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Money Down the Drain: Fuel Efficient Driving Habits Thai Drivers are Missing

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More than three in four Thai drivers don’t’ know to use GPS to set the best route before starting a drive
Up to 79 percent of Thai drivers are unaware that using cruise control can save you money at the pump
Fuel efficiency survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company covered 9,500 drivers across 11 markets in Asia Pacific, including 1,026 Thai respondents

Thai drivers say they are confident on the road and knowledgeable about what constitutes ‘good driving’, but when asked to identify key fuel-saving driving techniques, most were misinformed.

In a recent survey conducted by Ford Motor Company, 1,026 Thai drivers were asked about their driving habits and fuel efficiency knowledge

Ninety-three percent claimed they knew how to drive their car for maximum fuel efficiency, and 97 percent said they make a concerted effort to drive efficiently on a daily basis.

“When it comes to fuel efficiency, unfortunately there’s a yawning gap between what most of us think we know, and what we actually know,” said Kevin Tallio, chief engineer, Engine Engineering, Ford Asia Pacific. “For example, our survey showed that most people haven’t thought about the potential fuel saving benefits of using GPS or cruise control.”

So, what did Thai drivers get wrong about driving tips that could help keep their tanks fuller, for longer?

37 percent of drivers don’t know that harsh accelerating and braking negatively affect their car’s fuel consumption.

Fact: Aggressive driving – like braking harshly or taking off too quickly – is a major offender when it comes to wasting fuel.

79 percent of drivers are unaware about the fuel efficiency benefits of cruise control.

Fact: Cruise control is a modern car’s secret weapon against wasting fuel. Maintaining a constant speed means you don’t waste fuel by unnecessarily braking and accelerating – and it also stops you from driving faster than allowed.

More than three in four don’t know to use GPS to map the quickest route before heading out.

Fact: It seems obvious, but the longer you drive, the more fuel you’ll use. Both time and money can be saved by checking your route on your GPS system before you hit the road.

More than half (51 percent) didn’t know that driving in hilly areas can affect fuel consumption.

Fact: A long drive in the mountains will use more fuel than driving on a flat, straight road. Driving uphill uses more fuel as the vehicle is working slightly harder to go against gravity.

Many respondents were unaware that cold weather (86 percent) and hot weather (58 percent) affect a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Fact: Cold weather can reduce your fuel economy significantly as it takes longer for your engine to reach its most efficient temperature, so you may want to rethink any short trips in wintery conditions. In warmer weather, pay attention to when you should use the car’s air-conditioner. The higher the speed, the more wind resistance affects mileage. At highway speeds you’re better off using the air-conditioner, but at lower speeds drive with your windows down.

Only 52 percent of those surveyed knew that removing heavy items or clutter from the car can help save fuel.
Fact: Excess weight in the vehicle can wreak havoc on your car’s fuel consumption. Any extra 20kg you carry can reduce fuel economy by roughly one percent. So try to pack lightly on that next road trip.

67 percent were unaware that adding sports tires or body kits to the vehicle can affect its fuel efficiency.

Fact: Going for that “fast and furious” look for your vehicle may get you street cred, but the increased rolling resistance and drag will reduce your fuel efficiency.

36 percent were unaware that regular servicing helps save fuel, and one in three was unaware that regularly checking tire pressure also helps save fuel.

Fact: Basic knowledge perhaps, but it’s all too easy to forget that a properly maintained vehicle and correctly inflated tires will help stretch your petrol dollar further.

While Thai drivers are showing more interest in purchasing fuel efficient vehicles to save them money, the best way to economize on fuel is good driving habits (and that’s for free!)

“Owning a fuel efficient vehicle is definitely an important piece of the puzzle,” says Tallio, who worked on the development of Ford’s award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. “But if getting great mileage is your aim, then driving habits make a world of difference.”