Become a More Efficient Driver

Posted on Mar 1, 2016

The oil market has been working in the favour of drivers for many months now and price at the pump may have been dropping. Lower prices obviously mean a saving on fuel costs, but driving is still expensive, so it is useful to know that slight changes to the way you drive, along with regular vehicle maintenance can make a noticeable difference to fuel efficiency.

By taking the necessary steps to improve fuel efficiency, you will help to reduce the cost of driving and the longevity of your car. You will also be reducing the volume of emissions which are being released into the air and this environmental advantage is certainly a beneficial side effect.

Driving Style

Rapid acceleration and braking uses a lot of fuel, so adopting a smoother style of driving can really help with fuel economy. By slowing your speed, allowing more space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front and focusing on the road ahead, you not only cut costs, but also reduce the risk of an accident.

It also helps to select the right gear for the road you are on. If you are driving through hilly terrain, a lower gear can help prevent too much strain being put on the engine, but on flatter roads a high gear is better, so move up the gears as soon as is appropriate. Better use of the gears can also help you to achieve a smoother driving style.

On main roads and motorways, 55-60mph is typically the optimum speed for fuel efficiency. This might be slower than your usual pace and may not be practical on all journeys, but it can keep the cost of long journeys down. If your car has cruise control, this can also help to ensure a smooth and steady ride at a comfortable pace.

If you are stopping the car, for example to pick up a passenger and are likely to be there for over 30 seconds, switch off the engine. Leaving the car running whilst you wait is wasting fuel. Covering your windscreens before a frosty night, using scrapers to clear windows or parking your car in the garage can also reduce the need to leave the engine running on winter mornings.

Modern cars generally have efficient air conditioning units but on older cars these can be a drain on fuel. On hot days you might consider parking in a shady spot and opening the car doors to ventilate before getting in to help reduce the need to blast out cold air.

Maintenance, Services and MOTs

Keeping your car in good condition can also help increase fuel efficiency. It also improves safety and lifespan of the vehicle as well as reducing the risk of large unexpected repair or replacement bills.

As a start, you should check the tyre pressure on a monthly basis. The best place to do this is on your drive, when the tyres are cold. Under inflated tyres use more fuel, so by maintaining them at the ideal levels that are detailed in the operating manual, you can make savings. Regular oil checks and top ups when needed can also make a difference.

The annual MOT is an essential check for any car, which helps to ensure that it is safe and compliant with regulations including emission levels. In addition you should invest in a service when your vehicle reaches specific milestones which are detailed in the manual. Engine tuning, air filter changes and other such maintenance can all impact on fuel efficiency. If you are looking for a reliable and well equipped garage to undertake your services and MOTs, Holmer Green Service Centre can assist.

Finally, consider ways to reduce your need to drive. Car share schemes, planning routes to combine more than one journey, using public transport or walking are all ways to achieve this.