With fuel prices touching an all-time high in Rajasthan, for the first time, I thought seriously about using the Eco Mode in my car but before doing so, I decided to delve into what it is and how we stand to benefit from the same.
What is Eco Mode?
Eco which stands for ‘Economy’ is a mode available in most modern cars which once activated makes the vehicle engine and the accelerator pedal less responsive which in turn saves fuel. Our petrol or diesel guzzling cars consume that extra litre when we drivers to derive the pleasure of speed, put our foot down on the throttle pedal. Such hard accelerations and sudden breakings put undue pressure on the engine which in turn takes in more fuel to make up for the extra stress to it.
What happens in Eco Mode?
During Eco mode, both the engine and accelerator pedal become less responsive no matter how hard you press down upon them. To the driver, the car appears to be slower than usual when it comes to pick-up, even when the throttle is at full power. So if you stop at a Signal, you may be deprived of the pleasure of being the first one off the block. Besides the car air-conditioner sobers down a lot but continues to do its job, albeit at a slower pace. So, if you expect the full force of the AC to give you a cold blast on your face and cool down your vehicle in a jiffy, that simply will not happen.
Do’s and Don’ts of Driving in Eco Mode.
The benefits of driving in Eco Mode are so many that one should seriously consider using it, but for this, a few do’s and don’ts are to be adhered to.
i) While driving in Eco Mode, don’t accelerate hard as your engine fuel supply has been curtailed by the onboard computer and hence will not be able to deliver the power required for sudden acceleration. As such adopt a gently driving style and enjoy the savings.
ii) Do not apply sudden break unless in an emergency.
iii) Always ensure that your vehicle tyres are properly inflated as per the manufacturers’ specifications. This could save you an extra three percent. On the other hand, if the tyre pressure is poor it may put undue stress on the engine thereby negating the benefit of Eco mode.
iv) Using good quality motor oil, regular servicing of the vehicle as per schedule, cleaning or replacement of clogged air filters, all contribute towards the improvement of mileage by as much as ten percent.
v) Maintaining an average speed of around 60kmph is most ideal for fuel economy. Any increase by even a meagre 5kmph may lead to greater consumption and lowering of mileage. Speeding un-necessarily may have an impact of even upto one-third of fuel consumption.
vi) Remember the ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign by the Delhi Govt. It not only helps cut the pollution by 15-20 percent but also helps save fuel. The savings in the case of vehicles with larger engines is more.
vii) Use of Eco mode when the vehicle is at a constant speed, not requiring any sudden acceleration or deceleration.
When & Where to use Eco Mode
Since Eco Mode lowers the performance of the engine it should be used only while travelling at lower speeds. Most city-dwellers today live in gated colonies or condominiums, close to their workplace with most amenities available within a stone throw. Eco mode is for such travellers, who need to make a trip to the local departmental store, pharmacist or a short trip to visit a friend or relative. For example in a city like Bangalore, with chock-a-block slow-moving traffic, the Eco Mode should be highly useful.
When not to use Eco Mode
Eco Mode is not to be used on the Highways where you may need to maintain a constant high speed with intermittent accelerations to overtake other slow-moving vehicles. In case of any emergency, the vehicle will not be able to provide the thrust to get out of a tough situation if it is in Eco Mode. Moreover, if you consider yourself to be an incarnation of Aryton Senna or wish to re-enact a scene from the Fast & Furious, Eco mode is not for you.
How does Eco Mode Impact the Engine & Can I always drive in Eco Mode?
Car experts believe that driving in Eco Mode has no impact on the engine and that it can be used at all times, provided you drive within the city, requiring less acceleration. Since the on-board computer continuously monitors the vehicle performance and adjusts the fuel output accordingly, there is no harm in using it. Moreover, since it lowers the performance of the Air Conditioner, the stress on the engine is considerably lowered.
All-in-all Eco Mode is a blessing, more so when the fuel prices are going through the roof. As discussed, it is not only a blessing to the purse but also is less taxing on the vehicle. Let’s give it a try. Do write back with your experiences and what impact it had on the total fuel consumption. Happy Driving & Saving!