The MCO kept most of us indoors in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19. Reduced movement meant seeing fewer cars on the road and because most of us were home, we got to drastically save on our petrol bills each month.
But now that things are slowly opening up again, people are going back to their daily routines and that just means two things: heavier traffic and more petrol usage.
Sure, one way to ensure you get your money’s worth each time you refill your tank would be to avoid high traffic times altogether. But that’s not always possible. So, here are some practical methods you can follow to help cut down on your monthly petrol budget.
1. Take the excess weight off your car
Let’s face it, at some point, all of us would have turned our cars into a mini storage area. It’s not uncommon to find boxes or bags in the boots of a lot of cars. Now, that might not seem like a very harmful thing, since cars are meant to transport belongings anyway.
But in the long run, it can be damaging to your precious vehicle. According to Automotive Fleet, an extra 200 pounds (that’s roughly 90.7kg) can take away one mile (1.6km) of fuel efficiency!
Besides causing your petrol to deplete faster, carrying too much weight in your car can also ruin its suspension. Make sure you know the maximum load your car can withstand and try not to exceed that. You surely don’t want to spend on fixing things you can avoid in the first place.
2. Don’t increase your speed suddenly
Unfortunately, we Malaysian drivers aren’t known for being the most courteous ones on the road, and we wouldn’t think twice about overtaking slow car in front of us. But suddenly accelerating your speed like that can force more fuel to burn. This also applies to instances where you weave in and out of traffic, repeatedly braking and pressing on the gas pedal.
To be much kinder to your fuel tank (and your wallet), increase your speed gradually. If your car has a cruise control feature, turn it on as that can be helpful as well.
3. Avoid letting your car idle for too long
If you’ve parked your car to wait for someone, don’t leave the engine running for too long. When you know it’s going to be quite a wait, ideally you should turn off the engine altogether. However, do note that starting and stopping your engine too many times can also take up a lot of fuel.
So, only if you’re sure that you’re going to wait quite awhile, go ahead and turn off your engine and wind down your windows for some fresh air.
4. Don’t miss any of your car service appointments
Up next on how to save on your petrol bills: servicing your car. We all know the importance of getting your car inspected frequently. Changing your black oil, timing belt, coolant and so on when needed will ensure you get to drive safely. Some other parts that get replaced during these routine checks are air filters and fuel filters.
Failing to put in new filters when it’s time means your car is going to burn petrol inefficiently. And besides just using up your fuel unnecessarily, you’re also going to end up releasing harmful gases into the air.
5. Be mindful of your AC usage
It’s common knowledge that your air-cond is powered by your fuel. Using the air-cond in itself isn’t an issue, but make sure you don’t frequently use it at the highest speeds, if it’s possible.
Colder AC only means more fuel usage, so if you really can help it, maintain it at lower levels. Living in a climate like ours means your car can get hot pretty fast. To keep your car cooler so you don’t need to use excessive air-cond, Automotive Fleet suggests parking it in shady areas.
Hopefully these tips will be of help to you, especially if you’ve just gone back to work (read: back to being stuck in traffic jams for hours). Saving on your petrol bills aside, we do need to be careful with how we use fuel as it’s a non-renewable resource and we need to ensure there’s enough for future generations.
Speaking of using fuel efficiently, below is a list of the most affordable fuel-efficient cars in Malaysia. Check it out and let us know what you think!