Driving sensibly not only conserves fuel and saves you money; it also cuts pollution and helps to protect the environment too. In this blog, we look at different ways in which you can drive more efficiently.
Maintaining your vehicle
It is important that you service your car regularly – it will be more efficient and therefore economical. Keeping your engine topped up with the correct specification of oil will ensure that the internal components stay well lubricated and run smoothly.
It pays well to remember that tyres require maintenance too – the tyre manufacturer Michelin says that a vehicles’ fuel consumption can be increased by up to 6% when the tyres are underinflated – in terms of pounds and pence that will use up an extra £3.60 of a £60 tank of fuel!
Before you drive the vehicle
Before setting off, it’s worth considering whether you really need to use the car to get to where you need to be e.g. if your destination is nearby, could you walk there instead?
If you do need to travel by car, plan your journey in advance so that you not only take the most efficient route, you’re a lot less likely to get lost, which takes up valuable time and only wastes fuel.
Don’t start the vehicle until you are ready to set off – idling is also a waste of fuel and your engine actually warms up more quickly when you are moving. In winter, use a scraper rather than idling to melt the ice.
Think about what you are carrying; the heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel will be used so if you are carrying around unnecessary weight like boxes in the boot, remove these before you set off.
When you are driving
How you drive also has an effect on your fuel consumption. Try accelerating gently and smoothly, keeping a suitable distance between you and the car in front to prevent having to brake sharply. Unless your car has the auto stop-start function, when the engine is idle, keeping rolling can be more fuel efficient thank actually coming to a standstill. So, when approaching lights or a queue, try slowing down early to avoid having to stop the vehicle completely.
By sticking to the speed limits you will make your fuel go further – the faster you drive, the more fuel you will use e.g. driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than 50mph.
You can also conserve fuel by making smart use of your cars’ gears. You should drive in the highest possible gear that’s suitable for the road and conditions, and when changing gear and the conditions allow, you can skip a gear. Changing from third to fifth for example will reduce strain on the transmission, and likewise when slowing down try not to shift through every gear.
Being economical with the use of the air conditioning is also a good idea, particularly when driving at low speeds as this uses more fuel; in summer, try rolling down the windows to keep cool instead. This might not be as practical for higher speeds or winter driving, but you can still make a difference by using the air con or heater to get to a desired level of either chill or warmth and then switching it off.