Fuel prices are touching new levels almost every day. Only a few days after breaching the Rs 80 and 72 per litre mark, petrol and diesel prices touched the Rs 81 and 73 per litre mark respectively in Delhi on Thursday.
Worse still, there is no relief in sight from the soaring petrol and diesel prices.
In times such as these, it's important that one makes the most of every drop of fuel he/she buys.
From driving techniques to petrol pump fraud identification methods, here are some tips to help you do that:
1. Drive gently: Speeding, accelerating and braking rapidly leads to wastage of fuel. A report by the US Department of Energy estimates that aggressive driving can lower mileage by roughly 15 per cent to 30 per cent at highway speeds and 10 per cent to 40 per cent in stop-and-go traffic.
According to a similar report published by Canada's Ministry of Natural Resources (CMNR), a driver should take 5 seconds to accelerate his/her car to a speed of up to 20 kilometres per hour from a stop.
The same applies when you are de-accelerating or braking. One should stay alert and try to coast towards their stop or red light to minimise fuel consumption.
2. Avoid high speeds: Going by different reports, most vehicles are the most fuel efficient when they're travelling between 50 and 80 km per hour. Driving at a higher speed not only brings down your vehicle's mileage but also makes your ride unsafe.
3. Routine servicing: A well-tuned engine and correctly inflated tyres help improve your overall fuel economy. Not only these, regular maintenance of other parts of your vehicle is also crucial in maintaining fuel efficiency.
4. Avoid excessive idling: Although a frequent start and stop can drain your tank, excessive idling is also not a good practice. The best practice, according to CMNR report, is to turn off your engine when you have to stop for more than 60 seconds. The report says that an average vehicle with a 3-litre engine wastes 300 millilitres of fuel for every 10 minutes it idles.
Before you make the most out of the fuel in your tank by driving efficiently, it's also important that you make sure that you are getting the amount and quality of fuel that you are paying for.
Here are some steps that can help save you from being conned at petrol pumps:
1. When you doubt quality: You can ask for a filter paper test at any petrol pump in the country if you doubt the quality of petrol being sold there.
The test is quite simple. You have to just pour a few drops of petrol on the paper. The petrol will evaporate without leaving any stains on the paper if it's pure. However, if it's adulterated, some stains will appear on the paper.
2. Be vigilant: There are regular reports about petrol pumps conning customers by using various tricks. However, you can avoid falling prey to many such tricks by just being vigilant.
The most important step is to keep an eye on the machine both before and while fuel is being delivered to you. This not only helps you ensure zero on the machine before delivery but also saves you from other common tricks deployed by salesmen.
3. Ask for quantity test: Petrol pumps are notorious for coming up with techniques to short-fuel vehicles. Last year, several petrol pumps were sealed in Uttar Pradesh after they were caught using a chip-based device to fill less fuel.
If you suspect any such practice, you have the option of asking for a five-litre test. Every petrol pump has a certified measuring instrument for such tests.