With the price of fuel not likely to decrease significantly anytime soon, driving your vehicle is only set to get more expensive. However, there are some ways you can minimise the costs of driving.
Here are 7 tips recommended by vehicle experts:
1. Regular vehicle maintenance: Getting the vehicle serviced regularly (changing engine fluids, cleaning/replacing air filter, etc…) as per the time frames specified in the vehicle’s owner manual, is one of the most important ways of maintaining a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and minimising pollution output.
2. Check tire pressure monthly: Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires cause more friction as more contact with the road is created causing the engine to work harder and use more fuel. To know how much air should be in your tires check the owner’s manual or the label displayed inside of the driver’s door.
3. Eliminate unnecessary weight: Remove any junk, especially heavy loads that may be languishing inside your vehicle. More weight means more fuel will be burned.
4. Avoid excessive idling: It takes less fuel to start your vehicle than idling it for more than a minute. Some experts even recommend turning off the vehicle if you are going to be idling for more than 10-30 seconds. Most modern engines today are also designed to warm up quickly eliminating the need to idle for more than 30 seconds, even during winter before driving.
5. Do not drive aggressively: Avoid aggressive driving by accelerating gently and smoothly instead of like you are in a race. The harder you accelerate, the more bursts of acceleration, the more fuel consumed. Same goes for breaking. Anticipate stops by easing back on the accelerator or breaking early instead of aggressive or hard breaks at the last moment.
6. Avoid high speeds: Experts say that most vehicles operate most efficiently at speeds between 50 – 80km/h. Above this range vehicles consume more fuel the faster the speed. However, it should be noted that the speed limit in Bhutan is usually 50km/h in most areas, and that a slower speed provides the driver with more control and response time.
7. Choose another way of transport: While the above mentioned measures may help to minimise your costs, for maximum savings, the most fuel efficient and cost effective way of getting around would be to use public transport, bicycle or simply walk, if using your vehicle is absolutely not necessary. Another way, already gaining some popularity in Bhutan, is carpooling where you share a vehicle with your neighbours or friends to go to work or an event, and also share the costs.