Fuel prices are steadily on the decline, but there’s still further savings to be made simply by improving the way you drive.
Changing your driving methods and how you maintain your vehicle shouldn’t be challenging either.
If you allow enough time for each journey you can travel at suitable speeds and in higher gears, which uses less fuel. This also decreases the likelihood of having to accelerate or brake suddenly, which uses more fuel and produce CO2.
Tyres should be kept at their required pressure to ensure both efficiency and safety. Make a note each month to check tyre pressures at the local garage and avoid them becoming under-inflated. Correct tyre pressures are usually found in the vehicle’s handbook.
Did you know that driving with under-inflated tyres may increase fuel consumption by up to 4%, according to the International Energy Agency!
Weight is another essential factor behind efficient driving. Remove any unnecessary items from the vehicle before you travel. The lighter the vehicle, the less the engine has to work and thus, reducing fuel consumption.
If you have start-stop technology in your vehicle you should utilise it. When you remain stationary with the engine on, it wastes fuel without your vehicle even travelling.
There’s help online too. Join over 1.6 Million motorists using www.petrolprices.com and start saving money on your fuel across over 10,000 UK petrol stations.
Here are helpful tips from the AA to help you become a more efficient driver.
- Servicing: get the car serviced regularly (according to the manufacturer's schedule) to maintain engine efficiency
- Engine oil: make sure you use the right specification of engine oil (check the handbook)
- Tyres: check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys; under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel (check the handbook and increase pressures for heavier loads as recommended)
Before you drive:
- Lose weight: extra weight means extra fuel so if there's anything in the boot you don't need on the journey take it out
- Streamline: roof-racks and boxes add wind resistance and so increase fuel consumption. If you don't need it take it off – if you do, pack carefully to reduce drag
- Leave promptly: don't start the engine until you're ready to go as idling wastes fuel and the engine warms up more quickly when you're moving; in the winter, scrape ice rather than leave the car idling to warm up
- Don't get lost: plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the risk of getting lost and check the traffic news before you leave
- Combine short trips: cold starts use more fuel so it pays to combine errands such as buying the paper, dropping off the recycling, or collecting the kids
- Consider alternatives: if it's a short journey (a couple of miles or so) could you walk or cycle rather than taking the car?
- Easy does it: drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking
- Decelerate smoothly: when you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear
- Rolling: if you can keep the car moving all the time, so much the better; stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling
- Change up earlier: don't labour the engine but try changing up at an engine speed of around 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car. This can make such a difference that all cars in the future are likely to be fitted with a 'Gear Shift indicator' light to show the most efficient gear change points.
- Cut down on the air-con: air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. So if it's a hot day open the windows around town and save the air conditioning for high speed driving. Don't leave air-con on all the time but aim to run it at least once a week throughout the year to maintain the system in good condition.
- Turn it off: electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, demister blowers and headlights, when you don't need them
- Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph
Click here to find out more information from the AA.