Six ways to drive more fuel efficiently

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Guest Writer
Driving Efficiently

Fuel efficient driving is not only much better for the environment; it also saves motorists precious pounds, meaning that learning to be an eco-friendly driver is the best thing for both people and the planet. The question is how can you cut down on your fuel emissions whilst still using your car?

1. Drive steadily

Aggressive driving, meaning shaky starts and hard breaking, is not only dangerous to motorists – it can also eat up fuel. Studies have shown that this type of driving can actually increase fuel consumption by as much as 40 per cent, while only reducing travel time by four per cent. Toxic emissions from cars with these types of drivers were also more than five times higher, meaning that you can make a real difference by motoring at a smooth and steady pace.

2. Get rid of excess weight

Making your vehicle as light as possible is another easy way to be more efficient with fuel. This means clearing all the miscellaneous junk that seems to accumulate in the boot or the back seat every week or so.

3. Check tyres

Checking that tyres are a) at the correct pressure level and b) all at the same pressure level can work wonders for fuel consumption. You can look up the car’s recommended pressure online and use an accurate pressure gauge to fill them all up equally. Driving underinflated tyres not only wastes fuel but wears out tyres much faster.

It is important to check pressure at least once a month as underinflated tyres can look normal but actually increase fuel consumption by as much as six per cent.

4. Switch off the engine when the car is at a standstill

Drivers often have that moment in a traffic jam, at lights or when waiting in the car for someone, of wondering whether to turn the engine off. Whilst you may be content to idle along and burn fuel, switching off the engine can really help to cut fuel consumption if you know you will be stationary for at least a couple of minutes.

5. Gear up

Selecting the right gear is a vital part of fuel economy and can really make a difference to your petrol consumption. Change up through the gears into the top gear possible as soon as you can – but without accelerating harder than is essential. This is because driving in a low gear wastes fuel.

However, it is important not to be lazy when it comes to gears, and letting the engine labour in top gear when you are on hills or going round corners is another fuel-burner.

6. Open the windows for some fresh air

Air conditioning units in cars tend to guzzle up the gas, so opening a window and allowing fresh air to flow through the car should be the first option on a hot summer’s day. That said, if the car is travelling at a particularly high speed, such as on the motorway, using the air conditioning may actually be more fuel efficient due to the wind resistance from open windows and sunroof. Also, it’s worth noting that air conditioning should be switched on a couple of times a month to ensure that the motor keeps ticking over – even in winter!

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