When driving on the highway, drivers breathe a sigh of relief. The city rush is over, you can listen to your favorite music in peace, but most importantly – the fuel consumption is reduced. But sometimes that is not enough.
Three cases when physics helps to save fuel on a freeway
It may seem strange, but an elementary knowledge of school physics can do wonders. A car on the road is governed by all the known laws of physics, and they can be easily manipulated.
The easiest way to do this with improvised means is to inflate the wheel slightly above the recommended values.
Do not overinflate the tire, this will hurt handling. If the manufacturer has specified a pressure of 2.2 Atm, you can safely pump up to 2.4 Atm. The friction force will be reduced, it will be easier for the engine to rotate the wheels, and the fuel consumption will be reduced.
Another more radical way to reduce friction would be to replace worn tires. The new tread has a much smaller contact patch of the wheel with the road, and the absence of uneven wear on the tire makes the friction force minimal, so on the new tires the consumption for the first time will be noticeably lower.
A side note! If trips on the highway occur regularly, you can take tires with asymmetric non-directional tread. They will increase handling and reduce engine voracity.
Improving aerodynamic properties
In addition to friction, the car is affected by the air flow, the force of which on the track can be enormous.
Whether we like it or not, we have to reckon with aerodynamics. After all, in addition to the fact that it slows down the movement of the car, it can significantly reduce fuel consumption.
The first and the simplest step will be closing of side windows and a panoramic roof. When they are half-open, they create a serious braking effect, and the engine has to work in a reinforced mode.
Next, you can remove the luggage rack from the roof of the car, if there is no acute need for it for a trip on the highway. At high speed, the thin trunk can become a real sail, devouring precious grams of extra fuel.
You can cardinally improve aerodynamics of your car and reduce consumption by installing a spoiler. But not a decorative one, but a professional one, the one that allows getting rid of air flow whirling, creating a parachute effect.
Decrease Car’s Weight
Weight is also a physical quantity, and the lighter a car is, the lower is fuel consumption. When going on a long trip, don’t forget to check the trunk for extra cargo, which is not useful for the road, and which you can unload.
There are other ways to lighten the car, but you can not implement them quickly, it takes time. For example, buy a lighter version of the battery the next time you replace it. You can also replace heavy steel disks with aluminum ones, a metal fire extinguisher with a plastic one, and a standard tool kit with their titanium copy.
It is not recommended to throw out spare tire – it will be useful, but it is right decision to change steel protection for composite one. All these advices together can lighten car’s weight up to 70 kg – as much as an adult weighs. The fuel savings on the highway will be very noticeable.
Seven proven ways to save fuel on the road
On the highway, the driver has the opportunity to take advantage of those driving advantages that may simply not be there in the city. Saving up to a whole liter per 100 km is actually much easier than it seems:
- First of all, it is important to learn how to find the correct cruising speed. Almost on all modern cars it is equal to 110 km / h at 3000 engine speeds. This is the most economical mode.
- But it is possible to move with high speed for a long time either on highways, or on night routes. In all other cases you can effectively save fuel by following the truck, which will eliminate the oncoming air resistance. The optimal distance for this is 7 meters.
- Many drivers have air conditioner on “by default”, and on the highway it will become a real fuel eater. If you don’t need it, it’s better to switch it off, as well as other electrical appliances, which are not necessary at the moment – for example, phone charging.
- When the goal is to save fuel, and the time on the road is not so important, it is recommended to give up overtaking. Each sharp gain of speed will burn a lot of gasoline, and that way you will not be able to save money. Of course, it is not necessary to reach the absurdity and weave 40 km per hour after the car on “emergency lights”.
- Cruise control is irreplaceable assistant on the highway. If your car has such feature, you should definitely use its main advantage – it saves up to a whole liters of fuel per 100 km.
- It is important to have a full tank of quality fuel when you go out on the highway. It is not advisable to fill up at dubious gas stations, because bad fuel will greatly increase consumption. Read a map of gas stations in advance, and calculate the distances between them, so as not to get into trouble.
- The car must breathe “full throttle” on the highway, and its consumption will directly depend on the condition of fuel, oil and air filters, oil, spark plugs and coolant. Timely replacement of all these elements will allow you to save a few hundred grams of fuel on the highway.
On long distances low fuel consumption allows you to save serious money. Press the gas pedal smoothly, try not to overdrive unnecessarily, going down the mountain, leave the downshift on, and in traffic jams, if possible, try to move without stopping in a downshift.