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10 Ways to Cut Your Fuel Intake

fuel Many Oil(fuel) nozzles hang on the machine in the petrol station

10 Ways to Cut Your Fuel Intake

Take a moment to track your daily actions. Brushing your teeth, charging your phone, logging into Facebook, commuting to the office and back… Whether you like it or not, your every action exerts an impact on the environment. Now, zoom out and consider the broader picture for we live in the age of the Anthropocene.

Anthropocene: “Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.”

Manmade climate change is transforming our planet and its natural systems, even as you read this. Science has confirmed that vehicular emissions and the use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels (non-renewable energy) are the largest contributing factors.

What is important is for each one of us to embody the mindset of ‘Think Global, Act Local’, inform ourselves and make conscious choices accordingly. To this effect, here are some ways you can cut your fuel intake:

  1. Switch off your engine at traffic signals: Five-minute traffic signals are frustrating and common in the metros. Take note of the approximate waiting time and apply a general thumb rule as follows. For a four-wheeler, switch off your engine if the waiting period is more than one minute; for a two-wheeler, switch off the engine if the waiting period is more than 40 seconds. The logic is simple: 40 seconds of running time for a two-wheeler (and one minute for a four-wheeler) is equivalent to the fuel required to start the engine.
  2. Driving on the highway: Keeping the windows of a car open while driving at high speeds creates what is known as a ‘drag’ by virtue of air flow inside the vehicle. This ‘drag’ slows you down, demanding a higher fuel intake to propel the vehicle forward at the required speed. Cut your fuel intake by pulling all windows up when driving on the highway.
  3. No A/C: Avoid the use of air conditioning in your car as it increases the fuel intake by more than 10%. Even when driving on the highway, roll up the windows but keep it open by an inch or less to ensure basic circulation so you do not require the AC.
  4. Use a more fuel-efficient vehicle: This goes without saying. There are several options available on the market, including those that run on electrical energy, which is comparatively, a more sustainable energy source than fuel.
  5. Carpool: Always opt to share your commute. Massive SUVs ferrying one person are a colossal waste that should be avoided at all cost. Most cab apps offer a carpooling service that you should take advantage of. What’s more, it’s cheaper to travel this way. Identify colleagues who live in your locality to share the daily commute with, take turns on whose vehicle you use or who drives.
  6. Avoid peak hour traffic: Slow moving traffic is a big fuel guzzler. Schedule your commute or in-city travel such that you avoid being stuck in traffic jams, undoubtedly good for your peace of mind as well.
  7. Use public transport: Be it the local train, or bus, use public modes of transport. The general shift from individual, private to shared, public commute de-stresses environmental impacts and pressures in a big way.
  8. Clean air filters regularly: Ensure your air filters are cleaned and checked at your regular service. De-carbonating your vehicle enhances fuel efficiency.
  9. Maintain recommended air pressure in the tires: A tire with low air pressure requires comparatively more fuel for regular functioning. Top up regularly and maintain the standard, recommended pressure for your specific vehicle.
  10. Remember gears: The last thing to remember when driving on the highway is that the most fuel efficient is the highest gear (of your vehicle) at an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
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Shonali Chenzira
An ambidextrous thinker, I am nourished by the arts and activism. Passion keeps me on my feet, moving, and living as (comfortably) close to the edge as is possible. From performing gypsy street theater to organizing music festivals, creative activism to travel writing, wildlife exploration and more recently developing an all-India module to teach snake safety – I have evolved with every experience. I believe, fully, in the power of the pen and pursue writing that shapes perspective and builds awareness on essential issues (that we can directly effect, and are directly affected by). I also believe, fully, that precise punctuation, good grammar, (un)avoidable alliterations and a bulletproof humor go a long way. I travel to stay sane, stalk birds in their natural habitat for fun, carefully avoid routine and have been known to burst into song, in good rhyme but for no reason. I am a dreamer and a do-er, a poet and a planner. Writing is the only way I know to understand.