Motorists can achieve high fuel efficiency, safety, and achieve a smart and relaxed driving style without any loss of time through Ecodriving.
This is the cost saving advice that Duane Ellis, General Manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), has for drivers who are concerned about maintaining a balance between their driving habits, the maintenance of their vehicles, and the overall impact on the environment.
“Ecodriving is the modern and smart way to save fuel and reach your destination swiftly and safely,” Mr Ellis stated, noting that motorists can ensure fuel efficiency by “anticipating traffic flows, especially in urban traffic zones.”
Given the continuing rise in fuel prices, “drivers need to consider their driving options carefully. And shift to steady driving with constant speed,” he pointed out, “particularly when simply thinking ahead can save money.”
Drivers should also be aware that any extra energy used results in increased fuel cost.
“Use air conditioning and electrical equipment only when needed,” Mr Ellis pointed out. “Electrical energy used for these purposes, is converted from extra fuel burnt in the engine and will use up extra energy; therefore, you will spend extra money on fuel.”
Simply releasing the accelerator pedal when the motor vehicle needs to be slowed can also save motorists money. Mr Ellis pointed out that this action reduces the fuel and air supply to the engine, which can increase fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent; and it also the costs involved with the maintenance of the vehicle’s braking system.
Active use of engine braking is advantageous when driving down very steep and long slopes.
“Braking continuously during a downhill stretch, such as the Fern Gully in St. Ann, heats up your brake components, which can cause them to overheat, causing a condition known as “Brake Fade” and some vehicles fail completely,” Mr Ellis said. “In a situation such as a downhill drive, shifting down and using the natural braking power of the engine, coupled with some direct braking. can prevent the overheating of braking system.”
He also contends that using the engine to slow the speed of the vehicle will also result in a longer lifespan for brake pads, discs, rotors, and other expensive brake parts.
Desmond Bowla, Director of JAA Approved Auto Repairer, D&B Auto Repairs Limited, explained how to effect engine braking. He said, “The best technique is to engage the lower gear before the descent, so that the compression of the engine brake will cut the vehicle’s speed.”
“I would advise motor vehicle owners to have their braking systems flushed regularly, preferably every 5,000 miles and refilled with brake fluid,” Mr. Bowla stated. “This will keep the hydraulic braking system operating efficiently.”
One simple ecodriving practise is to ensure that tyres maintain the correct air pressure.
“Drivers need to check their tyre pressure frequently and before long distance driving and keep them properly inflated as low tyre pressure is a safety risk and wastes fuel,” JAA General Manager, Mr Ellis stated.
He reiterated that the JAA, through its quarterly Auto Clinics, encourages its members to adopt these and other safe driving practices that will improve the overall efficiency, safe driving, and proper maintenance of their motor vehicles.