5 Eco Driving Tips
By improving your hazard perception skills you can reduce the need to make unnecessary gear changes and reduce braking.
Looking further ahead allows you to anticipate problems and take the appropriate action, such as, easing off the accelerator or braking earlier. Note, when you brake, energy generated by the engine is lost. This energy is transferred into heat through the brakes or engine. When you slow down without shifting, the fuel supply is cut off completely.
When you approach an obstacle or crossroads, release the accelerator and leave the car in gear. Stay in the same gear and shift only when you want to accelerate again. Keeping the car moving prevents waste, because stopping and starting require extra fuel.
Keeping to the style is estimated to save the average driver, who racks up around 12,000 miles a year, between £100 and £200 annually. Motorists driving around 30,000 miles a year are said to save £500.
Note that it may still be necessary to show your brake lights to advise those behind that you are slowing.
Keeping to the speed limits is advised but speed is always based on conditions. When travelling at 70mph you should be aware that you use 30 percent more fuel than when driving at 50mph, however, it's important to note that travelling to slowly may inconvenience other road users and could be dangerous.
For most cars, between 50 - 60mph is the most fuel-efficient speed. It is made even more efficient if the driver avoids constant and unnecessary acceleration.
Try to use the accelerator smoothly and progressively. When appropriate take your foot off the accelerator and allow the momentum of the car to take you forward.
When you need to move off from stationary, avoid over revving and likewise if you are likely to be stationary more than a few minutes be prepared to switch off the engine.
This is particularly relevant when travelling downhill as you will avoid using unburnt fuel without any loss of car control. Driving smoothly can reduce fuel consumption by about 15% as well as reducing wear and tear on your vehicle.
Smooth, easy gear changes are essential to good driving. By taking your time and thinking ahead will allow you the time to assess and decide on the appropriate gear choice.
When you drive at a constant speed, try to use the highest gear possible. As the engine revolves less when you are in a higher gear. Each revolution means fuel is injected, so the less the RPM, the less the fuel consumption.
When changing gears, consider the 'block gear changing method'. This means, missing out gears at the correct time as this helps to reduce the amount of time you are accelerating whist giving you more time to concentrate on the road ahead.
How many gears to miss out will depend on your vehicle and traffic conditions but do appreciate the flexibility of modern engines and the efficiency of braking systems and gearboxes.
The most common examples are changing from fifth to third or third to first. This may be when approaching a set of traffic lights when you can clearly see that you will need to come to a complete stop.
Changing gear as soon as possible is another fuel-saver. Changing gears when an engine speed is about 2,000rpm in a diesel car, or 2,500rpm in petrol, is the most efficient time.
Driving involves using your gears, acceleration and powers of anticipation to adopt a more fuel-efficient driving style. As well as reducing your fuel consumption, it's safer too.
Check the tyres
Check tyre pressures frequently as a tyre, even a new one, looses 0.15 bars of pressure each month.
Driving increases tyre pressure because it warms and expands the air inside the tyres, also be sure to check your tyres when they are cold (i.e. when you have driven less than three kilometers) to make sure that your pressure reading is accurate.
When tyre pressure is too low, it increases fuel consumption and influences road control and handling.
When replacing tyres, consider buying energy saving types which have reduced rolling resistance. These increase fuel efficiency and also improve grip on the road.
Switch off the engine at short stops
A short stop of even 30 seconds (e.g. at a railway crossing) is sufficient to make it worthwhile to switch off the engine. This is actually the same procedure as in the new start/stop systems promoted by car manufacturers to decrease fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The noise reduction is free!
Check your fuel consumption regularly to make sure you are getting the most from your vehicle. If you haven't changed your driving method, an increase in the average consumption can mean you need to have the vehicle serviced.
Eco-friendly drivers are constantly aware of how much fuel their vehicle use.
Simply making a few minor changes to your driving habits could save cash and help the environment.
Make a booking
Further reading: Safety check questions for practical car tests