Do you suffer from a heavy right foot? Do your car surge from one roundabout to the next, only to come to an abrupt halt as you are forced to brake hard?
If this is you, then you are burning money every time you sit in the car, as your actions guarantee that your car’s fuel consumption will be higher than it needs to be — possibly as much as 20% higher.
Of course, none of us are perfect. Sometimes you are just in a hurry, sometimes it’s just fun to ‘feel the power’ and other times you need to have a boot full of heavy stuff — that’s what boots are for, after all.
Despite all of this, it’s worth remembering that a 1mpg saving equates to a significant saving, as AA President Edmund King explains:
“At 43mpg, improving your car’s fuel efficiency by just one mile per gallon saves at least 3p a litre at the pump. With a saving of £1.55 from a small tank or more than £370 a year [based on average annual mileage], how much more incentive does a driver need?”
If you can save 3mpg — a pretty realistic goal — than that’s £1,110 per year. Can you afford not to? Eco driving is just as important as finding the cheapest fuel.
I’ve listed some key fuel-saving driving tips below, but if you can’t be bothered to read them, then just remember this: look ahead, accelerate and brake gently and let the car coast up to junctions rather than keeping the gas on and then braking at the last minute. Keep your speed below 65mph, too.
I did all of this on a recent long journey and got 300 miles out of half a tank — I normally get 250 miles from the same amount of fuel. That’s a 20% gain — what else can I say?
Fuel-efficient driving tips
- Read the road
Anticipating the actions of other motorists and the road ahead can reduce harsh acceleration and braking, cutting down fuel use on every journey.
- Reduce drag
Simple fixes such as removing roof/cycle racks when not in use or keeping windows closed at high speed helps vehicles to remain streamlined.
- Keep tyres inflated
In the UK around 10 million cars typically have dangerously under-inflated tyres. Correct inflation would save one million tonnes of CO2 emissions and around £440 million in fuel costs per year.
- Remove excess weight
Removing unnecessary items from a vehicle is a cheap and easy way to reduce fuel consumption.
- Be energy smart
Only use air conditioning systems when necessary, opening windows at lower speeds can better for fuel efficiency.
- Consider a driving efficiency course
Making a 20% cut in your fuel bill could add pounds to your pocket, so investing in a driving efficiency course could pay for itself.
- Regularly service your car
Simple maintenance such as using manufacturer-approved oil, replacing air filters and checking wheel alignment can make an important difference to fuel consumption.
- Buy a newer vehicle
Today’s cars are around 23% more efficient than they were just 10 years ago, so motorists upgrading vehicles stand to save even more.
I’ll leave the last word to motoring journalist Quentin Willson, who is always ready with a pithy quote:
“Consumers aren’t taught how to save fuel and its time they were.”