Cutting fuel bill – Car or Ship

Car or ship, both combined are one of the largest consumer of fossil fuel. For the car owners’ one of the biggest worries is to run car efficiently, similarly when ship is in service at sea, the ship owner or charterers’ biggest concern is fuel expenses. Motive is common, save fuel, cut fuel bill and in addition to it reduce emission. Comparing the factors of fuel saving closely, we will find that numerous similarities applies in both cases. There are many tips to reduce fuel bill while one is driving a car or running a ship, let us have a look and compare them;

  1. Buy cheapest fuel – Car owners often look for gas stations where the petrol is available  cheapest, may be for which they have to drive a mile extra to reach there. Similarly ship owners always prefer to bunker at Singapore, Rotterdam, Novorossiysk, Houston or other cheapest port en route or some times divert ships to reach these bunkering points. A $20 per ton saving in fuel will save millions of USD over the years. (60 tons / day consumption$20 per ton saving280 days running of ship = $336000 yearly saving)
  2. Stay aerodynamic – A perfect aerodynamic shape of car reduces the air resistance and adds to fuel savings. Similarly modern ships are being designed in better and better hydrodynamic shape; bulbous bow, streamline hull design, kort nozzle, ducted propeller and many other similar designs are fitted singularly or in combination on many vessels.
  3. Slow down  vs eco speed. – While driving a car, dropping seed from 80mph to 70mph could save you up to 25% in fuel.If you’re on smaller roads, slowing down from 70mph to 60mph could save another 10%. Similarly ship’s engine running at 80% load and 70% load makes huge difference in fuel saving and minor difference in speed gain.


4. Drive sensibly – Navigate sensibly at sea – Driving zigzag, frequent changing of lane, accelerating & decelerating frequently and overtaking should be avoided. Each single steering activity increases fuel consumption, so minimise steering activity, changing lanes unnecessary etc. Similarly for ships the auto pilot should be used and the  straight line, constant speed. Each single rudder activity increases fuel consumption and cost. Autopilots can adapt automatically to the current weather and sea conditions. Vessels on autopilot and well adjusted autopilot contributes to 2-3 % of fuel saving.
5. Maintain your car – maintain fuel equipment for ship – Regular servicing of car, change of lubricant, filters, air filters improves the engine efficiency and saves fuel. So servicing as recommended by car makers must be carried out before due date. Cleaner the engine and its component, lesser the moving friction and saves fuel. Similarly, for ships, a well maintained fuel pumps, injection valves, turbocharger, turbocharger air filter, and well timed and tuned engine improves combustion and thus saves fuel.
6. Less braking and less acceleration – Use minimum braking and minimum acceleration. Constant speed journey is always saves fuel, as for each acceleration the car throttles to maximum resulting in overconsumption for the period. Similarly for ships, when she accelerates, the fuel consumption increases by 20-30% for a short period. If load changes, the lubrication also increases by 20% for a set time. So a constant speed car or ship will have better fuel efficient journey than the  frequent accelerating and braking ones.
7. Look after car tyres – look after ships hull – Tyre pressure should be always as recommended by the manufactures and as per person sitting in the car. Underinflated tyres results in rolling resistance and causes increased fuel consumption in the range of 4%-7% (city driving 4% and 7% on highway). A retrofit tyre pressure monitoring system can be installed for regular monitoring of tyre pressure. At least once month, car tyre pressure should be checked.
8. Reduce weight vs Dead weight or Ballast – Car should have minimum additional weights, accessories, fittings, baggage, tools etc. Similarly ship also should have minimum ballast and deadweight onboard. Bunker and lubricating oil are necessary for the trade but should not be topped up all the time. A 500 tons extra bunker during the voyage will cause additional burning of fuel to carry dead stock.
9. Air con and windows –  Air con needs fuel to run it, in town, the engine uses high power due to acceleration and low gear drive. so it is recommended to use air con on highways but open windows in town. Similarly on ships, unnecessary equipment must be stopped according to demand and weather condition. Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) is one of the best energy saving device installed on board for pumps and blowers for variable demand due to weather and engine load condition.
10. Automatic cars uses 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals so drive manual. However, with new developments in technology, the gap is closing as modern, efficient semi-automatics become more popular. There are little difference between automatics and manuals on motorways.

Read more on 15 fuel saving methods on ship.

Car and ships’ fuel saving techniques can be summarises as below;

Car Ship
Buy cheapest fuel  Bunker should be arranged at cheapest location.
Stay aerodynamic Vessel profile should be efficient and hydrodynamic.
Slow down. Go at slower speed when not in hurry. Dropping from 80mph to 70mph could save you up to 25% in fuel. If you’re on smaller roads, slowing down from 70mph to 60mph could save another 10% . Slower speed gives better fuel efficiency and lesser slip. after certain revolutions of engine the fuel consumption increases more than the resulted speed.
Drive sensibly. Navigate sensibly
Maintain your car, get is serviced regularly. vs fuel equipment for ship
Less braking and less acceleration  Reduction and increase of speed frequently causes unnecessary fuel consumption. So engine rpm should be kept constant as far as possible during the voyage.
Look after tyre Look after hull and propeller
Reduce weight Reduce dead weight or ballast
Air con and windows – use air con on highways but open windows in town.  Save energy, don’t run unnecessary equipment. In cold climate, stop blowers. Variable Frequency Drive is one of the best energy saving installed on board for pumps and blowers.
Automatic cars use 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals.

Categories: Eng & Tech, Industry, Navigation

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