They say that routine is boring and won’t get you to wonderful places or scenarios. But what if you are forced to do and there is minimal to no variation opportunities? Well, all I can say is to live with it and try to improve on it as much as you can. There are far better ways to live a better life and I don’t what I am talking about it in this situation. There is absolutely no relation in the item that I would want to talk about here – and that is fuel economy for vehicles.
I am an everyday user of a car going to and fro to work and going around town with my family. The car that I am using is still old school as it still uses fuel (yes, I am a pro-hybrid / full electric cars and I would like to own one in the future) and I fully depend on them to use my car. With that being said, I am always at the mercy of the ever – fluctuating prices and all I can do is just accept it.
However, there is a small chance to somehow mitigate this, and that is to control the consumption. Cars nowadays have devised a lot of ways and means to help us consumers to somehow minimize the fuel consumption of the vehicles they are manufacturing. It is also an item that us consumers are actually looking for and all we had to do is look for one that is the most efficient in terms of fuel consumption among other things. And since I am stuck with a routine of going to work on weekdays, and go to traverse the urban and rural areas of Luzon with my family on weekends, I had this brilliant chance to check the best fuel consumption on my car.
Since fuel consumption will not always yield to the same value even if you always travel to the same point from A to B, this analysis considered the following aspects:
- Type of vehicle – this is a no-brainer, I don’t need (and will be stupid if I do) to discuss on this further. The vehicle I used is a Honda City VX model year 2014
- Type of driving control – Honda City has two types of driving control and it can be done through the ECON button. This button when pressed, the vehicle’s throttle response will be affected and could eventually help in minimizing fuel consumption. In this study, I compared the fuel consumption by means of driving when the ECON button is OFF and while it is ON
|ON||Throttle response is slower|
|OFF||Throttle response is in normal state, 1.5L displacement is normal|
- Fuel Octane – when I was newbie car driver, I used to always buy the cheapest unleaded gasoline variant on the gas station that I am in for refueling. What I did not know back then that Fuel Octane values have direct effects on a car’s engine. I don’t normally believe on these items initially thus I considered this as a variable for this study. In this activity, I only used one fuel brand to eliminate any other variables and that is Shell fuels. They offer several kinds of octane levels for unleaded gasoline but I only used two octane levels (the cheapest ones of course, to be consistent on the drive for economic ways)
|Octane level||Brand name||Behavior (Brand’s claim)|
|91||Fuelsave||Helps reduce energy losses and improve efficiency|
|95||V-power||Contains Dynaflex technology to reduce friction|
- Road conditions – in our country, you always have to consider the traffic conditions. You will never know how long will you travel the same distance every single day thus it would be wise to consider this in this activity. In this manner, I categorized the road conditions into three – Light (a miracle), Moderate and Heavy. I always use Expressways during weekdays and the go on suffering from city traffic over the weekends. The below table shows further details on the categories
|Light||As in you can do 40 minutes travel on a 30km journey|
|Moderate||With normal traffic along with the usual city traffic|
|Heavy||Includes heavy traffic on the Expressways and the usual city traffic|
To sum it up, I have considered using two fuel types, checked its behavior when the Econ button is ON and when it is OFF while noting the road conditions for the day / week and used one vehicle all throughout. Sounds tedious enough? Yes, that’s why it took me 6 months to finish this.
The below table shows the following trend of the fuel economy based on the vehicle’s gauge:
The graph showed changing trends of fuel consumption averages as the activity was mixed with different road conditions as well as the use of Econ button and the fuel type. The mixed mode is a combination of Econ button OFF a the first half of travel and the other half is when Econ mode is ON (specifically during the rush hour at night). Some data did not meet the conditions thus no data available. Looking at these further, the table shows the following:
The table above shows glaring trends on fuel consumption with respect to the road conditions and its fuel type. Dissecting this further, we could be seeing other angles, they are the following:
|Fuel Type||Econ Only||Mixed|
Econ only provides better mileage even when not considering the fuel type and not regarding the road conditions.
|Fuel Type||Average Km/L|
95 Octane provides mileage regardless of the all other aspects.
Over the course of this 6 month activity, there has been a lot of variations that was considered and taken into account. All throughout all of this, the data showed that the strategy to meet the best bang for the buck in terms of fuel consumption would be to use a 95 Octane and use the Econ mode all throughout. In this regard, the following factors highly contributes to the over-all fuel consumption of a car. They are the following:
- The type of fuel octane used – in this study, the 95 octane showed better mileage coverage than a 91 octane. This goes to show that some engines have this some kind of compatibility against the octane levels of the fuel they are filled with.
- The use of the ECON button – in this study, the use of the ECON button highly influences the fuel consumption. This means that suppressing the throttle could help out in reducing the consumption as well.
The small study have shown that using a 95 octane fuel along with the full use of ECON button can save at least 1Km / L consumption against all other settings / conditions of a Honda City. That means, you will be saving (or maximizing) ~Php 1,700 on a 35 liter fuel tank. This also means you can travel one more from Laguna to Alabang because of this setting. There may be some drawbacks to this vehicle setting though. In terms of the fuel price, a 95 octane is relatively higher compared to a 91octane one (roughly Php 0.2-0.5 / L difference). This means that you are essentially buying ~Php 7-18 more from your usual purchase of a fuel type (a small price to spend for a better saving right?). And lastly, for those who are always in the Need For Speed, using the ECON button may not be too fancy. The ECON button greatly affects the car’s acceleration, and may not be too helpful when fighting for a small opening during bumper to bumper traffic on a rush hour. But if you ask me, I’d rather save Php 1,000 than be faster than the others.