How To Improve Fuel Economy In The Winter
How to Save Gas During the Winter
Winter can be a tough time for fuel savings, with the car forced to work harder in colder weather. Yet, it is both possible and easy to save gas with sensible driving and good car care during the winter season. Make every gallon count using these steps.
Note: Gas is also known as Petrol is some regions.
Inflate the car's tires regularly.Cold air decreases the pressure in tires; poor tire pressure increases resistance to rolling in snow and slush. To maximize your gas mileage, keep your tires' air pressure at the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Two missing pounds of air in one tire equal a fuel consumption increase by 1%,Improperly inflated tires will prevent faster rolling. In addition, under inflated tires may cause a loss of traction on wet surfaces or when cornering, something you can't afford to risk during the icy months. Remember that four bits of rubber are the link between your vehicle and the road. It is therefore in your own best interest and that of your passengers to make sure your tires are in excellent condition.
- When adding air to tires during winter, it is important to blow out a little air from each valve and the air hose before pressing it to the tire's valve stem. This will stop any buildup of moisture in the tire valve; which could freeze, expanding the valve and causing leakage of more air.
- Always carry your own tire gauge (preferably digital) for the most accurate reading.
Check the wheel alignment.Improper wheel alignment increases tire wear and reduces the stability of the vehicle. In addition, it is more work for the engine, which can increase overall fuel consumption up to 2.5 percent.
Avoid idling, unless the engine block is below a safe operating temperature.Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the car's engine. At idle, an engine uses a minimum of 0.2 gallons (0.8 L) of gas for every 30 minutes of idling and up to 0.7 gallons (2.6 L) for an 8-cylinder engine. A good deal of fuel is used during a warm up period, as many people incorrectly assume that idling for a long time is good for the car during winter warm-ups. For some cars, driving can be more effective for warming up the engine than idling. When starting the car on an average winter day, 30 seconds is sufficient for computer controlled, fuel-injected engines. Older cars will need longer, but no more than a few minutes. If you are cold starting your car, the best guide is to idle only until your coolant temperature is what it would be on a warm day. If you don't, then you could risk damaging things like the engine, drive shaft, and transmission. As you go about your daily tasks in your car, remember that idling the engine pollutes the air, which is why many cities and municipalities now limit or ban idling time unless it's an emergency. Instead of idling once your car's engine is warm, consider restarting the engine.
- Avoid idling by ringing ahead to check that the people you're collecting are ready to get into the car as soon as you arrive.
- Rather than sit in your car to watch a sports match or similar, find an indoor place to watch from. Wear plenty of additional clothing!
Avoid carrying excess weight in or on your car.Rid your car of unnecessary items as they weigh down your vehicle, making it less energy efficient. For every 1% increase in weight, there is a 0.5% increase in consumption in the city and 0.1% on the highway. Similarly, remove all equipment racks or bike racks on the roof when not in use (keeping them in the garage will help to preserve these items during the harsher winter weather, anyway). Due to aerodynamic resistance, a rack can increase fuel consumption by 5-10%. Any unused items lying in the trunk of your car leads to over-consumption of fuel as well.
- Remove snow build-up from the air intake at the top of the hood. If you leave it there, the air intake will cause the defroster to fog your windshield.
- Obviously, "excess weight" does not include winter emergency kits. All items you'd use in the event of a breakdown during winter should stay in the car. Also these kits should be checked for usability and durability at the beginning of the season (before any emergency arises).
Fill up your car early in the morning.When the outdoor temperature is colder, the density of gasoline or diesel is greater and it takes up less space in your tank. During the day as the atmosphere warms, the fuel in the tank expands and becomes less dense. Due to this, if you fill in the afternoon or evening, your liter is not equivalent to an exact liter anymore. The change in fuel density decreases the amount of energy in each unit of fuel. Gasoline expands 1% for every 15 °F (−9 °C) and diesel expands 0.6%.
- Make sure that the gas tank cap is secured properly. Evaporation of fuel can occur faster if the cap is not aligned and secured properly.
Avoid driving aggressively.Keep a light foot on the accelerator and be an alert driver, ready to react well before it's too late. Excessive acceleration and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by up to 25%. Moreover, on slippery and slick surfaces during winter, you're less likely to maintain control over the vehicle and an accident can result. Drive at a constant speed, slow down to adjust to the weather conditions, and remember that the speed limit is not a target.
Use your vehicle efficiently and effectively.Do you even need to go somewhere in the car? Places that are close present an opportunity for winter exercise. When you do need to go, plan your trip to go at times that are not excessively busy and do as much as possible to make value for each trip.
- If you live where it snows, it is best to wait until the road has been plowed before heading out. Your car has to work a lot harder to make it through the snow than when a path has already been made out for it. Even then, stick to tracks made by other cars rather than driving through freshly accumulated snow, no matter how light.
- Towards the end of winter, when things start warming up, use air conditioning sparingly. It increases fuel consumption, especially in cities. When a car makes frequent stops as is common in the urban environment, the outside air is refreshed, making it more fuel demanding. Do not to turn on the air as soon as you start driving––open the windows and let air into the cabin to lower the temperature. When you decide to put the air conditioner, close the windows and sunroof.
- If at all possible, park the car in a garage when it's at home and/or work. This keeps the car warmer, allowing you to bring the engine to optimal temperature faster.
- Check all car fluids regularly, including anti-freeze. Good maintenance throughout winter will ensure greater longevity of your car.
- Car batteries older than 3 1/2 years tend to be less effective, especially during winter. Check the leads and efficiency of the battery, or have it replaced after this time.
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