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Fuel efficiency
and helping our
environment

Improving fuel efficiency

Most drivers can significantly reduce
the amount of fuel used by applying the
following basic driving practices.

When buying a vehicle, consider fuel-
efficient models. Generally, the smaller
the engine, the less fuel it will use. When
shopping for a new vehicle, look for its
EnerGuide label. This identifies the vehicle
fuel usage in terms of litres used for each
100 kilometres driven (litres/100 km), and
estimated annual fuel cost.

Travelling at higher speeds increases
fuel use. Every 10 km/hour above 90 km/
hour burns about 10 per cent more fuel.

Avoid quick acceleration. It is safer
and more fuel-efficient to gradually
increase your speed. As much as
possible, maintain a steady speed. Rapid
acceleration and changes in speed can
increase fuel consumption by as much
as 40 per cent. Cruise control can help
maintain a fuelefficient steady speed on
the highway.

Idling wastes fuel. Ten seconds of
idling can consume more fuel than turning
off your engine and re-starting it. If you
are parking for more than 10 seconds,
turn off your engine. For every 10 minutes
of idling, the average vehicle uses about
one-third of a litre of fuel. A vehicle with
a larger engine can use up to one-half of
a litre.

Idling your engine is not the best
way to warm your vehicle in the winter.
Idling warms the engine and possibly
 

the interior of the vehicle, but it does not
warm vehicle parts like the tires, steering
and other moving parts. These parts of
your vehicle are only warmed by driving.
According to Natural Resources Canada,
one minute of idling on a cold winter day
is enough. Start your vehicle, and by the
time you brush off the snow and clean
your windows, the vehicle is ready to go.

Use a block heater in the winter to warm
the engine oil and make cold starts easier
on your engine. Use a timer to switch the
block heater on two hours before you plan
to drive.

Proper use of a block heater can
improve your vehicle’s overall fuel
economy by as much as 10 per cent. Do
not leave your block heater on overnight
or your energy savings will disappear in
higher electricity costs. Remote vehicle
starters are handy on cold mornings, but
do not start your vehicle too early.

A vehicle that is properly maintained
will be more fuel efficient and safe. Have
regular maintenance checks done by a
qualified mechanic.
• A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel
   consumption by up to 50 per cent.
• A clogged air filter can reduce fuel
   efficiency by 10 per cent.
• Under-inflated tires increase fuel
   consumption by about five per cent,
   as well as increase tire wear and 
   reduce traction.

To get maximum fuel economy on a
vehicle with a manual transmission, shift
through the lower gears smoothly and
quickly. Build up speed in the higher
gears. An automatic transmission shifts
to a higher gear earlier if you reduce
pressure on the gas pedal as you

92  A Driver's Guide to Operation, Safety and Licensing 

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