Automotive Fuel Efficiency: Useful TipsAs a consumer, being fuel-efficient starts at the showroom, whether you're looking to buy or lease a new or used vehicle. Indeed, the model you choose is the first and main deciding factor in determining how fuel-efficient you will be and how much fuel you will burn. Once your selection is made, your driving habits will prevail.
1. A Matter of Choice
Listen to your real needs
Remember that a vehicle's weight, power and displacement (4, 6 or 8 cylinders) will influence its fuel consumption. Therefore, if you're single and don't have a trailer to tow, or if you only use your car for the daily commute to work (not for off-road adventures), then why would you buy a big, gas-guzzling, four-wheel drive SUV? A compact or even subcompact car would easily do the trick.
Look for the EnerGuide label
The EnerGuide label is now affixed to all new vehicles with a gross weight of 3,855 kg (8,500 lb) or under, including passenger cars, light-duty vans, pick-up trucks and special purpose vehicles. The label shows the city and highway fuel consumption ratings as well as an estimated annual fuel cost for that particular vehicle.
CONSULT FUEL CONSUMPTION RATINGS
Our technical specification sheets give you access to many practical informations including Natural Resources Canada's fuel consumption ratings. These are also available online at the following link: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/tools/fuelratings/ratings-search.cfm?attr=8
Choosing the right transmission
Your choice of transmission will directly affect the initial cost of the vehicle and its fuel consumption. As a general rule, a manual transmission is about 5-10% more fuel-efficient than an automatic, assuming you shift properly. The manual advantage tends to be greatest on small cars with four-cylinder engines. For a typical driver, proper use of a manual transmission can save at least 100 liters of fuel annually.
Furthermore, when thinking about the kind of transmission to select, you should also be aware of your driving patterns. If you have problems with the clutch or don't use the gears to their best advantage -- if you're not confident in your ability to handle a manual transmission -- an automatic could prove a better choice.
Generally speaking, with an automatic transmission the vehicle becomes more fuel-efficient with a greater number of gears (for example 6 vs 4). That's because the extra gears are better able to keep the engine running at or near its most efficient level.
Nowadays, most new cars are available with a seemingly endless array of options: air conditioning, power windows, power-adjustable heated seats, heated/cooled cupholders, entertainment systems, fog lights, sunroofs, etc. A number of these options draw extra power from the alternator which, in turn, draws extra power from the engine. In addition, the more a vehicle is equipped with options, the heavier it gets, thus increasing fuel consumption.
A lot of people now use remote starters to start the engine and warm up the interior of their car. However, this promotes unnecessary idling, which wastes fuel and increases greenhouse gas emissions.
A roof rack -- loaded or empty -- will affect your fuel consumption by increasing aerodynamic drag. If you really need a roof rack, use a removable one.
Options for fuel economy
On the other hand, there are some options available to improve your fuel economy. By helping the vehicle start in cold temperatures, a block heater can improve overall winter fuel economy by up to 10 percent. Likewise, lightweight aluminum wheels reduce weight and improve fuel economy. Cruise control can also help drivers get the most out of each liter of fuel by maintaining a steady speed on the road.
Although trip computers don't directly affect fuel economy, they can show you how much fuel you are burning and challenge you to do better. As for navigation systems, they can help you save fuel by showing you the ideal route from point A to point B.
2. Adopting Good Driving and Maintenance HabitsIn order to maximize your fuel economy, it's important to become familiar with your vehicle's maintenance schedule and requirements -- and having the necessary work and repairs performed. It's also in your best interest to adopt good driving habits, such as:
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