Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Postage stamps//eco driving

Eco-driving advice

Get more out of the fuel you buy

Fuel consumption has a lot to do with the car you buy, but whatever you drive there are things you can do to save money and reduce energy use, CO2 emissions and pollution.

These eco-driving tips are the motoring equivalent of insulating the hot water tank, fitting low-energy bulbs and not leaving the television on standby.
They are simple ideas that really will make a difference.

Save more than 10% on fuel

When 50 AA employees took part in an eco-driving experiment with Auto Express magazine they saved an average 10% on their weekly fuel bills, with the best achieving an incredible 33% saving.
Each drove normally for the first week and then applied our advice (below) to see how much they could save in the second week...


  • Servicing: get the car serviced regularly (according to the manufacturer's schedule) to maintain engine efficiency
  • Engine oil: make sure you use the right specification of engine oil (check the handbook)
  • Tyres: check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys; under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel (check the handbook and increase pressures for heavier loads as recommended)

Before you go

  • Lose weight: extra weight means extra fuel so if there's anything in the boot you don't need on the journey take it out
  • Streamline: roof-racks and boxes add wind resistance and so increase fuel consumption. If you don't need it take it off – if you do, pack carefully to reduce drag
  • Leave promptly: don't start the engine until you're ready to go as idling wastes fuel and the engine warms up more quickly when you're moving; in the winter, scrape ice rather than leave the car idling to warm up
  • Don't get lost: plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the risk of getting lost and check the traffic news before you leave
  • Combine short trips: cold starts use more fuel so it pays to combine errands such as buying the paper, dropping off the recycling, or collecting the kids
  • Consider alternatives: if it's a short journey (a couple of miles or so) could you walk or cycle rather than taking the car? 

En route

  • Easy does it: drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking
  • Decelerate smoothly: when you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear
  • Rolling: if you can keep the car moving all the time, so much the better; stopping then starting again uses more fuel than rolling
  • Change up earlier: don't labour the engine but try changing up at an engine speed of around 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car. This can make such a difference that all cars in the future are likely to be fitted with a 'Gear Shift indicator' light to show the most efficient gear change points.
  • Cut down on the air-con: air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. So if it's a hot day open the windows around town and save the air conditioning for high speed driving. Don't leave air-con on all the time but aim to run it at least once a week throughout the year to maintain the system in good condition.
  • Turn it off: electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, demister blowers and headlights, when you don't need them
  • Stick to speed limits: the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.
  • Don't be idle: if you do get caught in a queue, avoid wasting fuel – turn the engine off if it looks like you could be waiting for more than three minutes.

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