We all know that a “heavy foot on the gas” means that you burn more fuel when you drive. Aggressive stop-start driving, which involves rapid acceleration and hard braking, is not only dangerous, it’s bad for the planet. In an age when fuel efficiency is as important to drivers as the power of the car (and even how many cup holders it has!), there are many things you can do to drive more efficiently and improve your fuel economy at the same time. Not only will the planet thank you for it, but so will your bank balance! Here are our top tips to help you reduce your fuel consumption:
Maintenance – A Well-Maintained Vehicle Is More Efficient.
If your car is in good condition, it will be more fuel efficient. One of the most important (and often overlooked) factors is incorrect tyre pressure. This can increase fuel consumption by up to 10% and can also be dangerous. Check your tyres regularly and always keep them at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
Do Not Idle The Engine
Engine idling is a bad habit and, in most cases, completely unnecessary. Not only are you burning fuel, but you are also releasing pollution into the atmosphere. If you are going to be delayed for a few minutes, switch off the engine and restart it only when you are ready to go.
The more weight you have in your car, the more energy it will take to move it forward and the more fuel your engine will need. Empty the boot and interior of everything you don’t need and you’ll notice a difference in the amount of fuel you use.
Ditch The Roof Rack
Unless you absolutely need it, a roof rack or roof box is like dragging an anchor behind you! Roof boxes and even bike racks at the back, which create wind resistance, have a significant impact on the performance of your car. If you don’t need it, remove it.
Lighten That Lead Leg!
A heavy accelerator pedal foot means you’ll use more fuel. It also makes the journey much faster and uneven, and possibly even more dangerous. Avoid accelerating hard and you will significantly reduce your fuel consumption.
Switch Off The Air Conditioning
Unless the thermometer is really rising, turn off the air conditioning. In fact, it’s a good idea to turn off all unnecessary electrical appliances such as heated seats or heated windscreens – the more strain you put on the car’s electrical system, the harder the engine has to work and the more fuel you burn.
Plan Ahead To Avoid Heavy Traffic
Heavy traffic with stopping and braking not only means your car starts to waste fuel, but it can also easily overheat, causing serious engine damage. If you can, try to plan your journey to avoid the heaviest traffic during rush hour, and use satellite navigation devices that provide information on possible roadworks, and if necessary, change your route or try to make your journey when there will be less traffic on the road.
Do Not Overload The Engine
The more you rev your engine, the more fuel you will burn. If you drive a car with a manual gearbox, make it a habit to shift in and out of gear quickly.
If you’re driving downhill, you can ease off the accelerator. Gravity, the universal force that holds whole galaxies together, is perfectly capable of helping your car maintain its downhill speed without any extra input from you. If there’s an incline ahead, instead of accelerating, increase your speed before you climb the slope and let the car’s momentum carry you part way up. This technique is called “reading the road” and is a great driving skill to learn for smoother and more efficient driving.