How To Use Less Fuel When Driving

I read an interesting article on the BBC recently about using less fuel as we drive around on our day-to-day journeys. With the price per litre at record levels, it's really worth looking at ways to save ...

Firstly, is driving at 56mph the best speed to do? According to the RAC, there is no optimal speed for driving. The 56mph value came purely from fuel consumption tests, in a city, at 56mph, and at 75mph as well. Of course, the most efficient would be 56mph when you look at the other two, but it does depend on the type of car.

"The RAC says 45-50mph is actually the most efficient!"

One true urban legend is that your air conditioner uses extra fuel because your car has to use extra energy to run it. In fact, it can up your consumption by a massive 10%. Air conditioners use more power at the start to reduce the temperature in your car, so on a shorter trip, the extra consumption may be more noticeable.

So, you roll down your window and now you're increasing drag on your vehicle which will put up your fuel consumption by around 10% because the engine has to work harder. It's a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

Coasting is not recommended, by the RAC, the AA or even the Government. Putting in your clutch or even putting the car in neutral means you're driving your vehicle in an unsafe manner because you can't accelerate out of a tricky situation.

They also say it is unlikely to save you extra fuel because modern cars reduce the fuel volume to absolute minimal levels when you take your foot off the pedal simply to keep the engine running.

One useful technology being fitted to many new cars is the stop/start option!

If you're crawling along and the car's computer senses no movement and no accelerator input from you, it temporarily turns the engine off. This can save you up to 8% fuel on a typical journey, but obviously only works in traffic-heavy situations.

Cruise control is an effective way to reduce fuel costs because it smooths out your speed overall, ensuring your engine isn't working too hard, but to be honest, this only really works at higher speeds on a motorway where you'll be using more fuel anyway. On other roads, with hills and bends, it wouldn't be advisable to use cruise control anyway.

Ensure your tyre pressures are always correct. It's worth checking the PSI on at least a monthly basis as too little pressure and you will be using more fuel. You can find the correct pressure for your car in the manual or (usually) on an information plate by your driver's door.

"And don't forget to remove any unnecessary weight!"

We're all guilty of leaving things in the boot or on the back seat, but this is all weight we don't need. The more weight, the harder the engine has to work, and the more fuel it uses over a given journey.

Do clean out your car and remove anything you don't need.

If you feel inspired to find out more about anything I've said here, do call me on 01908 774320 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.