Ten factors that Affect Fuel Efficiency
Your car’s manufacturer publishes average fuel consumption figures regularly, which they arrive at through considered testing (in different driving cycles, conditions and temperatures) to work out a trustworthy average fuel consumption per vehicle model. This is why the manufacturer’s published figure is always a good indication of a car’s fuel efficiency, but it’s never set in stone and can still be influenced by a variety of factors.
Factors that Affect Fuel Efficiency
- Engine size
It’s a simple fact that bigger engines use more fuel.
- Vehicle size and weight
Again, put simply, a heavier car uses more fuel to carry itself.
Keeping your car in tip-top shape is important to maintaining fuel efficiency, because when upkeep is neglected, everything runs less efficiently, which usually results in a loss of fuel efficiency.
- Tyre pressure
Worn out or flat tyres pull your car out of alignment, which causes additional friction to your car’s momentum and directly influences its fuel consumption.
While this always impacts fuel used, it mostly has a role when you’re doing long-distance travelling. Less aerodynamic vehicles, like vans or SUVs, will experience more wind resistance, which, like tyre pressure, acts as additional friction and forces your car to use more fuel for the same speed otherwise.
Turbos are surprisingly good for fuel efficiency, against popular opinion. It’s a power-smart and fuel-smart choice. Turbocharged engines differ from naturally aspirated engines in that turbocharged engines artificially pump more air and fuel into the engine's combustion chambers, whereas naturally aspirated engines use natural air pressure to trigger combustion. This can help smaller engines produce more power. This means that you can achieve similar power to larger engines in smaller cars, avoiding the need to install big engines that guzzle fuel in many instances.
You’ll have often heard the adage that “regular short trips aren’t good for cars” and one of the reasons for this is because it guzzles your fuel. Your engine works best when it’s warmed up, and short trips simply don’t allow it enough time to do so, making your car use more fuel for the same results in long-distance travelling.
- Drive style
This goes without saying, but speeding, excessive or hard braking, and other bad driving habits or styles all impact your fuel consumption negatively. Like with most of the previous points, if you’re making your car experience more friction and weight, or regularly using more power than is necessary, you’re wasting fuel.
Motor oil lubricates your engine and so reduces the friction your engine experiences while running. The better lubricated your engine is, the easier it will run without friction, and the less fuel it’ll need to do so.