Here’s some green driving tips from our friends in the UK:
There are many urban myths floating around in the motor-sphere as to what methods actually help fuel efficiency and which don’t. Below is seven tips to improve your fuel efficiency.
At low speeds having the air conditioning on while driving can reduce your fuel efficiency by as much as 15 percent when outdoor temperatures are above 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit). However, at high speeds, 50 mph or more, the effects aren’t nearly as noticeable. Be sure to run the air-con at least once a week throughout the year to make sure the system stays in good health.
Change up earlier
Revving the engine may seem cool but really it’s just a big waste of fuel. Try changing up a gear when you hit 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car. And please, stop revving your car at traffic lights. In the future expect to see all cars fitted with a “Gear Shift indicator” which will light up to show you the most efficient gear change points.
Stick to the speed limits
As you may already know, the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and subsequently pollution. An example of this would be, driving at 70 mph your car uses nine per cent more fuel than it would at 60 mph and up to 15 per cent more than 50 mph. This is an incredible saving which seems to make being stuck behind that lorry all the more bearable. Driving at 80 mph on the motorway is not just illegal, but also bad practice for fuel efficiency as it uses 25 percent more fuel than at 70 mph.
Become more aerodynamic
To become more fuel efficient means that you should become more aerodynamic. This will reduce drag and make it easier for your car to be propelled forward at speed. 50 per cent of energy required to operate vehicles is spent overcoming wind resistance. Rooftop bike racks, car-top carriers and any accessories added onto your car, I’m looking at you car headlight eyelashes, all add wind resistance and affect your fuel efficiency. Washing and waxing your car can also help your aerodynamics a little too.
Drive like you’re riding a pushbike
This is one of the things that my driving instructor taught me and it has stuck with me throughout the years. If you drive like you’re riding a pushbike it’s a lot easier to pick the right gear as well as save fuel. But don’t take it literally, don’t drive at the side of the road while going 10 mph, that will just infuriate others and could be potentially dangerous. When climbing hills your car will struggle to maintain speed a lot more going up than going down so give your cars legs a rest and go up the hill slower, it will save a lot of fuel. Your car uses the most fuel when in high-load situations much like you would while on a bike.
Avoid excessive idling
One of the simplest techniques to saving fuel, however it is also one of the most underused techniques. To put it bluntly when you are idling your car gets zero miles per gallon whereas if you turn your engine off you don’t use any fuel at all. When you know you are going to be waiting for over three minutes then turn your engine off.
For example, if you are waiting outside someone’s house and they’re not quite ready yet or if you are waiting to pick someone up .
This is becoming less of a problem however. Many car dealerships, such as Evans Halshaw are introducing affordable cars with an innovative “stop/start” system that automatically cuts the engine when idle and then restarts once you wish to move again.
Inflate your tires
Tires that are not filled to their full recommended capacity are dangerous, they wear out faster and ultimately waste fuel. Keeping them properly inflated could improve your gas mileage by approximately three to four per cent. Your recommended tire pressure will be found on the driver’s door, door pillar or in the glove box and does not appear in the owner guide. Don’t exceed the recommended tire inflation though as over-inflated tires can be just as bad as under-inflated ones.
Measuring fuel consumption
To calculate your average fuel consumption over any period of time just follow these steps.
- Fill the tank and record the mileage
- Keep track of any subsequent fuel purchases, you don’t have to fill the tank until you are ready to work out your mpg
- If you can, go back to the same pump at the same garage in which you first filled up and fill the tank to the same level again
- Now for the maths. Divide the total mileage since the first fill up by the total number of litres used and then multiply by 4.546 to get miles per gallon. For example, if you’ve driven 2,000 miles and used 300 litres of fuel, your average mpg would be: (2000/300)x 4.546 = 30.3 mpg.
By trying to follow some or even all of these suggestions, you can really stretch your fuel dollar, making your car a more effective and efficient tool.