Fuel saving tips for trips in your car.
- Make fewer trips
Did you know that when you drive a car that has been parked for a few hours, the engine is cold and it uses much more fuel for the first five miles or so? Ideally you’d combine all your daily errands into one big trip. Often that’s not possible if you have to pop out during the day to drop off and collect the family, but try not to go out separately to do a quick shop or buy a newspaper.
- Don’t carry round unnecessary weight
Just like your body, your car needs more fuel to move around more weight. So, just as you wouldn’t wear a heavy rucksack unless you had to, don’t cart stuff around in the boot of your car unless you need it. Ironically, the heavier the item (the usual culprits are golf clubs and trolleys), the less likely you are to bother taking it out of the boot and the greater the effect it will have on your fuel consumption.
- Don’t push the accelerator down too far
This one always surprises people. It’s not just to do with what gear you’re in. You may be in a high gear and travelling at a sensible speed, but if you’re pushing the accelerator down a long way to avoid changing into a lower gear (into third from fourth, for example), then you’re actually using more fuel not less.
4.Anticipate the need to slow down.
Most of the (normal) wear on clutches is in 1st gear from a stop, and if you can avoid stopping, you save fuel and mechanical wear and tear. You can also save some fuel by trying to understand what the traffic is doing in front of you, and travelling steadily at a slow speed, rather than accelerating and braking constantly. Don’t tail gate for the same reason.
- Skip an Occasional Gear
No rule says you have to use each gear of your manual transmission every time, going through a never-changing 1-2-3-4-5 sequence. Try going directly from first to third or go from second to fourth without using third.
- Check your tyre pressures regularly
The lower the tyre pressure, the more fuel the car needs to move it down the road. We recommend that you take five minutes every fortnight to check the tyres. If you’re not sure what the pressure should be, you can normally find the figures near the lock inside the driver’s door.
- Accelerate smoothly
The perfect way to travel is at a constant speed (ideally around 50mph), and in the highest gear (five or six). So if you’re a patient driver, you’ll have lower fuel bills – it’s as simple as that. It’s unrealistic to avoid overtaking, but there’s little point accelerating past a car to simply be in front of it at the next set of lights – any instant gratification will appear on your fuel bill the next time you fill up.
- Stick to the speed limit
If you ignored the law, you could shave a bit of time off your journey by travelling above the speed limit, particularly on long motorway trips. But, although you might arrive about 20 minutes early on a 200-mile trip by travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph, it’s also a false economy. While the car is running for 20 minutes less, it uses much more fuel when it is travelling. That 20 minutes could cost you up to £7 extra in fuel.
- Turn the air-conditioning off
It’s tempting to leave the air-con on the whole year round. It stops the windows misting up in the winter and you don’t ever need to think about the temperature inside the car, but it uses quite a bit of fuel,
- Close the windows (and sunroof, if you’ve got one)
It’s not so much of a problem when you’re driving slowly but when you’re out of town or on the motorway, the shape of your car is very important. Car designers call it aerodynamics and make lots of effort to reduce the ‘drag’ and make the car as sleek as possible. Anything that makes wind noise as your car goes along is actually making your car more expensive to run. You can’t do much about the design of your car, but you can help by not leaving the windows and sunroof open. It’s better to use the air vents for most of the year, and the air-conditioning when it gets too hot.
- Remove racks and box on roof when not in use
Even if the roof rack is empty, it increases drag and makes your car use more fuel, while a big roof box is like having another car strapped to your roof. The latest racks and boxes are quick and easy to fit and remove, so make the effort to stow them away when you’re not using them.
- Don’t drive in the rush hour
Every time that you stop and start in traffic, your car needs first gear and a huge amount of fuel to get moving again. Second gear is not much better. The best solution is to not travel during the rush hour.