Fuel economy, also referred to as fuel consumption, is one of a driver’s biggest concerns.
How efficient a car is affects a motorist in more ways than he or she realises.
A well-maintained economical car, coupled with fuel-saving driving habits, puts more money into a driver’s pocket and saves him time because he makes fewer trips to the petrol station.
That means more moolah for the driver to spend on his family or hobbies.
Conversely, a thirstier car driven by someone who doesn’t care about fuel consumption will end up costing that person more time and money.
Now, we all know the usual fuel economy tips: Keep your tyres properly inflated, plan you route, anticipate other motorists’ behaviours and so on.
Some colleagues, however, have asked me if their cars would be more efficient if they only carried a half-tank of fuel instead of a full one.
Obviously, some drivers are thinking that if their car weighs less, it’ll consume less fuel.
This assumption isn’t totally without merit.
According to Torque’s resident mechanical engineer Shreejit Changaroth, if you had a family saloon whose fuel tank capacity was 60 litres, but you only filled it halfway, you would save about 25kg of weight.
That 25kg would help make a difference in fuel consumption.
However, Mr Changaroth also says that any decrease in fuel consumption would be very minor. According to him, the best way of saving fuel still lies with good motoring habits, such as adopting an efficient driving style and keeping your car properly maintained.
There’s nothing wrong with half-filling you fuel tank either. But ironically, whatever weight in petrol you saved might cause you to make extra trips to the petrol kiosk, which will end up costing you time and money.