This is everybody favourite topic and for very good reasons. Fuel-saving techniques allow for lower travel costs with a boost towards a greener environment, so-called eco-driving methods. With fossil fuel is ever so fluctuating, it’s imperative to make efforts to save every possible penny on the bills spent on fuel. Multiple cars in a household also can add fuel costs onto mounting bills which can seriously impact the overall household budget. With each of the driver making efforts and working toward the cost reduction of fuel, the collective effort can be significant and savings can be spent on something more eligible.
Let’s discuss some of the known techniques and ways one can apply to save fuel while driving.
- Fuel-efficient driving is conscious driving which means you will be aware of your environment and respond to the conditions at all times and pay attention to changing variables.
1.1 Carpooling – Sharing with Friends and Families
This is number one on our list. We all got chores that need executing and jobs that needs doing. There is no running away from that, we all agree on this one. However, with some extra effort and care and planning, you will be surprised how much can be saved just by sharing cars and managing recurring driving tasks in a rota fashion. The first and foremost example is school runs, we all know how important that is and how routinely and punctually kids have to pick up from school. We encourage you to do some basic maths and add up all the miles that you incur in a month of school runs alone, you will be surprised. Consider sharing the school runs with friends and families who live nearby, if possible. A schedule can be worked on to which suites to everybody’s requirements and needs and then followed religiously. Just by a little extra effort you can halve your school run fuel bills plus reduce the wear and tear in the car, with a contribution towards less traffic and a greener world!
Commute to work is the biggest and worst contributor to traffic volume and congestion. With an average commute time of 1 hour in the UK, fuel bills towards commute can be a major nuisance and with increasing, fuel prices can be a major headache. Try to find colleagues and/or friends who are willing to carpool with you, if that doesn’t work, there are online communities for care share where you can register and make efforts towards finding the right carpool partner for you. We know that some effort is required however the rewards can be significant and rewarding in terms of fuel costs, stress and contribution towards traffic volumes.
1.2 Earn Cash on Fuel – Cashback Schemes
There are such vendors and supermarkets who will reward you when you fill up fuel using their branded facilities. For example, using the TESCO petrol pump will earn you rewards points that can be used as cash later on. This loyalty card is called TESCO CLUB car which helps you earn points and win either cash back or use them on shopping in the supermarket or fuel. Morrison also does something very similar by providing a Morrison More card which will give out 5 pounds for every 5000 points earned. There are many other loyalty cards available that have different options and benefits, you just have to pick one which is more suitable to your situation and has fuel stations that are close and convenient to use. Just stick with one vendor and see your rearward points and cashback build up.
1.3 Driving style – Improve your driving and cash in the benefits
This is a no-brainer and very commonplace tip that is known to all drivers ad taught in driving lessons however few know the actual numbers behind the benefits of driving rationally and gently. You can save up to 50% in fuel costs by improving your driving style and being gentle with brakes and gas pedals.
1.4 Optimum Cruising Speed – fuel economy by cruising at the right speed
While on long drives on motorways or freeways, cruising at faster speeds will massively affect your fuel consumption. After a certain speed threshold, wind drag takes over and can cause a significant increase in fuel consumption. The optimum cursing speed point is different for cars and different conditions however it is believed to be in the range between 50 MPH to 65 MPH. You will be surprised by how little you have to fill up and save on fuel bills after you insist and maintain driving at an optimum cruising speed whenever possible. As an example, at 80 MPH you could be spending up to 22% p more fuel as compared to 70 MPH just for the benefit of 11% speed.
1.5 Gear Usage – Higher the Gear, better the fuel economy
Gear usage can have an impact on the efficiency of the car engine and hence the fuel it burns. The general rule is to try to be in higher gears whenever possible. It is also suggested to change gears such that you maintain 2500-3000 revs on petrol cars and 2000-2500 revs on diesel cars. This alone can save you up to 10% fuel. Going into neutral and free coasting is unsafe as well as not great for fuel consumption.
1.6 Anticipate – Plan and Execute the Drive
Just by monitoring and planning ahead while driving, you can save fuel and mechanical wear and tear in the car. If you approaching a roundabout or intersection why maintain speed or accelerate? why not just ease towards it for the last couple of 100 yards and gently press the brakes. Similarly, on downhill take advantage of gravity and try to let downward force take its course on downhills and take off your foot from gas if possible.
1.7 Heaters and Aircon for Eco-driving- Use when and Where?
Car heaters generally take heat from the engine and transfer it interior cabin however same is not true for AC. An aircon will consume power at all speeds so using slightly open windows at a slower speed won’t hurt your cause and save your fuel as well, as opposed to turning on the AC.
1.8 Short Trip and journeys – A serious Eco Driving Efficiency killer
A while back we used to pump gas into the engine as soon as started them, however, most of the latest cars don’t need that extra gas just after the startup. Having said this, engines are not as efficient when cold as compared to when they are warmed up. There is not much we can do about it when we are making loads of small city trips however bear in mind these short city hops or trips are the worst contenders for fuel efficiency and are more expensive per mile. Consider moving to an All-electric or Hybrid car if possible if you are persistently going to make a lot of short city trips. Electric motors do not pose this problem and provide similar efficiency for varied temperature profiles and are relatively less affected by the weather.
1.9 Drive Light – Remove Extra weight for Eco Driving
Get rid of your bike racks, luggage boxes and roof bars when not needed. They can seriously affect the aerodynamic profile of cars and affect fuel efficiency, especially on long drives at higher cruising speeds. Remove extra luggage and stuff from the boot.
1.10 Tyre Pressure – Importance of Tyre pressure for Eco Driving
Driving long distances with under-inflated tyres affects your fuel consumption by up to 5%. Make sure you check your car tyre pressure regularly.
1.11 Cruise Control – Help or Hindrance
Opinions about cruise control are divided with some who seem to think that it doesn’t help, and some think it works in all conditions. It makes more sense that it works in all plane and flat driving conditions however when ascending a hill road or steep angle it will drive the engine to full rev in order just to keep up with the desired speed, which makes the fuel consumption worst. We recommend that you use cruise control in flat long stretches of the road while taking charge in hilly conditions. There is definitely some help in increasing the fuel efficiency when cruise control is used incorrect conditions however just like everything else it is not a magic pill that will solve all the problems.
1.12 Plan your Journey – Time your Travel for Eco Driving
This one is a massive factor as congestion and traffic can put your car and fuel bills under pressure. Not only it take longer to go from point A to B, but it also takes more fuel, more mechanical wear and more stress on the driver. We strongly recommend if possible time your commute or travel to minimise the anticipated traffic. We don’t have a magic ball but surely we can predict traffic patterns based on our daily experience.
Fuel calculators and Tools – mpg calculator
We are referencing some of the fuel economy tools and calculators for your convenience.
These tools can be very helpful in doing some quick number crunching to help you get around some problem-solving.
Fuel economy Tool 1 – Simple mpg calculator
Fuel economy Tool 2 – journey cost calculator
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