While the Philippine economy has actually grown in the past several years, with our GDP at USD 304.9 billion in 2016 up from USD 199.6 billion in 2010, there's no doubt that people still need to find ways to save money. This is especially true with gasoline, as gas prices have been going up again and it's become increasingly prohibitive to drive your car in the same way today as it was one or two decades ago.
So in the interest of helping you save fuel while going about your daily business, we've put together a list of the top ways to reduce your fuel consumption and get more out of your gas tank.
1. Drive Fast
This may be counterintuitive to many people, but driving fast actually saves you more gas than driving slowly. The principle behind it is simple: your car uses roughly the same amount of gas each time you press the pedal, but the amount of distance you push is longer depending on how high a gear you use, and you can only use higher gears when you're moving at a certain speed with a certain amount of momentum.
Keeping your foot lightly on the pedal at 5th gear is going to get you through much more distance than doing the same at 1st gear, all for roughly the same amount of gas. There's a lot to be said here, but learning the proper driving techniques (coasting, anticipating traffic, keeping the RPM low) can save you up to 25% in gasoline if you keep moving at a brisk pace.
This doesn't mean putting the pedal to the metal! That's one sure fire way to waste gas. You need to find the optimal speed that you can maintain at your highest gear while keeping your foot as light on the pedal as possible. Just be sure to abide by traffic rules and stay safe!
2. Keep your car well-maintained
Some people think they can save by skimping on their car maintenance. They couldn't be more mistaken. Not keeping your tires inflated at the right pressure makes it much harder for your engine to push the car the right distance, meaning more gas spent for the same amount of movement. The same is true of a well-tuned engine, replacing worn out tires, making sure your suspension is in top working order, using the correct oil, and all the rest. Do the maintenance, it'll save you on fuel, and perhaps more importantly, expensive replacement parts and work if your car breaks down.
3. Combine short trips into one long trip
Warm engines work more efficiently and give you more mileage than a cold one. Heating up that engine takes time and fuel. If you are running many errands over the week, consider scheduling everything so that you do as much work as possible in just one trip. If you do all your groceries, bank visits, laundry, and other errands in just one longer trip, you'll reap the savings over time.
4. Keep the ride light
Another big waste of fuel is having a lot of heavy weight for the engine to push. Keeping your car light, and reducing drag, works wonders on fuel economy. Keep your windows up, the sunroof down, and making sure you don't have much excess baggage in the trunk will help your engine and reduce fuel consumption. You save about 2% in fuel consumption for every 100 pounds you lose on your ride, and air drag on your car can reduce fuel efficiency by 1% to 15%, especially things like big bike racks.
5. Ride Sharing
This won't improve your fuel economy per se as it actually makes more work for your engine, but having more people share the ride has its benefits – you split the costs for the ride, and in addition you help out the metro by reducing the number of vehicles on the streets. Not to mention less fossil fuel consumption for the world at large! You can start with a colleague who lives near you, but ride sharing startups are in the Philippines to help you share rides with other like-minded individuals. You can check out apps like Arcade City, which can get you started on ride sharing right now.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you take your car out for a spin, and remember that during the holiday season traffic is at its worst and will actually work against many of the good driving tips to save on fuel. With some practice and planning you'll surely be able to save some pennies while keeping your urban car-driving lifestyle.
- Images from gazoo.com