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It’s a strange round of price adjustments for pump prices this week although the change is tiny. Only the price of RON95 petrol has been raised – and by just 1 sen – to RM2.21 a litre. RON97 petrol which is formulated to the cleaner Euro-4M standard has no change so it remains at RM2.47 a litre.

Diesel  gets cheaper by 1 sen, dropping a litre of Euro-2M to RM2.17 and for the much cleaner ultra low sulphur Euro-5 grade, you pay 10 sen more a litre whatever the Euro-2M price is. All prices will be effective nationwide after midnight.

It’s hard to say why the revisions are like this for this round but the government takes advantage of the ‘managed float’ to keep prices down as low as possible. It’s not a totally free market as the pump prices are determined by the government and accepted by all the oil companies. More than just global oil prices are considered and a stronger ringgit can also help.

Whatever the prices are, minimising fuel consumption is a good idea, not only for your own pocket but also to conserve energy resources. Burning less fuel can also help to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other undesirable by-products of combustion into the atmosphere.

When new, the filter element will be white. This has been used some time and cleaning won’t work anymore so it should be replaced.

So starting this week, we’ll offer a fuel-saving tip with each price revision announcement. For this week, the air filter is the topic and it’s a part which can impact fuel consumption when it gets old and dirty. The air filter is vital to prevent dirt in the air from getting into the engine and causing damage and wear. The material used traps fine particles on the outside as the air is sucked in but these particles stay on the filter.

Over time, they will of course accumulate and this will then block the flow of air. As the amount of air lessens, the amount of fuel injected will increase since the ratio of air and fuel must be 100%.

So if the amount of air is reduced, then the amount of petrol or diesel will increase. It occurs very gradually so you may not notice it but if you monitor your fuel consumption closely, you may find it changing over many months.

Some air filters can be cleaned a few times by just blowing off the dirt but after a while, you need to replace the filter altogether as cleaning doesn’t work anymore. With some cars, you can do it yourself but for the more expensive models, getting to the air filter box may be difficult so you would need to go to a service centre to do it.

While we recommend genuine parts to replace with, you might also find ‘second brand’ parts for older engines that may cost less. However, do not use brands that are unknown and definitely not counterfeit parts. The latter may look like original parts but cost significantly less, which should alert you.

Using counterfeit parts can result in damage to the engine. Not only the materials used might be poor quality and not filter well but the filter element might not be fixed properly and come loose. Worse, the filter material might disintegrate and get sucked into the engine.

Air filter replacement intervals are usually quite long so if you work out the cost versus the time it can be used, it is not likely to be expensive. So make it a point to change the air filter regularly and eliminate one cause of poor fuel consumption.

[Chips Yap]

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