Some may think that to get the best fuel economy you need to drive like a saint, and while there is certainly some truth in that, it’s not just about your driving habits.
It is also important that your car is properly maintained and set up in the right manner to also help towards a healthy fuel bill. Here are some of the most important eco driving tips.
First and foremost, looking after your car’s engine is paramount to the health of the vehicle, which will directly affect its efficiency and therefore your fuel economy.
Having your car serviced at its designated intervals is massively important in helping towards this cause. Not only will this ensure your oil is topped up and in good condition, but a service also helps identify any underlying problems that may be hindering your car in other ways.
Factors such as tyre pressures also play an important part in fuel economy. Under-inflated tyres cause more friction on the road and therefore increased rolling resistance. On top of that, it can be dangerous to have under-inflated tyres as it increases the chance of a blowout, while your steering could be compromised as well as your braking distances.
One element that kills fuel economy rather effectively is weight. As such, removing any unnecessary items from your car can be healthy practice in aiding your economy, so check that boot before setting off and see if you actually need to take everything in it.
This is especially the case for the likes of roof boxes; not only do these add plenty of weight to push down on the car, but also hinder the aerodynamics of the car. This leads to a similar case as under-inflated tyres where there is more resistance and more stress on the car, making the engine have to work harder.
Planning ahead can save you money on the fuel bill in different ways. Firstly, heading out on a trip where there is plenty of traffic will leave your car idling and having short bursts of acceleration as you try to make progress, which will greatly affect your fuel economy. With this in mind, if you can find a clearer alternative route, it might be best to take it to keep you moving.
In addition, short journeys don’t help keep fuel costs down, either, as your car’s engine will not have to time to warm up and a cold engine uses more fuel. Combine trips if you can to enable your car’s engine to get to an efficient temperature.
In winter months when your windscreen is susceptible to icing over, it’s not good practice to leave your car running and use the heating to clear the screen. Instead, get straight on with de-icer and a scrape the ice away.
Now for when you get behind the wheel. It’s general practice when trying to maximise fuel economy that your driving style be smooth and steady.
To accomplish this, both your acceleration and braking need to be gentle when possible. Using as little revs as you can will help the cause the most, so changing up a gear in good time and not sharp acceleration will be key here.
If you read the road well, you’ll be able decelerate just as smoothly and you may be able to do so without braking. As previously mentioned, stop-start driving will noticeably hinder your fuel economy, so reading the road is vital in these circumstances.
At low speeds it can be good practice to cut out the use of your air con, as it uses up more fuel than when travelling above 40mph. Other electrical systems in the car will also sap the fuel, so only have them on when needed.
Watch your speed, not only for legal reasons but also as you may be surprised how going 10mph faster can affect your fuel economy. For example, on the motorway, travelling at 80mph will use up to 25% more fuel than it would at 70mph.
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