-20. But please consult your mechanic/technician before changing the engine oil viscosity as it is entirely possible your engine might not even be healthy enough to bear the change. This is especially true for older engines that have been running on the same thick oils for decades. 

While you are at it, get the air pressure checked in your car as well since it also affects the fuel consumption. Low pressure means your engine will have to work extra hard to move those lumpy fat tyres. Properly inflated tyres not only provide optimal braking, it also reduces the drag which in return improves fuel economy and it also increases the life of the tyres. Considering how expensive the tyres have gotten in these few weeks, you need to be conservative with your current rubber. Maybe refrain from burnouts for a little while.

So these are only some of the tips that we hope can help you reduce your monthly fuel bills. There are a lot of other things that can be done, but for now, this is pretty much it. Let us know what you think and also, do share whatever fuel economy tips and tricks you use in your daily routine in the comments section below. Until then, happy motoring. 

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