Despite the recent drop in the price of motor fuel, most drivers will already be aware that the cost has started to creep up again, increasing by over 10% since December, but there are still actions that every driver can take to reduce fuel consumption, and therefore reduce your own fuel bill.
Keeping the windows closed, not carrying excess loads, keeping your speed and engine revs down, all make a significant difference to fuel consumption, but here are out top ten tips to save.
- Drive your car in a gentle manner, avoiding excessive acceleration and deceleration and maintain a safe speed. Driving at speeds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour will increase fuel consumption by up to 16%.
- Check your tyres. This should be a routine practice anyway for safety reasons, but excessive friction with the tarmac can increase fuel consumption.
- Keep the engine revs at a more efficient level, without excessive revving. The most fuel efficient levels are between 2,000 and 2,500 for petrol cars, and between 1,500 and 2,500 in the case of diesels.
- Choose your gears wisely to keep the revs under control. First gear uses the most fuel, so it is advisable to use that for a shorter time as possible, moving through the gears to maintain a controlled level of revs.
- Check the weight of the vehicle. Are you carrying unnecessary items that will hinder the flow of air and reduce aerodynamics, such as a roof rack that you never use? An empty roof rack can increase fuel consumption by 2%, and when loaded, it can increase up to 35%. Are you carrying unnecessary items in the boot? Are you consuming fuel by transporting things in your car that are simply never required?
- Maintain a safe and adequate distance when driving. Managing to avoid sudden braking and acceleration helps fuel consumption saving and driving with the correct distance can reduce traffic jams and subsequently save between 10% and 15% of consumption.
- Leave the car at home. For journeys of less than 3 kilometres, it is cheaper to use public transport. Short journeys in towns and cities will increase fuel consumption.
- Keep the windows closed. Modern cars are designed for optimum aerodynamics, but having the windows open can reduced that effect, causing drag and subsequent fuel consumption increase. Driving with the windows open can increase fuel consumption by 5%.
- Check the air conditioning temperature. Having the temperature below 20 degrees can increase fuel consumption by 20%.
- Turn off the engine. Although it is not always practical, turning off the engine is one of the best ways of saving fuel. If standing for a length of time, turn off your engine and save.
There are other tips for saving fuel too, such as regularly checking you oil and air filters, checking the seals on your fuel tank as a slight leak can let fuel vapour escape and, although not necessarily significant, can increase fuel consumption and can put you at risk.
By adopting some of these methods described, you can make significant savings on fuel consumption, and many of them make for a safer and more comfortable driving experience too. Smooth and safe are the keys to better driving.