Many of us are looking at ways to save energy within the home, but have you thought about your fuel consumption on the road? It’s hard not to with the price of fuel these days, and as the availability of oil reduces, the price is only set to creep ever higher.
Although your car’s fuel efficiency rating will have some bearing on your vehicle’s fuel consumption rate, there are further steps you can take as a driver to make your driving style more environmentally friendly. In fact, it’s estimated that the average UK driver could potentially save up to £350 per year with a slight change in driving techniques. With fuel prices on the rise, there are more reasons than ever to try and drive more efficiently!
Choose an Efficient Vehicle
If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll want to compare models carefully with fuel economy in mind. Using a car comparison site to look closely at fuel efficiency can start you off on the right foot. The right car will depend on your commuting needs and how often your family hits the road. Generally speaking, smaller cars will be more fuel-efficient, however city cars don’t suit everyone’s needs. If you need a larger car for a growing family or require boot space for sports equipment or shopping bags, taking a closer look at the latest 4×4 and people carrier reviews which show that even these traditional gas-guzzlers have stepped up their game recently.
Keep your Car Well Maintained
Whether you’re driving an old or new vehicle, keeping it in good shape can boost efficiency. Check your tyre pressure at least once a month, if not weekly. Not only are under-inflated tyres a potential safety hazard, but they create more drag on the pavement and increase your fuel consumption by as much as 3%. Add to that the additional wear and tear and it could add to the annual running costs of your vehicle considerably, for the sake of a check which takes less than 2 minutes.
Remove Unnecessary Loads
Lightening your load can also have a direct impact on your efficiency as a driver. Remove any bulky roof racks or boxes, which will lighten your car and make it more aerodynamic. Unused roof racks increase drag and make your engine work harder. In addition, it’s wise to take heavy objects out of the boot and keep a clear interior to travel lightly. That way you won’t be wasting fuel lugging unnecessary weight around.
Practice Smart Driving on the Road
Once you’re on the road, you can make a few conscious changes to go easier on your engine. If you have a reasonably new car, there’s no reason to let the engine warm up. This wastes energy and is usually unnecessary. It’s better to drive at a steady, slow pace for five minutes to warm up the car.
Avoiding high speeds and sudden changes in movement will also help boost efficiency. It’s estimated that driving over 85 mph uses 25% more fuel than driving at 70 mph. If you know there’s a stop ahead, try to decelerate early to avoid a sudden stop. The less time your foot spends on the accelerator, the less fuel you’ll burn.
As you drive, you can also try to reduce drag on the car by closing your windows at high speeds. This makes the car work much harder and burns fuel. Air conditioning also decreases your fuel economy, so if you can use your air vents instead this can save a great deal of fuel, but using air con is still more efficient than opening windows when on the motorway.
Selecting the correct gear can also help your engine by ensuring it is not being over-worked. When waiting at traffic lights, it’s also good practice to put your handbrake on rather than having your foot on the brake, plus resisting the temptation to rev your accelerator will prevent wastage of fuel.
By following these basic techniques, you can potentially improve your vehicle’s efficiency and save pounds at the pump. If you want to cut down your vehicle’s impact even more, why not try and reduce how much you rely on it?
There are many alternative forms of transportation, from cycling to carpooling that can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Simply sharing your daily commute with one other person can save about a tonne of carbon dioxide each year, according to Liftshare.org for example. By minimising your car use and becoming a more efficient driver, you can do your part to cut costs and CO2 emissions at the same time.