Own a Diesel? 8 Ways to Boost Vehicle Mileage
Not only do diesel engines last longer and require fewer maintenance trips than their gas-powered counterparts, they’re more fuel efficient as well. Actual performance varies, but in general diesel vehicles are 20% to 40% more efficient fuel efficient than gasoline engines.
You can boost mileage and further reduce fuel expenses by doing eight simple things:
- Slow down. Diesel engines are powerful but not necessarily speedy. The higher your driving speed, the more fuel your engine consumes in an effort to produce the required energy.
- Drive smoothly. Avoid jackrabbit starts and lead-footed accelerations. Strive instead to accelerate smoothly until you achieve the desired speed then drive steadily and evenly. To slow down or stop, brake slowly and evenly.
- Avoid stop-start driving. Like most engines, diesels operate most efficiently at constant, sustained speeds. Start-stop city and suburban driving consumes more fuel and increases engine wear and tear. Whenever possible, choose routes that feature the fewest number of stop signs and traffic lights and allow you to drive at a decent speed. In general, speeds between 50 and 65 tend to be most fuel efficient.
- Use the highest possible gear. Once you’ve reached an established speed, shift into the highest gear possible. For diesel engines, shifting up at 1500 rpm tends to produce the optimal mix of speed, power and fuel efficiency.
- Shut off the AC. The engine provides power to the vehicle and every system in it. Because air conditioning draws significant power, it forces the engine to work harder to sustain the established speed. Leave the AC off as often as possible, and when you must use it, put it at the lowest tolerable setting. Many diesel drivers routinely shut off the AC while they’re accelerating to merge onto a highway in order to reserve more power for the engine.
- Minimize drag. Whenever possible, drive with the windows and sunroof closed to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics. If you doubt their effect, consider this: To improve fuel mileage ratings during tests, European manufacturers reportedly remove side mirrors and use tape to seal all window, door and sunroof cracks.
- Maintain tire pressure. Poor tire pressure consumes up to 800,000 extra barrels of oil each day according to the US Energy Information Administration. You can extend tire life and improve mileage by checking tire pressure at least once a month to confirm tires are consistently inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
- Stay tuned. Diesel engines require less maintenance in general, but routine tune-ups keep filters clean and ensure the engine uses the minimum amount of fuel and operates at peak efficiency.