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With fuel prices at an all-time high, here are five easy techniques that you can implement in order to start bringing your fuel consumption down.

Stop excessively braking and accelerating

The more you accelerate and brake, the more fuel you will use. Driving smoothly and minimising heavy, unnecessary acceleration and braking will help to keep your fuel consumption down.

An example is tail-gating or just driving too close to other road users. If you’re driving too close the car in front then you may find yourself having to repeatedly brake to avoid going into the back of them. Giving yourself enough distance will mean you can travel at a steady pace and you will be able to see what’s ahead of the car in front, giving you more time to anticipate the traffic and when you will need to start braking. This will allow you to brake and accelerate more steadily and smoothly, which will increase the number of miles you get from your fuel, and is also must safer.

Stop coasting

Many people wrongly think coasting down inclines or even on level roads saves fuel. Coasting actually uses more fuel and is also not the safest way to drive.

Coasting involves either dipping the clutch or selecting neutral in a manual or automatic car. This simply disengages the drive wheels from the engine.

If the vehicle is left in gear instead of coasting, modern fuel injection will shut off, therefore not using any fuel. The engine will still run/turn, taking energy form the wheels turning under gravity. Therefore at this point gravity is being used to turn the engine which is still powering the following:

  1. Alternator and any electrics that you are using – lights, heated seats, wipers, radio, sat nav, etc
  2. Power steering
  3. Oil pump
  4. Air conditioning
  5. Brake servos and ABS
  6. Water pump and cooling
  7. Other electrics

By coasting the wheels are disconnected from the engine, meaning fuel is used to keep the engine turning and produce enough power for the items mentioned above.

Take out excess weight

If you’re carrying a lot of weight around in the boot then your car engine will need to produce more power in order to move. More power consequently means more fuel will be used.

Car manufactures go to great lengths to design cars so that they weigh as little as possible, because the heavier the car, the more fuel it uses.

So make sure you’re not carrying around items that you don’t need to in order to reduce the overall weight of your car and save fuel. if you want to stop using more fuel than necessary.

Open windows vs. air-conditioning

Use your aircon when you’re driving at lower speeds, perhaps around town or on narrow country roads, and save your aircon for driving on more open roads and the motorway.

If you’re driving at low speeds then it is probably more fuel efficient to open a window or windows. However, if you are travelling at higher speeds, opening a window will affect the aerodynamics of the car, which will increase drag.

This means the engine will have to work harder in order to overcome the increased drag. At higher speeds, especially speeds of 50 MPH and above, it is better to close your windows and use the air conditioning.

Remember to switch your aircon on once or twice a week to keep the system in good condition. This is to keep the seals lubricated and prevent them from drying out. Dried seals crack and the system will leak refrigerant, leading to less efficient or no cooling. To repair and refill with gas is also quite expensive.  

Keep on top of your tyre pressures

Having tyres that are either underinflated or overinflated can have an adverse effect on your fuel consumption, tyre wear, road holding, braking and safety.

It’s important that you keep your tyre pressures at the correct level depending on the weight you’re carrying. For example, driving with four passengers and suitcases in a car will mean your tyres need to be inflated to a higher level than when you’re driving around alone.

Tyre pressures that are too low will mean the engine needs to produce more energy to turn them. Think how much harder it is to ride a bicycle or push a wheelbarrow that have tyres that could do with a good pump up.  

Check the owner’s manual for the correct tyre pressures, or alternatively they are usually provided on the inside of the driver’s or front passenger’s door.


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