Eco Driving - How To Save Fuel and Drive More Efficiently
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.
Here are our top eco driving tips.
- 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.
- 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.
- Change into the highest appropriate gear as soon as you can. Revving the engine in low gear consumes large amounts of fuel. For maximum efficiency you should shift up a gear when the engine is revving between 2000 and 2500 revs.
- Maintain a steady speed using the highest gear possible. The most efficient speed is typically around 45 - 50mph. Driving faster than this will greatly increase your fuel consumption. The Department of Transport claim driving at 70 mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60 mph and up to 15% more than at 50 mph.
- 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.
- Avoid short journeys; car engines use more fuel when cold and catalytic converters take around six miles before they become effective.
- Check your tyre pressure regularly. Under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
- Don't turn on the engine and leave it idling in order to warm up your car. This wastes fuel and causes engine wear.
- Use cruise control (when appropriate), as this keeps a steady setting on the accelerator so doesn't vary the intake of fuel.
- Turning on the air condition for long periods of time will significantly increase fuel consumption, especially when driving in urban environments when the driving may be more start/stop. When travelling at consistent, higher speeds the fuel wastage will be less noticeable.
- Plan your journeys so that you avoid congestion, road works and getting lost.
- Have your car serviced according to the manufacturers schedule. This will help maintain engine efficiency and cut fuel consumption.
- 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.
- When approaching a roundabout or junction lift off the accelerator and cruise to a stop in gear. This way you will use no fuel. If you put the car into neutral and cruise to a stop the car will continue to consume fuel.
- 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.
- Keep your front and rear windows squeaky clean, as this will make them less likely to mist up meaning you won't have to turn on the car's fuel hungry heater or air-con.
- Buy a new car. Today's cars are around 23% more efficient than they were just 10 years ago.
Hazard Awareness and Planning Ahead
While driving you should constantly be scanning all around. Early recognition of potential hazards is 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.
Choose The Right Car
The single, best thing you can do to save fuel is buy a fuel efficient car. Generally speaking. the smaller the engine size, the smaller your fuel bill. Diesel engines are also more fuel efficient than petrol engines.
Cars with automatic transmissions use about 10 percent more fuel than similar models with manual transmissions.