Driving economically is not only great for your pocket, it helps the environment too.
While hybrid cars can help you save fuel when making short trips around town, and more electric cars are becoming available, you don’t need to head straight to the shop to trade in your current car. Instead, by driving as efficiently as possible you can get more out of your motor.
Here are some top tips for economical driving:
#1 Plan Your Journey
It sounds obvious, but it’s important to always plan your journey so that you don’t get lost and end up driving further than you planned. Writing a list of directions on a piece of paper is cheaper, lighter and easier than purchasing, installing and functioning a sat-nav. Plus there’s less chance of putting in the wrong postcode and ending up the wrong side of the country! Stick the paper in a visible place on your car dashboard for easy reference when driving.
#2 Keep Them Pumped
If you have ever tried to ride a bike with a flat tyre, you’ll know how much extra energy you need to exert just to keep moving. Your car tyres work in exactly the same way. So it’s worth ensuring that your car tyres are kept at the manufacturer’s recommended maximum pressure. For further sustainability, consider purchasing eco-friendly tyres that deliver optimal efficiency.
#3 Lighten the Load
The heavier your vehicle is, the more fuel is needed to move it. Every little counts, so make sure you throw out your rubbish frequently and don’t store too much in the boot. Everything from your spare wheel to the CDs in your glovebox add extra weight to your vehicle, reducing its efficiency. Removing your car roof rack or mounted cycle racks when they’re not being used will further lighten the load. You should also make an effort to keep your windows and sunroof closed when travelling at speed in order to minimise aerodynamic drag on your vehicle.
#4 Turn it Off
Using air conditioning in your car adds to your fuel consumption. You should run your vehicle’s air conditioning system weekly to ensure that it remains healthy, but living in the UK means it’s doubtful that you’ll need to run it much more often, even in the summer. On particularly hot days, make use of reflective foil sunshades by sticking them in the car windows when parked to help keep the heat out of the vehicle.
#5 Don’t Be a Fool with Fuel
Whilst it’s important to consider the different fuel prices at your local petrol stations, it would be a false economy to drive miles across town in order to save a quid on a tank of petrol. Cheap petrol can ruin your engine, whilst premium choices often fail to deliver any measurable gain in efficiency. When filling-up, only buy as much fuel as you need. Petrol weighs approximately 1.6lb per litre, so the less you are carrying around, the less you’ll use in the long run!
#6 Drive like a Pro!
The way that you drive your vehicle dictates the amount that you will spend on both fuel and maintenance. Set off promptly. Keep revs to a minimum at all times. Accelerate smoothly, sticking to a safe and legal speed, and drive in as high a gear as possible. When approaching a junction, don’t simply drive up to it and then brake hard, instead reduce your speed in advance by slowly lifting your foot from the accelerator and rolling to a stop. And try not to leave the engine running idle as it wastes fuel, so if you are stopping for more than 10 seconds switch the engine off.
BONUS TIP: Advanced tuition courses such as ‘Pass Plus’ can help teach you how to drive economically, as well as safely.