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Save Money With More Fuel Efficient Driving

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Fuel Prices Efficent Driving Environment

Fuel prices have been extremely volatile in recent years, and recently the price of a litre of petrol broke the £1.20 barrier in the UK for the first time ever. One thing is for certain, high fuel prices will only keep getting higher in the years to come, as fossil fuel supplies are reduced over time.

The amount of fuel we use has already had a significant impact on the environment around us. It is believed that road traffic and fuel usage is the second biggest contributory factor towards global warming, behind CO2 emissions.

Yet for most of us, although we understand the damage that is caused by our vehicles, we still rely on them to take us to where we have to go. Seeing as giving up our vehicles is impractical and for many unthinkable, it therefore makes environmental and financial sense for all drivers to consider ways in which they can make their fuel consumption more efficient. By doing this we can all not only manage to keep our fuel costs down, but also do our bit to help in conserve valuable fuel resources.

So what can people do to make their driving as efficient as possible?

Changing your Driving Attitude

Every driver, even the most inexperienced learner, understands that to make a car accelerate you need to push down on the accelerator with your right foot. Acceleration is, however, just one small part of the process of driving a car.

As a driver gains more experience, they begin to appreciate that a calm, measured attitude towards driving as well as observation and anticipation, can have a dramatic impact on the standard of your driving. Adopting this attitude can also help you to conserve fuel. Defensively minded driving allows you to think about potential accidents or events before they happen, and by doing so, you avoid factors such as excessive speed or sudden breaking that help to increase fuel usage.

Good Car Maintenance

If you’re interested in ensuring that your car doesn’t guzzle fuel, you should make sure that it is well maintained. A poorly performing engine can use up to 50% more fuel and spew out 50% more emissions that the same model of car that has been better looked after. Regular services can help to detect any engine problems before they turn into anything more serious, and are well worth the expense.

Tyres are also an extremely important feature of fuel economy. If your tyres are not properly inflated, then your fuel consumption will increase as your tyres have to work harder to compensate. If your four tyres are each under-inflated by 10% then your fuel consumption will rise by as much as 20%. You will also have to face additional costs for having to replace your tyres sooner and more frequently.

Lightening the Load

Most of us don’t drive around with a boot load of luggage or sets of golf clubs, but probably all of us have some items in our boots that really don’t need to be there. You should remember that your fuel consumption will rise by 1% for every percentage of additional weight you add to the car. Conversely though, by removing any excess in your car you can make a significant impact on your fuel consumption over the longer term.

Cut Down on the Short Journeys

Each time you start your car you are consuming fuel, and a cold engine uses far more energy to get started. Sometimes using the car is absolutely necessary, but there are also times when it is not. Set yourself a limit, say for example any journey of less than a mile, you will leave the car keys at home and find an alternative method of getting there.

On Route

As mentioned earlier, a relaxed driving style can help to eke more fuel economy out of your vehicle. Try to make your driving actions smooth and gradual. For example, if there’s an opportunity to slow down, take it by decelerating slowly and avoiding harsh braking. Once you have developed a more relaxed driving style you can think about other ways to reduce your fuel consumption. For example did you know that air conditioning increases fuel consumption by as much as 10%?

Even using a roof rack on your car can cause enough of an aerodynamic drag to use up additional fuel. Make sure that you remove it from your car on journeys when its not expected to be needed.

Finally, think about how you can conserve fuel on the motorway. It is estimated that most cars are at peak efficiency at a speed of 60 miles per hour. Every five miles per hour you drive beyond that peak, you are losing roughly 6% of fuel economy. Your fuel bills could fall dramatically if you spend less time in the fast lane.

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