Driving with Jens: Small changes can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy

The rules are very similar whether you are driving a gas or electric vehicle

Petro Canada recently announced that it will be installing charging stations at its service stations across the country. This will offer fuel and electric vehicle owners a common place to top their vehicle up and have access to the other amenities the stations have to offer —bathrooms, wi-fi, snacks and such.

If you’d like to be able to pass by these stations more often without needing to stop, there are behaviors that can help you improve your vehicle’s fuel economy and a lot of these behaviors are the same whether your vehicle is electric or gas.

The first step would be to determine what your current fuel economy is.

At your next fill up either make a note of your current mileage or reset the trip odometer to zero. Now drive as you normally would until your next fill up. Make note of how many kilometers you’ve driven, either by subtracting your starting mileage from your current mileage or by just looking at the trip odometer.

Now divide the number of kilometers driven by the number of litres it took to refill your vehicle. This is your current fuel economy. Example: if you drove 100 kilometers and used nine litres of fuel, your current fuel economy would be nine litres per 100 kilometers, or approximately 30 miles per gallon.

You can use a similar method to determine what kind of mileage you get with a charge. Once you know where you’re currently at, try making some changes and see if they help.

The first thing you can do is slow down. A heavy foot costs you fuel economy. It’s estimated that fuel economy can be increased by as much as 15 per cent by driving under 100 km/h. Faster driving uses more engine power to overcome drag. Quick acceleration is another enemy of good fuel economy. It’s similar for electric vehicles. The more power you use the quicker your battery drains.

Keep your tires properly inflated. Check your tire pressure regularly. Low tire pressure increases the rolling resistance of your vehicle and will negatively affect fuel economy. Properly inflated tires can increase fuel economy by up to 3%. Tires can lose 1 psi per month, so it’s recommended that you check your tire pressure at least monthly. I doubt most of us ever check our tire pressure, but we absolutely should. Again, the same principle applies to electric vehicles.

Lighten your load. Weight is a big deal with stop and go driving. An extra 100 pounds affects fuel economy by one to two per cent. It will also have a similar effect on battery life.

Remove your roof rack when it’s not needed. More drag on your vehicle will result in more fuel and battery consumption. Even aerodynamic racks cause drag.

Avoid using the air conditioning when not needed. A/C causes the engine to work harder and thus lessens fuel economy. Rolling down the windows may be enough cooling. It’s recommended that you cool off or heat up your electric vehicle while it’s still plugged-in so you start with a comfortable vehicle and a full charge.

Adjust your braking habits. Re-acceleration after braking reduces economy. Long, slower braking will allow regenerative brake charging systems to charge your battery.

Enable your overdrive if you have this feature. This will increase fuel and battery economy at higher speeds by using a higher gear.

Avoid idling if not necessary. Idling uses more fuel than you may think. With electric vehicles be conscious of using stereos and other battery draws while stopped.

If you work on most of these items, and change your habits, it will make a huge difference in your economy.

Whether you drive a gas or electric vehicle. With gas vehicles history has shown you could easily increase our fuel economy by 15 per cent.

This may not sound like a lot but if you spend $250 per month on fuel, this would amount to over $450 per year. That’s 450 free dollars just by having the discipline to change some habits.

With electric vehicles, being conscious of these habits and working to improve them will also improve your range between battery charges.

The economy of gas vehicles has greatly improved over the years and the economy on electric vehicles will greatly improve as the technology improves. You can greatly add to either these improvements by adjusting your driving habits.

Change your habits as we’ve discussed here for a month while tracking your fuel or battery economy. Then decide for you self if it’s worth continuing with these new habits.

Catch Driving, with Jens on CHON FM Thursdays at 8:15. If you have any questions or comments you can reach out to Jens Nielsen at drivingwithjens@gmail.com, Facebook or Twitter: @drivingwithjens.

Driving With Jens

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read