SAO PAULO – In view of the rise in fuel prices, driving a car has been more expensive in recent months. The liter of gasoline rose 27% from January to August, according to the Ticket Log Price Index (IPTL).
The survey by the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), shows that gasoline, whose average price was R$ 6,007, was sold at R$ 7,199 in the week of August 29 and September 4, according to the latest release. In the same period, ethanol, whose average price was R$ 4,611, was found at R$ 6,999.
In a recent report, the InfoMoney He explained that among the reasons that drive prices up are the dollar price of oil, the delta variant and geopolitical risks.
But given the economic crisis generated by the pandemic and the high unemployment rate, how is the situation of consumers who have a car and need to use it to get around?
A study by the automotive consultancy Jato Dynamics shows that, if the driver applies good driving practices and maintains discipline in relation to car maintenance, it is possible to reduce average fuel consumption by up to 35%.
“As simple as the tips seem, applied in everyday life they can indeed make a difference – even more in a time like the one we are going through”, explains Milad Kalume Neto, director of Jato Dynamics.
According to him, used and used cars tend to have an economy performance closer to that 35% — as long as the consumer follows the tips — than new cars.
“The new car is all tuned up, working within factory parameters, so its engine is more efficient, new electronic injection, technologies working 100%. In these cases, by following the tips together, the consumer will be able to save about 20% of fuel, on average”, says the executive.
In addition to Milad, the InfoMoney he also spoke with Raphael Galante, an economist specializing in the automotive sector and columnist for the InfoMoney, to understand how to save. Given this scenario, the experts’ tips are welcome, but they are valid under any circumstances, including for flex cars. Check it out below.
1. Do not stretch gears when changing
The more you respect the engine speed, the better the car’s efficiency and consumption will be.
Engine speed is measured by RPM (revolutions per minute) and gear changes must be performed when the speed reaches, on average, between 2,000 rpm and 2,500 rpm — many cars signal the recommended time for changing gears and this level may vary depending on the model.
Most of the time, when exceeding this range of rotation, fuel consumption will increase as the person is accelerating, forcing the gear unnecessarily.
In practice, this means that it is recommended to avoid straining the gears in order not to needlessly waste extra fuel.
2. Keep care of the tires
The driver must pay attention to the calibration of the car’s tires: flat tires consume more fuel, because they increase the contact area, therefore, the friction with the road. It’s as if the car was “stuck” to the ground, demanding a performance above what is necessary and, thus, consuming more fuel.
It is worth remembering, however, that the recommendation is not to calibrate as much as possible, on the contrary. Tires must be calibrated according to factory recommendation. Overinflating the tire will have another effect: it will wear out the rubber faster, and it’s not a cheap item to change.
The alignment also needs to be up to date because when it is done it wears less on the tire.
3. Use less air conditioning in the city
The car’s air conditioner receives load from the engine to run through an internal connection, thus directly impacting fuel consumption.
In this way, the consumer can try to leave the windows open and avoid using the air when possible. But it’s always worth considering security and the situation.
4. Avoid open windows on the road
If in the city, ideally, it is better to use the windows open, on the road the tip is the opposite: when walking with the windows open at high speed, it creates resistance against the direction the car is going, which hinders the car’s aerodynamics.
As a result, fuel consumption increases – in some cases, it can even be greater than the expense of running the air conditioning. So the idea is to strike a balance and make smart use of air and windows.
5. Avoid neutral
Some drivers use the famous “toothless”, that is, leaving the car in neutral while going down a slope, for example. But the experts’ recommendation is to avoid leaving the car in neutral.
When leaving the car in neutral, the engine is injecting fuel at all times so that the vehicle does not die, which increases fuel consumption – contrary to what many people think.
Thus, when descending the mountain towards the coast, for example, the tip is to leave the car in gear on the way down and accelerate little, taking advantage of the terrain.
Still, there are some driver “vices” that are not recommended. An example is accelerating the car in neutral or disengaged to “warm up”.
By doing this, the consumer is wearing the parts and triggering the engine unnecessarily and consuming fuel for nothing.
6. Do not accelerate or brake hard
Another tip is to maintain a peaceful posture in traffic. Aggressive attitudes such as accelerating and braking hard also impact fuel consumption.
Accelerating abruptly increases engine speed and requires more energy from the system as a whole, which will cause the vehicle to consume more gasoline than necessary.
Likewise, braking abruptly in a situation where this attitude is not required (such as to avoid an accident, for example) also requires more energy from the car than necessary for the act of slowing down.
7. Keep the speed constant
In the same line as the previous tip, the tip is to keep your driving constant, which will naturally help to save fuel.
By maintaining a constant steering you balance the engine and require as little energy as possible.
There’s no way to keep the speed constant 100% of the time, but keeping this in mind on a daily basis can help.
8. Perform preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance is crucial to keeping the car efficient and economical. With everything working flawlessly, the trend is for the vehicle to have an optimized performance.
Thus, it is essential to regularly check the car’s performance, and observe whether it is necessary to change air, oil and fuel filters and replace the spark plugs, for example.
The challenge, however, is for the driver to maintain discipline and take care of the car as recommended by experts.
To get an idea of the effects on everyday life: a dirty air filter, for example, reduces the air flow to the engine and harms the engine’s performance. Ideal is to follow the exchange periods indicated in the car manual.
In addition, poor quality oil or even expired oil will increase engine friction, causing overheating, which — in addition to being dangerous — also increases fuel consumption.
In general, it is necessary to keep an eye on the “health” of the engine so as not to cause excessive wear and consequent increase in consumption.
Also, preventive maintenance tends to be cheaper than corrective calls when there is a diagnosed problem to resolve. So, even for the consumer’s pocket, it’s better to pay attention to maintenance.
9. Reduce vehicle weight
Another tip is to avoid extra weight in the car. In practice, the greater the car’s weight, the greater the fuel consumption.
A box in the trunk makes no difference, but toolboxes, equipment, bicycle racks, removable luggage racks, or products that the driver does not use and remain in the car can be removed. The idea is to carry only the essentials.
Another tip is to keep the vehicle clean of mud, for example, which can give this extra load. The consumer has several options to try to save fuel. As simple as the tips are, it’s worth a try, as the experts explained.
A study by the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) points out that for every extra 45 kg in the vehicle, fuel consumption increases by 1%.
10. Choose the right gas stations
Fuel quality also needs to be taken into account. It is important for consumers to be aware of unknown brands and values that are out of the current reality.
The tip for the consumer is to fill up at a reliable gas station to avoid the famous “baptized” fuels, altered or even defective pumps.
Another tip is to organize yourself for long trips to avoid refueling at the first gas station found. After all, due to the lack of supply, these stations can increase the value for the consumer and increase their margin.