Fuel Efficiency 101 (or, tips to save gas)

As I write this post, gas has dropped here in Toronto to 105.2 cents/litre. While this is much better then what it has been of late, it is still higher than what most of us would like. Even though motorcycles are very light on the wallet when it comes to the pumps it is always possible to reduce that burden more (even if ever so slightly) with minimal effort.

The following items apply to any vehicle (gas powered, that is) and comes from the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada and an employee of a petroleum company!

Tips on Driving and Maintenance:

~Follow the Manufacturer’s recommended maintenance. A poorly maintained vehicle can cost the equivalent of up to 15cents per litre more on fuel each time you fill up.

~Check fluid levels at least once a month. Check and change the engine oil and coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual. Also check around and under the vehicle for fluid leaks, and if there are leaks have them repaired.

~Measure your tire pressure at least once a month. Inflate cold tires to the recommended pressure. For every 28 kilopascals (4 pounds per square inch) of under-inflation, fuel use increases by about 2%. Properly inflated tires will last longer, make your vehicle safer to drive and save fuel.

~Reduce idling. If you are stopped for more than 10 seconds (except while in traffic) turn off your engine. It has minimal impact on the starter system, and idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it takes to restart your engine.

~Warm up your vehicle by driving it at a moderate speed. In most cases, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling from a cold start on cooler days. Vehicle components are best warmed up by driving the vehicle.

~Use cruise control. (My bike has one…) Under normal driving conditions, cruise control can save fuel on the highway by keeping your speed constant and avoiding inadvertent speeding.

~Remove unnecessary weight. Unnecessary weight can result in wasted fuel and needless CO2 emissions.

~Adopt fuel-efficient driving habits. Accelerate smoothly, as abrupt starts and stops waste fuel. Plan your driving and look ahead of traffic. Anticipate problems and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead to avoid sudden braking.

At the Pump

~Fill up your vehicle only in the morning while the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the
more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands.
A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

~While you are filling up, do not squeeze the trigger to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three stages: low, middle, and high. At a low speed you will minimize the vapors that are created while you are pumping.

~One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine.

~If there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, do not fill up. Chances are any dirt or debris that has settled in the tanks is being stirred up and could make its way into your tank.

I hope you can use some of these tips and save some money at the pumps. Every little bit counts.

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