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12 Tips to Cut Down Your Fuel Costs in Singapore
Singapore’s stop-start urban driving environment is not great for fuel efficiency, but there are ways to minimize your fuel use and save money at the petrol pump in the process. Here are 12 top tips (plus a bonus in case they don’t help) to make sure your car is getting as many kilometres per litre as possible and reducing your fuel bill in the process.
Slow Acceleration Uses Less Fuel
Every time you pull away from a standstill, you’re asking your engine to push two tonnes of car along. That takes energy. The faster you want to accelerate that two tonnes, the more energy—and fuel—you will use. Gentle acceleration is the way to go.
Lower Your Engine Speed
A four-cylinder engine creates 2,000 air/fuel mixture explosions a minute at 1,000rpm, and 10,000 at 5,000rpm. The lower your engine speed, the less fuel it will use. In an automatic vehicle gentle acceleration should encourage the transmission shift up sooner as long as you’ve selected Drive and not a lower ratio. In a manual, you need to do it yourself—choose a higher gear as soon as possible.
Drive On the Highway
You do a lot more braking and accelerating in city streets compared to expressways—cruising along at a steady speed is more efficient than stopping and starting and will get you to your destination faster as well. Try to plan your routes to take advantage of this fact.
Lose Some Weight
For every 114 kilograms in your car you lose about half a kilometre per litre in fuel efficiency, so don't drive around with a bunch of junk in your boot if you can help it. The lighter your load the heavier your wallet.
Anything that disrupts the airflow around your car also lowers your fuel economy, particularly at highway speeds (see next tip). So take off the roof rack if you're not using it to save yourself some money. Having the windows down also creates more drag, so keep them up if you can. Not difficult to do here in tropical Singapore!
Aerodynamic drag increases as a square of speed, so if you double your speed from 50km/h to 100km/h, you’re increasing the drag four times and increasing your fuel consumption along with that. Slow and steady wins the fuel-economy race.
When your engine is running but your car isn't moving, you're getting exactly zero kilometres per litre. If you need to wait in the car—even just for a little while—turn the engine off and save some petrol. For the same reason, try to avoid heavy traffic by leaving earlier or later for your daily commute.
Turn Down the Air Conditioner
Not an easy one to do here in Singapore but at the same time you can cut back on air-con usage. Having the cold air blowing at full blast means your engine has to work harder to keep up. This can lower your fuel economy by as much as 20%.
Poorly maintained cars often get lousy fuel economy. It might cost a bit to have a mechanic tune-up your car, but the money you save at the petrol station—and a more reliable car—will help make up for it.
Pump Up Your Tyres
Underinflated tyres can reduce your fuel efficiency by 3% or more. But don't overinflate them either. Doing that will make them wear out much quicker and could even result in a blowout. Always inflate your tyres to the recommended pressure and check them regularly to make sure they're staying at the right pressure.
Write It All Down
It may just seem like extra work, but by keeping a log of your car's fuel consumption you'll be able to see exactly when, where, and hopefully why you're getting lower fuel economy.
Apps to Help You Save On Fuel
There are a few apps to help you cut down on your fuel costs. We like Singapore Petrol Price. It quickly tells you where to buy the cheapest petrol in Singapore each day. Paying less for fuel is a very satisfying way of cutting fuel costs.
Is It Time for The Scrap Heap?
If you’ve tried everything and still seem to spend too much on fuel, it may be that your old, inefficient car is the problem. Fuel efficiency is constantly improving with new cars, and electric vehicles, hybrids, and even cars running on LPG can really save you a lot on fuel costs, depending on your car usage. The Singapore government's Fuel Economy Labelling Scheme (FELS) is a big help and means that all cars being sold must display fuel economy information. You can also log onto the Singapore Fuel Cost Calculator which gives you fuel economy information for cars approved for registration in Singapore. It lets you compare different models of cars and get an estimate of yearly fuel costs. You’ll be amazed at the differences.