In India, all manufacturers quote Automotive Research Association of India ( ARAI ) figures as a benchmark for stating the fuel mileage you would get from a new car. ARAI provides technical expertise in R & D, testing, certification, homologation and framing of vehicle regulations, none the less fuel mileage testing is one of the key services also being provided. Fuel economy is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a standardized test procedure specified by law. Manufacturers also test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to ARAI. ARAI reviews the results and confirms or disputes them through their own tests done at the center located at Pune. These figures are then sent back to manufacturers who can quote them to the public as set figures for fuel mileage being produced by a vehicle.
These projections appear authoritatively, almost like a pledge from the government, stated explicitly in the car brochures’ and some manufacturers proudly stating them even in TV commercials. Remember the ad from Maruti Suzuki – ‘papa petrol khattam hi nahi hunda’. Motorists have put a lot of faith in these numbers. Infact in India, mileage is one of the top priorities for anyone buying a car. You would image that buyers in segments B+ and C are the ones who bother about this. Think again. Personally I have seen people gunning for an S- Class also ask for ‘how much does it give’, pretty weird for that class, believe me, it’s true. But what we will try and answer today is ‘’are these stated figures by manufacturers, what you would get in the real world’.
There are certain things to keep in mind here. The figures quoted by manufacturers are achieved in certain ’test conditions’ and it’s not necessary that everyone who drives the car achieves the specified figures. These figures will only come about if you drive the car in a certain way and its also important to note where you will be driving the car. Well then everyone has his / her own way to drive, correct and once I buy the car, I have the full right to drive it where I want to. Now that’s right but there are some habits one must do away with to get a good mileage and this article will give you an insight into exactly those tips which will help you drive effectively.
Tip 1 : Be gentle and change gear early. Accelerate and brake gently, and change to a higher gear as soon as possible. As a general guide, change up before 2000rpm in a diesel and 2500rpm in a petrol, without letting the engine struggle at low rev.
Tip 2 : Look far ahead while driving and keep moving where possible by anticipating obstacles. Easing off the throttle and keeping momentum is better than speeding up, braking and then starting all over again.
Tip 3 : Remove external carrying kit such as roof boxes or bike racks whenever they aren’t being used. The car has to work harder to cut through the air due to the extra wind resistance such things create.
Tip 4 : Accelerate with care, Jack-rabbit starts are an obvious fuel-waster -- but that doesn't mean you should crawl away from every light. If you drive an automatic, accelerate moderately so the transmission can shift up into the higher gears. Stick-shifters should shift early to keep the revs down, but don't lug the engine -- downshift if you need to accelerate. Keep an eye well down the road for potential slowdowns. If you accelerate to speed then have to brake right away, that's wasted fuel.
Tip 5 : Get back to nature, consider shutting off the air conditioner, opening the windows and enjoying the breeze. It may be a tad warmer, but at lower speeds you'll save fuel. That said, at higher speeds the A/C may be more efficient than the wind resistance from open windows and sunroof.
With these tips in place you sure will have a smooth ride and definitely be able to get the mileage from the car that you truly deserve.
This article has been contributed by Vijayeta Karol.
Vijayeta is a marketing professional. After having spent more than 8 yrs in the Indian automotive industry, she now lives and works in London.