It goes without saying that before looking at using your car more efficiently ask if you actually need a car. However this is not always practical in this day and age to get by without one, so below is a set of tips to help you drive efficiently.
Reduce your car use
Firstly reduce your car use. Do you need to make the journey? Can you walk your journey or use alternative transport? Could you work at home one day a week?
You can also reduce your car usage by car sharing. Did you know most car journeys are only done with one person in the car? There are approximately 10 million spare seats on Britain’s roads!
You also could halve the cost of your journey if you shared it with one other person. You could save approximately £250 a year if you did this twice a week!
Check out Save Fuel – Car Share
Reduce the load and streamline
The heavier the car and more resistance the car has the less efficient driving the car will be. This means the car has to work harder to maintain your speed using extra fuel.
- Clear out of your boot. Make sure you are not carrying any unnecessary weight.
- Remove your roof rack off when you have finished with it, as this adds unnecessary drag to the car. The more streamline your vehicle the less fuel it uses.
- Remove roof boxes when no longer needed.
Efficient driving will reduce your carbon emissions and save you fuel.
- Think smooth – minimise harsh accelerating and braking. If you accelerate and brake gently this uses a lot less fuel.
- Keep on rolling – Maintain a good braking distance between you and the car in front to enable you to brake gently and keep rolling. Stopping and starting uses more fuel.
- Change up a gear – For petrol engines move up around 2,500 revs and diesels 2,000 revs.
- Don’t leave the car idling – turn the engine on when you are ready and turn it off once you have arrived. Don’t leave the engine on while you scrape the car of ice.
- Stick to the speed limit – The faster you go the more fuel you will use. The most efficient speed for most cars is somewhere between 40-60 miles per hour and going 80mph uses 25% more fuel than 70mph
- Don’t wear big heavy shoes – big shoes make you more heavy footed on the accelerator.
Make sure your car is well maintained.
- Check your tyres are inflated to the correct level for your car. This can be found in your car manual.
- Check that the oil level is at the right level.
- Make sure your car is serviced regularly to keep it running well.
Plan your route and avoid traffic
Planning your route can stop you from getting lost and adding extra miles to your journey. If you check out your route before you go rather than just relying on sat nav, you will find you will less likely get lost. Planning your route can also mean you can reduce the amount of time you are in traffic. The longer you are in traffic the more unnecessary fuel you will be using.
Combine short trips
Starting a cold car is more inefficient than starting one that has already warmed up, so it pays to combine your trips onto one. Not to mention gets all your errands done in one go.
Heating and Cooling the car
In most cars the heating draws heat from the engine, so does not add much to the fuel consumption to the car, however air con does use extra fuel.
When to use air con:
- Use sparingly
- Use when you need to cool the car and are driving above 40mph
- When you are driving less than 40mph open the window.
If you are in the market for a new car
Firstly do you need a new car? Could you use public transport or share a car? Could you use a car club?
If you do decide to invest in a car aim for an electric car, hybrid or the most efficient car you can afford.