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Economy Jul 15, 2013

Petrol price hiked: Six tips to decrease consumption

By Bindisha Sarang

Petrol prices are again up by Rs 1.55 per litre, the fourth such hike in the past eight weeks because of deteriorating exchange rate and rising international oil prices, notes Firstpost today.

Fuel cost is already pinching middle class pockets, but here are six tips which you could imbibe to keep your personal consumption of fuel low.

Brake the braking habit: "If you are someone who likes using the brakes every now and then (and there are many who do so), you waste too much fuel." says, Abdul Khan, General Manager, Western India Automobile Association. It's best to inculcate the habit to drive in a smooth manner; whenever you brake heavily and forcefully, you lose more fuel. One way to ensure you slow down is to use the rolling resistance of the tires. Simply put, rolling resistance is a force which will gradually slow down any moving vehicle. Which means, when you know you will need to stop at a traffic signal, you can slow down gradually, instead of a sudden brake.

Fuel cost is already pinching middle class pockets, and this move will see many tank-up their cars with fuel to avoid problems later

Clutch and Gear: Another tip which Khan gives is to avoid driving with your foot placed on the clutch at all times; this causes the car to consume more fuel. The clutch has to be used while changing gears or when you want to start the car.

Khan says, "The traffic in the city is way too much, at times bumper to bumper. We have seen many people drive in wrong gears. To ensure fuel efficiency; you should drive in a gear that corresponds to the speed you are at. Driving at Bhindi Bazzar in Mumbai is very different from driving on a Mumbai- Pune highway."

Use of Air conditioner: Hemant Dalvi, Mumbai-based auto consultant, says, "To expect people to switch off the AC in the middle of the afternoon is unrealistic. But if you can avoid using an AC in the mornings and evenings when it's a bit cooler, it will decrease the fuel consumption." Auto experts say that AC increases the fuel consumption of the car by around 10%, so may be you can roll down the windows or use the fan mode instead. Finding a parking space is getting difficult by the day, but if you can park in a shade, it works best. The car takes lesser time to cool down, while a car parked in the sun can be as hot as an oven, which means you will use the AC longer.

Steering wheel movement: Unnecessarily moving the steering wheel for left to right to left (like a snakes moves) might look cool in movies, but not on the road. Of course, many are tempted to zip the car, this way when the road is empty, but this sideways movement increases the drag on the tyres and hence leads to higher fuel consumption.

Maintain the car: The car is after all a machine, if you maintain it well with proper and regular servicing; it will not only increase the fuel efficiency, but also the longevity of your car. Ensure your car is tuned properly and oiled regularly this can save a good amount of fuel. Khan, adds, "Also ensure that your car tyres has proper air pressure in them." This gives you better mileage by around 2%-3%. Air-filters need to be cleaned, and spark plug needs to be checked regularly too. The point we are making here is that with proper driving habits and a regular car maintenance strategy, you will get more bang for your buck.

Oops! We promised you six tips, but have ran out of one. You our readers are a part of the Firstpost team too, so go ahead and get back to us with your tip, which you use to ensure better fuel efficiency.

by Bindisha Sarang

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