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Old 3rd October 2006, 13:17   #1
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ARTICLE: How to get the maximum Fuel Efficiency

There’s never good news when fuel prices are revised, since revisions have almost always been incremental. How often have fuel prices in India actually gone down? Fuel in India is now more expensive than ever before, making fuel efficiency (FE) a significant concern for any car owner.

Team-BHP enlists the various methods by which you can squeeze the most out of each drop of fuel. Each step by itself will account for a small increase, but if practiced in combination can increase your FE by as much as 20%!


• Drive smoothly: Aggressive acceleration and braking significantly increase the fuel consumption of your car. Develop a smoother driving style whereby you accelerate and decelerate in a linear and smooth manner. How you drive is very important to FE.

• Avoid clutch riding: Driving with your foot on the clutch results in “wastage” of engine power, which in turn increases your fuel consumption and wears out your clutch rapidly. Do not keep your foot on the clutch, except for when changing gears.

• Minimise Idling: If your car is going to be stationary for an extended period of time, switch the engine off.

• Choosing the right gear: Being in a higher gear at too low a speed, or in a lower gear at a very high speed increase your fuel consumption. It is important to shift up as “early” as possible without straining the engine. For most cars, the ideal shift point would be anywhere between 1500 – 2000 rpm.

• Maintain a constant speed: Varying speeds do not make the car as efficient as a constant speed will. Especially when out on the open road, try to maintain a consistent rate of travel.

• The Optimum speed: Aerodynamic resistance increases exponentially with speed. For e.g. at speeds over a 100 km/h, your car will consume a lot more fuel than at 80 – 90 km/h. Keep within this limit to maximize the FE of your car.

• A safe distance: Maintaining a healthy distance between your car and the one ahead is not only safer, but also leads to higher FE. This gives you a higher reaction time, better visibility and a smoother drive. Aggressive braking has a detrimental effect on your cars fuel efficiency.

• Around the corner: Short trips invariably make your car consume a lot more fuel. The primary reason is that every engine has an optimum running temperature, and very short distances will almost certainly result in your car running at a cold temperature for a majority of the distance.

• Windows drag: At high speeds, open windows can affect the cars aerodynamic efficiency. It is better to keep the windows rolled up and the air-conditioner on at speeds over a 100 km/h.


• The honest petrol pump: Considering the high amount of fuel adulteration and other fuel-industry malpractices, we highly recommend you to choose the right petrol pump. Tampered meters that result in under-filling, misappropriating bills and selling adulterated fuel are some of the most common malpractices. Company-owned filling stations are the best option, though there are some honest privately-owned petrol pumps also. Look around and opt for an honest reputable petrol pump. This alone can account for upto a 10% difference in your fuel efficiency.

• Appropriate tyre pressures: It is very important to maintain manufacturer-recommended tyre pressures to optimize the level of rolling resistance. Tire pressures can also be increased by1 - 2 psi if you live in a city with smooth roads. Please do not exceed this limit since it can cause uneven wear.

• Keep the car well maintained: Your car will gulp fuel voraciously if it is not in the right state of tune. Make it a point to keep your air-filters clean, engine oil changed and your engine healthy by sticking to the manufacturer recommended maintenance intervals.

• Upsized tyres: Wider tyres increase rolling resistance and rotating mass, thus hindering FE. Do not oversize your tyres.

• Light weight: Weight has to be carried around, and will result in additional work for the engine. Unload any unnecessary cargo / baggage etc. to keep your car as light as possible.

• The right fuel for premium cars: High-compression engines do not operate properly on the regular octane fuel available in India. To improve efficiency, it is important to use manufacturer-recommended grades of petrol.

• Recommended fuel additives: Some makes of cars (e.g. Opel Astra) are not able to run optimally on the Indian fuel quality, and their manufacturers recommend fuel additives to keep the fuel system clean. If your car came with this instruction, make use of the recommended fuel additives.


