When it comes to driving in a fuel-efficient manner, most drivers have one or two bad habits – I know I do.
The fact is, almost all of us could reduce our fuel consumption by adjusting our driving techniques slightly – without any inconvenience or delay to our journeys.
This set of tips from Simon Elstow of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is a great starting point – you may have seen some of these before but some of them will probably be new to you, all of them will help reduce your car’s fuel consumption.
As Simon says: “We’ve all got better things to spend our money on than petrol. This will help you save cash and reduce your carbon emissions.”
- Keep your vehicle moving for as long as possible, even in traffic queues. This is far more fuel efficient than stopping and starting, so slow down earlier, to avoid braking harshly and often.
- Your cruising speed has a major impact on fuel economy so stick to the speed limit. This offers a good compromise between economy and getting somewhere. There’s a significant saving made by doing 70 instead of 80 – and you avoid any risk of speeding fines.
- Reverse into parking bays. If you do all the manoeuvring with a hot engine you can drive straight off when you come back and warm the engine up more quickly.
- Check your vehicle regularly to ensure it operates efficiently. In particular check the condition of your tyres, and measure tyre pressures when they’re cold.
- Remove unnecessary weight, including roof racks, car clutter and heavy items in the boot. The more weight you carry in the car, the more fuel you’ll burn.
- Keep the inside of the front and rear windscreens squeaky clean. Traffic fumes form a film on the glass which attracts moisture and makes them mist up easily – a clean screen will rarely mist up, so you won’t be using the heater and air-conditioning.
To this list, I will add two more fuel-saving tips of my own:
- Don’t use your car for journeys of less than a mile – walk or cycle instead. Unless you have a lot to carry, there really is no need. You will get fitter and spend less on fuel. You might even enjoy the fresh air!
Cold engines use lots of fuel and by the time you have got in the car, driven to your destination, found somewhere to park and got out, you could almost have walked there.
- Make sure you know where the cheapest fuel in your local area is – but don’t drive miles out of your way to get to it, the fuel you use will cost you more than the pennies you save!