I received a letter from VCS regarding the new Volkswagen Eco Driving Programme which they are conducting. It will be held every weekend at the VCS from March 19, with two daily sessions at 0930hrs and 1330hrs. The programme aims to impart driving techniques that save fuel, as well as to help drivers understand the simple science behind them. It will be conducted by professional driving instructors who will assess your driving style. I am not here to promote this programme but to offer my views on it.
Perhaps, VCS finds that this is the perfect timing to launch the programme, given that petrol price has hit over $2 per litre (before station discount). However, the course fee doesn’t come cheap. The programme is priced at S$80 per participant for Volkswagen customers and S$200 for non-Volkswagen customers. I am not sure how long it takes to recoup the fee for the course from savings in fuel consumption, if the course really helps.
At this juncture, I would like to name some of the tips that I observe for fuel savings, in decreasing level of importance:
a) Turn off the aircon whenever possible
I have blogged on this topic before and trust me, it brings down fuel consumption by about 30% for a single trip.
b) Watch out for the traffic lights
If you see red lights 100m in front of you, release the accelerator and let the car roll slowly to the traffic lights. By the time the car reaches the traffic lights, the traffic lights could have turned green and you could just move forward without the need to depress the brakes. Remember that start/stop traffic is a killer to fuel efficiency. Do not waste energy accelerating to the red lights and stop there.
c) Take the highway route
This is related to point b. Try to avoid routes with many traffic lights. It is ok to travel longer by say 15% via the expressway. You save fuel by travelling at the higher gear ratio.
d) Keep tire pressure high
Although the recommended tire pressure for my car is 220kpa, I pump up to 250Kpa and check my tire pressure once every two weeks.
e) Reduce junk in the boot
Junk in the boot increases the carrying weight of the car, which in turn is bad for fuel consumption. I keep my boot relatively clutter-free.
By observing the above tips, I managed to achieve a record fuel consumption of 20.2km/l travelling from my home at bedok reservoir to Lower Pierce reservoir on a Saturday morning in a Jetta Sport. I snapped a shot of the consumption display as follow: