It has become so expensive to drive anywhere at the moment I thought I would take you on a little journey, a fuel saving journey….
We’ll take your vehicle, if that’s ok, so I can talk you through some ideas to help reduce fuel consumption for your future trips. Before we set off I am assuming you have checked your tyre pressure to make sure they are inflated to the correct level. This simple check is one of the most effective ways to ensure your vehicle is using fuel efficiently. To find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle check the manual, there is also often a sticker detailing the desired levels on the driver’s door frame. Underinflated tyres have a higher rolling resistance on the road, which basically means the amount of the tyre touching the road is greater so they generate more friction and increase fuel consumption. If all your tyres are underinflated by 10 psi, this could reduce fuel efficiency by up to 10%. I am also hoping you keep your vehicle in good condition, well-maintained vehicles generally use fuel more efficiently, so it is definitely worth taking it in for that annual service.
We are not going far so we don’t really need to take much, just open your boot quickly for me, I want to check we are not carrying any unnecessary weight. I am certainly guilty of filling my boot with lots of just-in-case items, but every extra 50kg your car weighs increases fuel consumption by 2%. This can also apply to the fuel in your tank, avoiding having a full tank means the fuel you do have goes slightly further, but it does mean more trips to the pump. Many do not consider it to have a major impact on consumption, but it does leave you space to top up if you find a slightly cheaper price at a different pump.
We are almost ready to go so I have checked our route for traffic. I know nobody enjoys sitting in a traffic jam, but that constant stop-starting puts a lot of pressure on your engine and burns more fuel so it is best to plan your journey to avoid the worst of peak traffic. I have also planned a few stops on our way, I hope you don’t mind if I pick up a few bits while we are out. Trying to condense multiple car journeys into one is always going to be a serious fuel saver. As well as not doing as many miles back and forth, did you know a cold engine uses much more fuel for about the first five miles? So combining all your daily errands into one big trip while your engine is warm should be more fuel efficient.
Have you got your seatbelt on? Because we’re off!! It’s a lovely sunny day and I can tell you are tempted to put the air conditioning on, but you’re thinking that will guzzle fuel, so you open the window instead. Interestingly at low speeds it is best to open the window, the amount of fuel used to compensate for drag is less than the fuel used to power your air-con. However, if you are driving faster than about 40mph with the windows down, the wind resistance would cost you more than the climate control option. Here’s a little rhyme to help you remember, ‘Around town, windows down. Open road, air-con mode’
While we are on the subject of speed, going faster might save you time, but it won’t necessarily save you money. When you travel at higher speeds your engine works very hard to compensate for the wind resistance, it can use up to 40% of its energy pushing that air out the way. Travelling slower than 30mph is not much better either, as it usually means you need to drop to a lower gear which also uses more fuel. Cars are typically most efficient at 45-50mph in a high gear on open roads but we can’t travel everywhere at a steady 50mph, so how else can your driving technique help save you money?
For fuel consumption purposes, as well as a comfy ride for your passenger, smooth and steady wins this race. Try to avoid things like braking quickly, speeding up and slowing down suddenly, and heavy-handed use of the steering, as they are all likely to impact on your fuel consumption.
I do not wish to be a backseat driver but whenever possible try to anticipate your next move so that you drive smoothly, for example slowing down as you approach the red light, rather than slamming on the brakes to come to a complete stop. Unbelievably driving erratically or aggressively can consume up to 60% more fuel than a considered approach. Try to use the gears to do as much of the work as you can, changing up a gear around 2,500 revolutions per minute (RPM) on a petrol and 2,000 on a diesel is best for fuel efficiency. Also avoid accelerating hard when pulling away or climbing a hill and don’t overtake unnecessarily as all these factors will increase fuel consumption.
So if you could just, gently, pull over by those shops, I won’t be a second…
….10 minutes later!!
Sorry about that, but I should have mentioned earlier if you are waiting for something or someone for more than three minutes, it is advisable to turn your engine off. You may not be moving but as long as your engine is on it’s burning precious fuel. You actually burn about 1.067 to 2.13 ounces of fuel every minute you’re idle which quickly adds up. Just a couple more stops if that is ok…
Ah, home at last – thank you for driving, I hope you learnt something along the way. Obviously any one of these factors alone will not make a massive difference to your fuel efficiency but collectively they could have a big impact.
If you are still finding the price at the pump restrictive despite your best efforts to reduce consumption, you could consider car sharing. E&G offers temporary car insurance from 1 hour to 28 days, giving you the flexibility you need, with fully comprehensive cover as standard for complete peace of mind.
We also appreciate that fuel prices are just one aspect of the overall rise in the cost of living, to make sure you are not paying more than you need to for your insurance needs give us a call and we’ll have a look to see if we can save you money, think of it like an annual service – It doesn’t cost you anything to let us quote, but think what it could save you.