Dwindling oil prices around the world have affected Malaysians with on the one hand, rising costs of living (due to the country needing to diversify it's income via the introduction of GST) but on the flip side, it has made refueling your car a tad cheaper.
In fact, February sees another drop in fuel prices with RON 95 hitting a new low of RM1.75 per litre. But in hard economic times and increased toll prices - we're sure you would still want to make the most of your petrol spending.
In order to make the most out of every trip to the station, we've come up with truly helpful money-saving tips for you to use when refueling your car. They'll come in handy when the oil prices are down but more importantly, will most certainly make a difference when they go back up.
1) Avoid Refueling in the Mid-day Heat
Our country is blessed with tropical weather, but did you know that this acts as a double-edge sword when it comes to pumping fuel?
Here's the science-y bit: Molecules expand in heat and contract when it is cold. Likewise, fuel molecules at gas stations tend to be larger in the scorching mid-day heat and refueling during these hours should be avoided completely if you would like to maximise your petrol spending.
Fuel tankers come equipped with specific industrial gear to maintain balanced fuel temperature within its containment to promote precise fuel volumes. The difference of 1 degree Celsius can translate to millions in losses where the oil and gas industry is concerned.
This fuel is then loaded into the station's storage from the tanker with precise volume measurement and is then channeled into petrol dispensing pumps without the help of sophisticated technology to regulate temperature.
Because of this, fuel molecules in the stations' storage react to outdoor temperature accordingly and if you do refuel on a hot day, expect lesser fuel in your tank when it gets a little colder. So, fill up your tanks in the morning or at night to make sure you're getting the exact litre of fuel for which you're paying.
2) Avoid Squeezing the Trigger
You've parked your car within the designated space and popped open the fuel lid. The next step is to start refueling after you decide on the amount to fill.
Hand pressure used to squeeze the nozzle trigger on the petrol pump plays a big part in how much you can save. There usually are three levels available and each level releases varying volumes of fumes or vapour, for which you are also charged,on top of the petrol.
These fumes jet out a whole lot quicker with the highest speed while it reduces considerably on the lower fuel-dispensing speeds. These fumes can't cost a lot, you might think. You may have a point but they certainly stack up to a lot if you piled up the wastage over several years.
So always remember to take your time when topping up your vehicle because fueling up quickly aggravates fuel and generates more vapour. What you want to be paying for is the liquid petrol and not pointless vapours.
3) Avoid Refueling After Tanker Deposits
If you happen to see a fuel tanker depositing at the station you wish to top up at, be sure to change your coordinates to a different one immediately.
As the tanker deposits fuel into the station's main reservoir, residue from the bottom of this reservoir is thrown around in the mix and will take some time before it settles down at the bottom again.
Those using fuel pumps whilst this process takes place risk pumping fuel residue into the tanks of their vehicles. This can cause severe engine complication and take a huge swipe at your finances.
Although, all of these station fuel reservoirs are designed to have residue cleaned out when it settles at the bottom, smaller particles are sure to roam free within the containment. So either refuel at a different station or beat the truck to it when you see it on the road!
4) Refuel Before Your Tank Hits 'Empty'
It doesn't matter how you take your fuel tank, half full or half empty, because that should be your minimum limit to when you need to refuel if you want to save.
We've already established that quick-jetting fuel releases more vapour (refer to point #2) and when it is shot into your vehicle's tank through the nozzle, that effect is simulated again.
Larger void space (from very little fuel) in your tank amplifies this vapour-generating effect and produces more vapour compared to a tank containing more fuel and less empty space.
Even driving around on fuel levels lower than approximately half a tank increases fuel wastage because larger void spaces encourage fuel evaporation. This situation is worse in the summer-like Malaysian weather. Yikes!
Fuel Up, Save Up!
Be sure to practice these tips on refueling your car and maximise fuel usage. By doing just that, you prevent little fuel pennies from going to waste. After all, a smart consumer is an informed one!
Have we missed out on a fuel money-saving tip that you have been practising? Fill us in at the comments section below – we'd love to hear from you!