Friday, April 10, 2009

How Smarter Driving improves your mileage drastically

A while back I came across an article in the Reader's Digest which detailed how a man was able to get an astonishingly high mileage from his car by driving smart. I tried some of the tips mentioned there and here is the result of my last 3 petrol fills:

2006 Model Hyundai Santro (normal petrol - no power or speed variant), tank full at first automatic filling cut. City driving mostly to office and back (one way 12 kms), grocery stores, bank, shopping etc. One trip to BIAL, one to Bannerghatta, maybe 40-50Kms in these trips with AC on, otherwise normal fan on.

This car never gave more than a mileage of 14 in normal city driving earlier. My Office is in K.R. Puram while I live in Whitefield - since there is always a return trip there is no question of a one way slope assisting the mileage. The results were a pleasant surprise to me as well. So what did I do different this time?
  • Minimize braking. Anticipate all speed breakers, slopes, crossings and signals where you end up slowing down. If I was at 40 kmph and there was a signal 200metres away, I would just put the car in neutral gear and reach the signal at a low speed and then brake.
  • Minimize Speeding. Avoided all un-necessary speeding and then sudden deceleration.
  • Keep Air Pressure in the tyres optimal
  • No use of clutch other than for gear change.
  • Key: Drive as much as possible in neutral gear. It is amazing to see the distance your car can cover in neutral gear when you use the momentum already present. If you need to change gears - switch them according to the speed you are running in (say on a barren road you are running in neutral at 60 kmph - then you can directly switch to 5th gear, however on a busy road you may switch to the 3rd from neutral when running 20 kmph)
  • Keep the windows rolled up to keep air drag at a minimum. Do not drive with partly or fully open windows.
  • Try to use the slopes on the road to your advantage. If one is driving at 30 kmph at the start of the slope and puts the car in neutral, she can maintain the speed with the assistance of the slope.
The man in the Reader's Digest article (sorry cannot find it online) could do 1.5 litres per 100 kms. Maybe that's something to aim for next time!


Anonymous said...

It is truly astonishing to note this fuel efficiency.On the flip side would n't this driving style severely compromise the pleasure of driving.

Nitin Goyal said...

It does not really diminish the pleasure. It makes driving intellectually stimulating when you start anticipating traffic.