How do I improve fuel economy?

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Answered by: Matt, An Expert in the Fuel Economy Category
We all like to save a bit of cash and be kind to the environment, an easy day to day way of doing this is by simply looking after your car and changing driving habits. In this article I will give tips to improve fuel economy without paying a penny!

Don’t rev the engine!

This is not cool! It wastes fuel, is loud and antisocial!

Use high gears

Learn to love the gear stick and clutch, they don't bite! By changing gear at the right time when accelerating you are likely to save 10-20% fuel. As a general guide, change up at 2500 revs for a petrol and 2000 revs for a diesel.

Drive Smoothly

Using the above gear changing techniques, accelerate gradually and steadily going through the gears progressively, don’t forget the speed limit is a LIMIT and not a target. Same rule applies when breaking, the kinetic energy lost under heavy braking is substantially more than smooth, gradual braking and will use more fuel. Master this and you could save up to 40% fuel!

Don’t be a speedy Gonzales!

The faster you drive, the faster you burn fuel. Sounds pretty obvious I know, but what is not so obvious is just how much fuel. Doing 80mph on the motorway will use between 10% and 20% more fuel than doing 70mph. for a 20 mile motorway journey, driving at 80mph will only save you about 2 minutes compared to driving at 70mph anyway!

Better still, doing 70mph will use between 20% and 30% more fuel than doing 50mph!!

Tyres tyres TYRES!

This is probably the most overlooked yet just as important tip of all. Make sure your tyres are pumped up to the required pressures. Low tyres means more drag, more drag means more fuel! Not to mention under inflated tyres can also be dangerous and wear up to 50% quicker!

Aircon or Windows?

A popular questions with no definitive answer. They both cause significant drag, aircon on the engine and windows on the car itself. I have found as a general rule, windows open at lower speeds up to 30mph, then aircon from 30 mph +.

Top Tip! Don't forget to use the air conditioning at least once a month during the winter months to keep the aircon gas from turning stale!

Read the Road ahead

When driving, try to look ahead and read the conditions of the road - look out for anything that might require you to slow down or stop such as traffic lights or someone attempting to park. By anticipating what is coming up, you'll not only be a safer driver, but you'll save fuel by starting to slow down early and not needing to come to a stop.

Don’t warm the engine!

We're not in the 1950's anymore! Keep a good de-icer, scraper and some gloves handy for those frosty mornings!

Get some exercise.

It is so easy to just hop in the car to pop down to the corner shop to pickup your Sunday papers, but a cold engine will generally use twice as much fuel as a warm engine. Walk instead - the exercise will do you good!

Keep your car serviced!

Try to keep your car well maintained by making sure the recommended service schedule is followed either by taking it to a reputable garage, or servicing it yourself. A well-tuned engine with fresh, clean oil and new air filters will run more efficiently than an engine that has been neglected.

There are various other factors which are out of our control; these include weather, inclines, traffic and road conditions.

Each individual tip will improve fuel economy, even if not much at all, but if ALL were put into practice you are sure to notice a massive difference! Why not try it yourself. If you don’t have an onboard consumption computer then simply reset your trip computer each time you fill up and record the mileage against the amount of fuel you put in.

Safe driving!

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