Simple changes to the way you drive can save you money: smarter driving techniques cut fuel costs and reduce the wear and tear on your car.
Smarter driving involves using your gears, acceleration and powers of anticipation to adopt a more fuel-efficient driving style. As well as reducing your fuel consumption, it's safer too.
By becoming a smarter driver you can:
- reduce your annual fuel bills
- cut your carbon emissions
- reduce wear and tear on the vehicle
- enjoy safer, less stressful journeys.
Behind the wheel
- Drive Off From Cold. Modern cars are designed to move straight away. Warming up the engine just wastes fuel - and actually causes engine wear.
- Check Your Revs. Change up before 2,500rpm (petrol) or 2,000rpm (diesel).
- Drive Smoothly. Anticipate road conditions so that you drive smoothly and avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking. This saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
- Step Off The Accelerator. When slowing down or driving downhill, remain in gear but take your foot off the accelerator early. This reduces fuel flow to the engine to virtually zero.
- Slow Down. Driving within the speed limit is safer as well as being the law, and reduces fuel consumption.
Stuck in traffic
- Switch It Off. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they are re-started without pressing the accelerator. Turn off the engine if you're going to be stationary for more than a minute or two.
- Plan Ahead. Plan your journeys to avoid congestion and road works, and to make sure you don't waste fuel or time getting lost!
- Keep It Long. Use other forms of transport for short journeys, if you can. A cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
- Reduce Drag. Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers and roof boxes significantly affect your car's aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remove them when not in use.
- Check Tyre Pressure. Under-inflated tyres are dangerous and increase fuel consumption.
Air conditioning can significantly increase fuel consumption. Try switching it off, or use an 'eco' setting if you have one. However, if you are really hot and travelling at speed, air conditioning is better for fuel consumption than opening windows.