Most drivers are feeling the impact of rising fuel prices, whether you’re commuting in a thirsty 4x4 or an economical hatchback.
Making a few small changes to your driving habits can reap big rewards so to slow down the penny pinch and make your money stretch a little bit further, why not try some of our top tips to improve your fuel efficiency?
Driving more slowly can not only avoid some costly speeding fines but can also improve your fuel efficiency dramatically. For example, the AA has estimated that dropping your speed from 125km/h to 110km/h can save you as much as 25% in fuel.
Suddenly, driving at 110km/h on the highway sounds like a great idea! You can save another 10% by dropping from around 110km/h to 90.
Close your windows
Keeping your windows open when you drive makes your car less aerodynamic and thus wastes fuel, so try to keep everything closed as far as possible. Your car can also be slowed down by things like roof racks and bicycle racks, so remove them when you’re not using them to keep your car as aerodynamic as possible.
Check your tyre pressure regularly
Next time you’re filling up your car at the garage while anxiously watching the litres and the price steadily rise and you hear the petrol attendant ask ‘oil, water, tyres?’ don’t respond with ‘it’s all fine thanks!’ without knowing for sure that it’s all in order. You’re there anyway and might as well check the tyre pressure. Having tyres which are too flat decreases your efficiency on the road and – you guessed it – pushes up your fuel bill.
We know that everyone prides themselves on being a good driver, but be try to be honest with yourself here! If you regularly accelerate hard to overtake someone and then come to a stop in front of them at the lights, you’re using fuel unnecessarily. The best way to drive in terms of fuel consumption is at a steady speed in a higher gear, but obviously this isn’t always possible, especially if you’re driving around the suburbs instead of on the highway. You can make sure that you accelerate smoothly, brake smoothly and change gears when needed rather than revving the engine and speeding away as fast as possible when the light goes green though! Driving smoothly and considerately can improve your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.
Don’t let the car idle
Leaving the engine idling is a huge petrol drain. Sometimes it is unavoidable like when you’re stuck in major traffic – but if you’re letting the car run while someone nips into the shops on a long drive, or you let the car stand for five minutes before driving off in cold weather, you’re paying more than you should for your fuel. Your car only needs twenty seconds or so to run before you start driving, even in the cold. It will warm up far quicker by doing this than letting it idle for a long time. Always turn the engine off when you’re going to be stationary for a few minutes. You can even do this in traffic if you’re at a stop and go, for example, and truly are at a standstill rather than a slow crawl.