YOU don’t have to have a new car or one with green tech to cut your fuel bills. Whatever you drive, a few simple steps will help cut fuel use – and your bills in the process.
1 Keep it serviced
Your car needs maintenance on a regular basis; without it, efficiency levels will drop. Not only that, but without maintenance a small problem can turn into a big one, so it’s far more costly to fix.
2 Check the tyres
Your car’s engine has to work harder if your tyres are under-inflated – just a few PSI can make all the difference. Under-inflated tyres also wear out more quickly, so check your tyre pressures regularly and ensure they’re correct.
3 Look further ahead
Accelerating and braking hard wastes energy, so look ahead and anticipate the moves of others. By reading the road ahead you’ll be able to drive more smoothly, cutting fuel consumption in the process.
4 Slow down
Most conventionally-powered cars are running at their most efficient at 50-60mph. By this point they’re in top gear but if you raise the speed significantly, such as to 80mph, fuel consumption increases rapidly.
5 Speed up
Many modern cars are designed to run efficiently at motorway speeds, so driving slowly can use more fuel. Driving five miles in second gear will use more fuel than five miles in top gear, so travel outside peak times if you can – you should make better progress.
6 Warm up quickly
Your engine uses extra fuel and wears more quickly when it’s cold. The problem is, it’ll warm up much more slowly if left idling on the drive; an engine heats up faster if it’s doing some work, such as pulling the car along so start your journey but avoid excessive revs.
7 Avoid short journeys
As noted above, your car’s engine uses more fuel (up to twice as much) and wears faster when cold. So if you drive your car on short trips that don’t even allow it to warm up, think about leaving it behind and walking instead.
8 Cut weight and drag
The more your car weighs, the harder its engine has to work. Also, items such as roof bars and bike racks will upset the aerodynamics. So keep your boot clear of junk and don’t leave anything attached to the outside of the car if it’s not being used.
9 Use air-con sparingly
Air-con systems are much more efficient than they used to be, but they still use energy to power. So don’t have the air-con on constantly – but don’t leave it switched off all the time either, or you’ll just wreck the system.
Driving Green contents
Introduction to green driving
- What is a “green” car?
- What does Euro 6 mean when it comes to emissions?
- Why have green cars been developed?
- Nine tips for eco-driving
Choosing a green car
- What are hybrid cars?
- What are plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars?
- What are extended-range electric vehicles (E-REVs)?
- What are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?
- Are pure-electric cars suitable?
- Whatever happened to LPG (liquid petroleum gas)?
- What are biofuels?
Green car buying guides
Financial, environmental and practical implications of green motoring
- Electric car UK public charging point maps
- The truth about real-world mpg and fuel costs
- How much is VED (road tax) for green cars?
- Are electric cars expensive to insure?