Kolawole Ajayi: Eco-Driving is The Way Forward for Nigerian Motorists
It has become evident that the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government of Nigeria since May 29th has come to stay in Nigeria. Even though the Federal Government has released funds to all states in Nigeria to cushion the resultant effects of this policy, the reality still remains – the majority of Nigerians find it hard to move from one place to the other due to high costs.
Due current economic situation Nigerians face, I’d like to introduce you to eco-driving, a driving behaviour that tends to ease the debilitating effects of the removal of fuel subsidies on Nigerian drivers. It is simply a concept about driving to save cost, energy, time and lives in general. According to the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute, eco-driving is “driving behaviours that can result in reduced emissions and fuel consumption, which saves money and is also good for the environment.”
Eco-driving includes some routines that must be observed:
Driving smoothly at a lower engine speed
As a driver, it’s important to accelerate smoothly and avoid unnecessary revving of your car’s engine. It’s worth noting that most vehicles are designed to operate at low engine speeds, rather than the high engine speeds we often see on the roads. By taking it easy on the accelerator, you can improve your car’s fuel efficiency, reduce wear and tear on the engine, and make the roads safer for everyone.
For any type of vehicle you drive or see, there is a defined total number of people and weight of load you can carry per time. However, we tend to see cases where drivers go beyond these stated standard weights. For instance, drivers now carry two passengers in the passenger’s seat. In fact, sometimes, drivers accommodate another passenger in the driver’s seat. These actions are not only abnormal but highly dangerous. Aside from weighing down the vehicle, thereby causing the car to need more fuel and energy to move from one point to the other, they also hamper the driver’s performance in driving smoothly. Also noteworthy is that any vehicle overloaded usually has a negative effect on the performance of the braking system.
Avoid car idling
Many people tend to leave their car engines running for long periods, especially when they are having conversations with their friends and family members. I often wonder whether this is a display of affluence or ignorance. This act not only causes environmental pollution but also affects the vehicle’s engine and increases fuel consumption.
Drive within the speed limit
As humans, the faster we run, the quicker we get tired. And to guide against dehydration, we take in more fluids. This same goes for vehicles; the faster a vehicle speeds, the more fuel is needed to power on. Also, when the speed of an engine doubles, the air resistance increases by four and by this, the car needs more energy to overcome the air.
It is important we stick to the speed limit allotted by the government. On expressways, car drivers are to cover 100km per hour while bus drivers are to drive within 90km per hour. In built-up areas, both bus and car drivers should not exceed 50km per hour. When you adhere to these given standards as drivers, it allows the vehicle to perform smoothly.
General car maintenance
Due to the economic situation in Nigeria where most car owners cannot afford brand-new cars, it is recommended that after purchasing and registering a vehicle, the first stop should be at a mechanic workshop for general maintenance. This should become a regular practice to maintain the vehicle’s performance and to detect any future problems. General maintenance includes changing the oil and air filters, and brakes (if necessary), and replacing any other parts that need replacement. It is advisable to do this on a regular basis, either after a certain number of kilometres or at the end of every month. The frequency depends on the number of kilometres covered, the state of the engine, the type of road you drive on, and the quality of engine oil used. It is recommended to use the type of engine oil suggested by the vehicle manufacturer. If this is not possible, you should do some research and choose a quality oil used by drivers of similar vehicles. Also, buy quality fuel. This cannot be over-emphasised because the quality of the fuel you buy also determines the performance of your car.
To enjoy eco-driving, it’s crucial to ensure your vehicle is in good shape. In light of the current economic situation in our country due to the removal of fuel subsidies, it’s important to drive with care. This means avoiding speeding, unnecessary car idling, and purchasing quality fuel. Additionally, it’s best to avoid overloading your vehicle with heavy loads. Regular maintenance of your vehicle is also essential, and don’t forget to inflate your vehicle’s tires to the standard pound per square inch.
Featured Image by David Iloba for Pexels.