While the current ‘panic at the pumps’ is providing drivers with an extra reason to save fuel, it’s rarely a bad idea to drive efficiently. After all, it should save you money – and it helps the environment as well. Here are eight tips that could mean you get more miles from your fuel.
1. Optimise speed
Cars are generally more fuel efficient in a higher gear, so try to change up as early as you can while still having enough revs for the road situation (and not breaking the speed limit). Then, keep your speed down, as research suggests that fuel efficiency starts to drop once you’re going much faster than 50mph.
2. Drive smoothly
Hard acceleration and braking means using more fuel to get up to speed and then wasting more of that speed through the brakes. Driving smoothly at a sensible speed is much more efficient. One way to do this on clear major roads is to use cruise control if you have it.
3. Look ahead
It’s easier to drive smoothly if you look ahead on the road so you can plan for anything that could make you need to slow down or stop. For example, if you see traffic lights coming up that are on red, taking your foot off the pedal and letting the car slow down naturally uses less fuel than continuing to accelerate and braking at the last minute.
4. Think temperature
While aircon is great on a blazing hot day, it uses fuel to run. If the inside temperature is only a degree or two over what you usually have, consider turning off the aircon to improve your mileage. When it’s a lot hotter, though, it may be better to use the aircon, particularly at higher speeds, as it could be more fuel efficient than opening the windows.
5. Remove weight
If your car boot is full of things that you use occasionally because it’s easier than taking them out, think about losing this weight (particularly if they’re heavy). Research suggests that every 100 kg of excess load increases the fuel consumption of a vehicle by around 5%.
6. Combine journeys
A warm engine is more efficient than a cold one, so if you know you have several short trips to make, think about combining them into a single journey.
7. Plan ahead
The most direct route is often the most fuel efficient, so make sure you’re going the best way to your destination. That said, also check for accidents or planned roadworks before you leave. A detour or two in this situation might keep you out of a traffic jam where you could be burning fuel while going nowhere.
8. Inflate tyres
While it may not sound like much, underinflated and overinflated tyres both reduce fuel economy – and increase your bills as they are likely to wear more quickly. Making sure your car is maintained and serviced on time can also keep it at the best levels of efficiency.
A better alternative?
We hope you find these ideas helpful, but if you’d prefer not to have to queue at the pumps ever again, it might be worth considering an electric car instead. Interest has been rising significantly over the last few days, but we still have a range of vehicles in stock.
A great place to start could be our driver tool that explores how you use your vehicle to see if an electric car could work for you. Why not try it today?