• Car Pool: Travel along with your neighbours / friends / relatives if the office timings and destinations are alike.

• Keep a FE car: Why use the guzzling SUV when your hatchback serves the purpose for daily running?

• Plan your trips to avoid traffic: You can beat rush-hour traffic by traveling either before or after peak hours.

• Club tasks together: Perform more tasks per trip, saving the need for repeated trips to the same destination.

• Walk it up: If the distance is very short, consider walking. It is healthy and saves fuel.

Last edited by GTO : 28th May 2008 at 13:41.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 13:31   #2
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A really educative and informative read! Well done Rush! I'm extremely impressed. And i've never expected anything less than this from you!


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Old 3rd October 2006, 13:39   #3
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car-related measure could include: ensuring a non-leaking exhaust. a leakage in the exhaust can easily bring down the fuel efficiency by 1-2 kmpl. This is a very common issue on cars older than three years.

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Old 3rd October 2006, 15:11   #4
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Thanks GTO.This is an invaluable addition in terms of content.A very welcome step forward.Best of luck.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 15:15   #5
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Very nice GTO. You forgot to add: Ensure you are present when filling up...Leaving things to the driver can easily reduce your FE drastically.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 15:59   #6
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A very informative list for the benefit of all TBHPians. Keep us the good work, GTO.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 16:12   #7
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Nice write-up, GTO. Pretty informative for those of us who value FE.

Originally Posted by GTO
Minimise Idling: If your car is going to be stationary for an extended period of time, switch the engine off.
To put a number to this, for 10mins of idling, you waste approx. 100ml of fuel. Do the math according to individual idling practice.

BTW, GTO, marriage seems to have had its effect on you.
First the car-pooling, now a list on bettering FE. All this coming from someone who used to be revv-happy and for whom FE was the least important factor in selecting a car (atleast that is what the tbhp archives indicate).
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Old 3rd October 2006, 16:12   #8
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Thanks GTO, really gud information and ways to improve FE.. Gud wirte up.. and one more thing to add is to get serviced your ride at regular intervals.. try to avoid cheap and second hand to be fitted on your car...
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Old 3rd October 2006, 16:57   #9
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Hi GTO!!
good write up man!! you put it all in one place! you were absolutely right about the shutting off the engine bit during long idling. the hyundai manual states that if the waiting period as more that 3 minutes, the fuel consumed is equal to 1 kilometer worth of travel!! something to think about isn't it?
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Old 3rd October 2006, 17:05   #10
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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno
To put a number to this, for 10mins of idling, you waste approx. 100ml of fuel. Do the math according to individual idling practice.
Are those figures considering A/C is on during idling ? If not , any idea how it might vary ?
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Old 3rd October 2006, 17:43   #11
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The problem with shutting down at long stops is that if A/c has been on, it gets really hot and stuffy and with a car with a weak a/c, cooling all over again is a pain. Basically, an exercise in discipline.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 17:45   #12
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shuvc, I do not remember any specific mention of A/C against those figures. I think we can just take this as an indicative figure, irrespective of whether A/C is part of the equation or not.

BTW, I was just googling this and what do I see? There are idling restrictions in some places (the US, for one), which specify the max. minutes you can idle in specified places eg. residential localities. Apart from fuel savings, the issue here is pollution/smog etc created due to idling.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 18:01   #13
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Nice one GTO.

What about filling fuel early in morning or at sunset to get marginally benefits? (read in our forum)
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Old 3rd October 2006, 19:28   #14
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What about good quality fuel? I guess that also adds to FE. Filling up from good bunk could be made as a practice.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 19:40   #15
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Great work GTO. Very informative. The best thing about our forum is the fact that it sets itself apart by its continous effort to promote the good and ideal ways of motoring while encouraging undying discussion and enthusiasm about mods and drags and everything else.

Is it true that lower tyre pressure can reduce your FE by upto 15-20 %?
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