Business News of 2014-02-03

Comment: Saving on fuel cost: The easy way out

Fuel prices and transportation fares have been on the gallop lately. Unfortunately, there is no hope of the prices coming down soon. That means one thing – consumers must take proactive steps so that we are not robbed dry at the pump. The following are several pieces of advice on how to conserve your fuel, so you make fewer trips to the pump.


Always keep an eye on tyres. Tyres are notorious for increasing fuel bills. Keep your tyres inflated to the appropriate pressure, and make sure they are wearing evenly. Align, balance and rotate your tyres as needed.

The reason is simple, an under-inflated tyre can cause more gasoline usage. It is important to check your tyres when they are cold, otherwise you will not get a proper measurement.

According to RAC Limited, a British automotive service company, about 50 per cent of the tyres on the road are under-inflated, this increases resistance and raises your fuel consumption. Driving with soft tyres can increase your fuel bills to about two per cent. See your car's manual for the recommended pressure and check your tyres once a week.


Nobody drinks dirty water hoping to be healthy and strong. It is the same with your car. Change your oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles.

The oil filter removes dirt and particles from the engine so that the parts are lubricated to move more freely. Old oil filled with participles gets less slippery and doesn't lubricate as well. Well-lubricated engine parts require less fuel to run and create less pollution.

Make sure you change the air filter at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. A new air filter allows more clean air to get into the engine, allowing it to burn more efficiently. Having clean oil also reduces the wear caused by friction of moving engine parts, and helps improve fuel consumption.

According to RAC, inefficient, under-serviced engines could reduce fuel economy by 10 per cent or more. So have your car serviced regularly.

Remove excessive weight

Another way to conserve fuel is to take excess weight off your car. Do not carry items that you do not need in your car. More weight causes your car to use more fuel.

Remove roof racks, carriers and removable seats when they are not in use, take out unnecessary boot luggage such as golf clubs and other sports equipment. Think twice about heavy accessories and wide tyres that add rolling resistance. Experts say on average, every 50kg will increase your petrol consumption by two per cent.

According to dedicated website save-petrol, flags and fancy sunroofs also increase a car's aerodynamic drag and increase fuel consumption. And carrying around the extra weight of fuel in a full tank will reduce fuel efficiency, so don't fill your tank up to the brim.

Handling your engine

It is important not to leave your vehicle idling for extended periods of time. For example, if traffic is stopped for more than five minutes, turn off your engine. Likewise, if you see that a drive-through line looks longer than a minute or two, park the vehicle and walk. A walk from Adabraka to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, for instance, may not just be a good exercise, but also a fuel cost saver.

Avoid revving your engine —revving the engine only wastes gasoline. Today's vehicles are manufactured so that you do not have to rev nor "warm up" the engine.

Change your driving habit

Your driving habits play a significant role in saving fuel. It is possible to drive the same distance within the same time using much lower fuel.

Accelerate slowly and change gears as you speed up. Do not increase speed fast, as it needs more power and you will end up consuming more fuel. Change gears, as you increase speed. Shift to the highest gear as soon as you touch 50 km/hour, according to RAC.

When starting from a dead stop, accelerate slowly. If you make a cold start, don't sit around idling. Move off as soon as you can and stay light on the accelerator until the engine has warmed up.

Reverse into parking spaces so you can drive smoothly away later without having to reverse when the engine is cold.

Regular maintenance

According to RAC, inefficient, under-serviced engines could reduce fuel economy by 10 per cent or more. So have your car serviced regularly. Dirty air filters can seriously reduce your fuel economy, according to the RAC. So change them regularly.

Changing routes and smart phone use

Waiting on signals, and driving through gridlock routes reduce speed and burns more fuel. Experts have a remedy for this: they advise you to use a less congested route to reach your workplace or home. Many a time we can choose between three and four alternative routes to get to the workplace or to get back home. Use the route which is relatively free and has the least amount of traffic congestion. Changing routes are not just about arriving early, it helps you to spend less on fuel too.

Ghana has not reached there yet, but elsewhere, smart phones have applications which give you real-time traffic movement. For instance in the UK, you can use Google maps which give you real-time traffic update along with the speed at which traffic is flowing. Hopefully, we would get there soon as our tech savvy application developers get innovative.

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