Suggestions on how to save fuel

I know. This topic does absolutely not belong in a webpage about a car named Honda. But I just can't refuse to mention a few things here which I find important in daily driving. If you follow these tips you will save a lot of fuel, and driving will not be boring at all - or slower. No one can blame the driver being in the way of other drivers. I can't guarantee that these suggestions will work for you, but they have worked for me over many years.

Do not use the car

What is this all about? Don't worry. Want I want to tell is that way to many people use their cars to drive very short distances. If you do this, your car will consume a lot of fuel. The first miles are the worst and if you furthermore start to think about mechanical issues caused by these short trips, it starts to get impossible to find a good reason to do this. We all would do better walking or using a bicycle. I have a golden rule saying that if I can walk or by using my bicycle move a certain distance in less than 45 minutes, it is better for me than driving the same distance in my car. The are of course a few things which can make me break this rule: I need to do shopping in several supermarkets or I have to buy more than I can carry on my bicycle. Should it rain cats and dogs, this is of course also a valid reason to start the car. But that is just about it.

Maintain distance

This is one of my favorite tips. Way to many drivers tend to drive way to close. You do not get faster to your destination justs because you drive close. If you want to pass a car it takes long because you can't accelerate before you have changed lane. You can't use the vacuum caused by the car in front of you. There isn't one good argument for driving too close. The time needed for the driver to act will never be short enough and the risk that you get dents in the car is simply too high - and remember the one driving to close tends to be the one having to pay for the damages.
With a distance of about 2 seconds you can drive relaxed and enjoy the sound of your stereo. You get a better view of the traffic and you got plenty of time to react to changes in the traffic. You do not need to hit the brake pedal as often. I changed branking pads on my Honda Civic twice - in 230.000 km. The disks looked as if they were new. There is a lot of money to save if you keep distance. If just everyone would drive like this we would all get to our destination in a shorter time

Less pressure on the accelerator

Oh - someone got mad again. But don't read this as I wrote it. I've learned that you can reduce the pressure on the acceleator without losing speed. The car does not need as much torque and BHP as you might think. Not all cars are equally good as this. But in a Honda Accord from 2014 this gives about 2 km/litre. We are talking a lot of money here.

Keep speed low

Don't run away - you need to read this. I do not say that you should drive around with 10 miles per hour. I'm just saying that the faster you drive the more fuel is used. A lot depends on the traffic around you, but the simple math - which I admit isn't always the case - sais that the faster you drive, the more fuel you use. If we can maintain a fixed speed you can drive relatively fast and still have a good fuel economy. If you want to maintain a fixed speed you do unfortunately have to be among those who are maintaining a "reasonable" speed. In Germany where I live this is a fairly difficult task, but if you drive between 110 km/h and 120 km/h you will be able to maintain this speed without many major changes in speed. If you want to maintain a good fuel economy, there is no way around this

If you want to drive economically in a Honda Accord 2.0 / Acura TSX from 2009-2015 experience tells that you will have to drive between 80 and 85 km/h in 6th gear. Between 85 and 95 km/h it is possible to achieve good values. If you drive faster than this the engine starts to ask for fuel. At around 120 km/h the engine starts to produce more torque and this does improve the fuel consumption. After 130 km/h you do not have to worry about fuel economy. Now it is more a matter of getting home in a hurry (which most proably wont be a lot faster anyway...).

Plan your driving

This doesn't mean that you have to study maps 2 weeks before you want to use your car. All I'm saying is that you should read the traffic. Let the speed fit the traffic. If you want to pass a car, this can still be done without having to make huge changes to the speed - limiting the need for hard accelerations. The difference in speed between drivers does make it difficult to do this - but it is possible. If there were less egoistic drivers on the road, things would be so much easier. There seems though to be a rule stating that the expensiver the car, the more egoistic you are allowed to be. So planing your drive will still continue to be a challenge for those of us who want to drive economical.

Here I want to add, that you often can use a lower gear and still have a good economy. Driving 50 km/h I can have exactly the same consumption rate in 4th and in 5th gear - and often even better values as in 6th gear. This is challenging and forces me to look at the eco-meter. A lower gear means higher rotations. Higher rotations often means higher torque. So if you by error start to press the accelerator, this will soon result in higher speed. This makes it easier to drive economical.

There are drivers who loves to use the Auto Pilot. I use mine too from time to time, but not a whole lot. If the road isn't flat as a pancake I can achieve a better fuel economy by driving myself than useing the Auto Pilot. The Auto Pilot will always be a second or two behind and will have difficulties making changes before the speed has changed. Here you as a driver has a huge advantage over technology. Having said this I have to admit that using the Auto Pilot can be comfortable.

Tyre pressure

I know it isn't a popular topic, but do always drive with a slightly higher pressure in the tyres as recommended by Honda. We aren't talking about much - less than half a Bar. It may not save a lot of fuel, but it does save fuel. Even Michelin tend to advice a higher pressure than the car producers. A slightly higher pressure will not reduce the lifetime of the tyres. I still drive around 70-100.000 km on a set of tyres. If you belong to those driving with extreme wide tyres, this will not help getting a good fuel economy. I use 18" tyres in the summer and 17" in the winter. This costs me about 0,4 km/l. But I still look forward to summer when the 18" tyres are mounted.

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