Saturday, 30 November 2013

Auto & Science: How To Cut Fuel Consumption When Driving?

Volkswagen XL1 has a drag coefficient of 0.189, the lowest in all production cars to date
Image from

Before we go into how to cut fuel consumption, I would like to find out,

  1. exactly how far can a supercar go with just one gallon of fuel, and 
  2. just how much does driving style affect fuel consumption? 

Jeremy Clarkson of Topgear has the demonstration for us.

After watching the whole video, you'll know that driving style does play a key role in fuel consumption. Even a BMW M3 can be more efficient than a Toyota Prius!

But exactly what makes a good driving style? What's more, do other factors also play a part in fuel consumption? We have the answer below!

Here's the summary

  1. Shape --> Aerodynamics --> Air resistance --> Drag --> Drag coefficient
  2. Weight --> Light material 
  3. Less cargo and fewer baggage
  4. Tire pressure
  5. Slower Drive
The more streamlined the car is, the better the aerodynamics is, which leads to lower air resistance and thus lower drag and drag coefficient. The lighter the car is, the more fuel efficient. Properly inflated tires minimise contact with the ground and thus friction with the road. Finally, the optimal fuel efficient driving speed is 55 mph (88kph).
Drag Coefficient of production cars ranked by Cd
Image from Wikipedia
Talking about aerodynamics and drag coefficient, my dream car the Tesla Model S has a .24 drag coefficient  (see Technology & Opinions: My Tesla Model S Hands-on Review ) -- the lowest of all production cars in 2012 until Mercedes-Benz CLA and Volkswagen came along in 2013.

Tesla Model S has a drag coefficient of 0.24
Image from Autoblog
Just how do auto companies test their drag coefficient? They make use of something called a wind tunnel. Volvo has a nice detail video which shows us how this is done.

Hope you have learnt how to save money on the road and understood after the science behind it. Let's start driving wisely for the weekends!


2012 Tesla Model S [w/video] First Drive - Autoblog @ Tesla

Automobile Drag Coefficient @ Wikipedia

Top Gear : Supercars: The One Gallon Fuel Crisis Race - Top Gear - BBC @ YouTube

4 Ways To Cut Gas Costs @ YouTube

Technology & Opinions: My Tesla Model S Hands-on Review  @ Locky's English Playground

World: Fun Facts We All Should Know -- Part 2 (Viewer Discretion Is Advised) @ Locky's English Playground

New Volvo Wind Tunnel @ YouTube