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Drive Smart, Save Fuel: Top Tips for a Cost-Effective Ride

The recent surge of about 400 percent in the price of petrol has compelled motorists to seek ways to reduce their consumption of this commodity, as reported by OPEOLUWANI AKINTAYO.

During his inauguration on May 29, 2023, President Bola Tinubu announced the end of fuel subsidies, which had been consuming around N12tn of the country’s revenue throughout its implementation period. This move resulted in an overall increase in the prices of goods and services, with various commodities rising by over 200 percent.

Many citizens found this decision inappropriate, as fuel subsidies were perceived as one of the few benefits the masses received from the Federal Government. Consequently, car owners have been cutting down on their vehicle usage due to the significant price jump in petrol, which went from about N189-N200 per liter to between N560-N700 per liter.

In response to the current situation, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria suggests that fuel consumption can be reduced by at least 30 percent, resulting in cost savings for future purchases if the following tips are adopted:

  1. Maintain Correct Tyre Pressure: Ensure your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated according to the recommended specifications, as under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and require more fuel to overcome.

  2. Minimize Load in the Trunk: Carry only essential items in your car’s trunk, excluding the emergency spare tire. Every additional 50kg of weight increases fuel consumption by two percent.

  3. Drive Efficiently: Use cruise control to maintain a steady speed in automatic cars and shift to higher gears when appropriate in manual cars. Avoid rapid acceleration and abrupt stops, as they significantly increase fuel consumption.

  4. Plan Your Route and Use Technology: Choose routes that minimize stop-and-go traffic and plan trips during off-peak hours to avoid congestion. Utilize navigation apps to find the most efficient routes.

  5. Practice Predictive Driving: Anticipate traffic flow and adjust your speed gradually, avoiding harsh braking and sudden acceleration.

  6. Maintain Optimal Speed: Drive at speeds between 50km/h and 90km/h on the highway, as excessive speed increases wind resistance and fuel consumption.

  7. Avoid Harsh Braking: Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead to allow for smooth deceleration and minimize the need for sudden braking.

  8. Ensure Fuel Cap is Tightened: Properly secure the fuel tank cap to prevent fuel vapor evaporation, which can result in fuel loss.

  9. Regular Vehicle Maintenance: Regular servicing helps maintain optimal engine fuel efficiency by using the correct lubricants and preventing sludge formation and corrosion.

  10. Carpooling: Whenever possible, consider carpooling with others going in the same direction to significantly reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.

  11. Track and Measure Fuel Consumption: Keep a record of your fuel consumption to monitor efficiency and identify patterns or changes.

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Additionally, the adoption of generators powered by alternative energy sources like solar power or conversion to Liquefied Petroleum Gas or Compressed Natural Gas can further reduce fuel consumption and contribute to a more sustainable and cost-effective energy usage.

According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, the removal of fuel subsidies is expected to reduce petrol consumption by about 30 percent, as it would deter smuggling and eliminate arbitrage opportunities.

Various driving techniques recommended by the government of Canada include accelerating gently, maintaining a steady speed, anticipating traffic, avoiding high speeds, coasting to decelerate, and measuring tire pressure regularly.

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To promote fuel efficiency, the use of manual transmissions should be managed properly by paying attention to the tachometer to shift gears for the best fuel efficiency. Removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle, such as salt, sand, and sports equipment, can also contribute to fuel savings.

Additionally, streamlining the vehicle by removing roof or bicycle racks and using air conditioning judiciously can further reduce fuel consumption. The use of fuel consumption displays can provide real-time feedback, encouraging fuel-efficient driving practices.

By following these fuel-saving tips and making mindful choices about transportation, individuals can play their part in reducing fuel consumption, saving money, and contributing to a more sustainable and cost-effective driving experience.

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