Driving economically will not only help you reduce the cost of driving by reducing your fuel consumption but will also help you reduce your vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions and the negative impact your vehicle has on the environment.
Fuel cost is a major factor in any car driver’s expenditure so making sure your car is performing at maximum efficiency will help you save money on fuel bills.
Drive smoothly and gently and try to anticipate the road ahead – keep a good distance from the car in front to avoid sudden braking, drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid braking unnecessarily. Early recognition of potential hazards will mean you are able to anticipate problems early and take appropriate action in plenty of time. This will help you avoid late braking and harsh acceleration, both of which lead to higher fuel consumption.
Keep rolling – stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling. Slow early for traffic lights or approaching a queue and you might not have to stop completely.
Change up earlier – don’t labour the engine but try changing up at an engine speed of around 2,000 rpm (diesel) or 2,500 (petrol). Since 2014 new car models have been fitted with a gear shift indicator to encourage use of the most efficient gear. Think about the gears and listen to your engine. Revving the engine in low gear consumes large amounts of fuel.
Don’t’ Speed – going faster uses more fuel. Drive at 70mph and you’ll use up to 9% more than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Taking it up to 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph. Maintain a steady speed using the highest gear possible. The most efficient speed is typically around 45 – 50mph.
Use the accelerator smoothly and progressively – Always avoid harsh acceleration. When you can, stop pressing down on the accelerator and let the momentum of the car take you forward. Travelling down a hill with your foot off the accelerator can save a considerable amount of fuel. Hard acceleration and braking causes unnecessary mechanical wear on the vehicle parts and abrupt acceleration makes your vehicle consume more fuel and increase exhaust emissions to the atmosphere.
Speed Bumps – When approaching speed bumps drive smoothly and at a constant speed of between 15-20 mph. Braking sharply, accelerating, then braking sharply for the next speed bump will consume a lot more fuel than taking things steady.
Try to avoid sitting in traffic jams and road works – If you anticipate being stuck in a queue of traffic for more than a minute or so then cutting the engine will save petrol and reduce emissions.
Cruise Control – Use cruise control (when appropriate), as this keeps a steady setting on the accelerator so doesn’t vary the intake of fuel.
Know how to check your mileage – It’s essential to understand how you spend your fuel, in order to get a better performance. Become knowledgeable of your fuel consumption and try to analyse your driving profile.
Check your tyre pressures – Under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
Avoid short journeys – car engines use more fuel when cold and catalytic converters take around six miles before they become effective.
Parking – when parking in a parking bay try to reverse into the bay, so you can then drive out of it forwards. Reverse manoeuvring whilst the engine is cold uses a lot of fuel.
Unnecessary weight and Aerodynamics – Avoid unnecessary weight in the vehicle. Roof racks, bike carriers and roof boxes will affect your car’s aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency. If you have to use them make sure you remove them when not in use. Driving with the windows or sunroof open will also decrease your car’s aerodynamics.
Air Conditioning – Restrict the use of the air conditioning – it can account for a 10% increase in fuel consumption.