Economical Driving Tips
A great deal is being done to promote the reduction in CO2 emissions and a simple, cost-effective way to do this is to change the way you drive and reduce the fuel consumed. This will have a positive effect as you will save money in fuel costs.
1. Maintain Correct Tyre Pressures
Under-inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means your engine has to work harder. The more fuel that is used, the more emissions are produced. Simply check and adjust your tyre pressures regularly, and particularly before long journeys to ensure they are to vehicle manufacturers’ recommended pressures for the load. Pressures given in handbooks are for cold tyres, so ideally you should check before starting journeys with a personal digital pressure gauge.
2. Remove Unnecessary Weight
Unload any items you won't need for your journey before you set out to reduce the load on your engine.
3. Drive at an Appropriate Speed
Speed limits are the maximum lawful speeds which may be driven in ideal circumstances. If you allow for sufficient time for journeys and as long as traffic conditions permit, savings on your fuel costs can be significant. For example, at 70mph you could be using up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more fuel than at 50mph.
4. Congestion and Stop/Start Driving
The engine uses more fuel every time you stop, then restart in a traffic queue. Therefore, when approaching the traffic ahead, slow down early by gently lifting your foot off the accelerator while keeping the car in gear. In this way, the traffic may have started moving again by the time you approach the vehicle in front. When in traffic jams, let a gap open up before moving off and try to keep a reasonable gap in front of you which will reduce the number of stops/starts.
5. Over Revving the Engine
Modern engines are designed with engine management systems so they are efficient from the moment they are switched on. Thus there is no need to over-rev as it only wastes fuel and increases engine wear. Using your gears wisely by changing up a gear a little earlier can also reduce revs. If you drive a diesel car, try changing up a gear when the rev counter reaches the top of the torque band as given in the handbook. Effectively, drive as if there is an egg under the accelerator and you don’t want to break it!
6. Idling is Wasting Fuel
When the engine is idling you are wasting fuel. If you are likely to be at a standstill for more than 3 minutes, simply switch off the engine.
7. Tyre Preventive Maintenance - Economic and Safety Benefits
Most drivers are aware that tyre pressures are important but few realise the benefits of tyre preventive maintenance which are:
8. Tyre Pressure Check
It is generally agreed that despite the advances in tyre technology, for optimum performance drivers and/or fleet operators should check tyre pressures weekly, to identify leaks before serious damage is done as a result of running on low pressures or flat tyres.
However, it’s not surprising that studies have shown that tyre pressure checks do not conform to these guidelines:
Vehicle Manufacturers' Recommended Pressures
As quoted in owners’ handbooks, pressures are for a cold tyre, which is unfortunate as up to 60% of drivers check their tyre pressures while hot, at fuel stations, which means they are inevitably under-inflating them. Pressure increases significantly with heat, by an average of 2 to 5 psi (pounds per square inch), depending on whether the vehicle is being driven on rural roads or motorways.
Despite popular belief, the accuracy of gauges at fuel stations varies considerably.
Motorists inevitably under-inflate their tyres by setting them to the “cold” pressure when the tyre has been heated through driving. Due to the inaccuracy of fuel station gauges this can lead to an increase in fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Furthermore this under-inflation leads to seriously reduced tyre life and increases the risk of a dangerous high-speed blow outs.
The best advice to motorists at present is to buy a low-cost digital gauge and a 12 volt air pump, either separately or combined in one unit, and set the tyre pressures when they are cold, before the car is driven.