Fuel saving tips: How to save money behind the wheel
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As part of World Environment Day this month, a driver training school for teenagers in the UK called Young Driver asked 1000 motorists whether they knew how to drive their cars in the greenest way possible.
Only 11 per cent said they did; that figure dropped to only six per cent for those aged 25-34.
However, one in four motorists said they tried to be environmentally conscious behind the wheel in some way, with those over 45 most likely to make an effort to be green.
“All drivers have a responsibility to try and minimise their impact on the environment,” says Sue Waterfield of Young Driver. “But many of us struggle to know how to go about it. People continue to rely on their cars – not everyone has access to an electric vehicle and at the moment using public transport is difficult”.
Here are 10 tips for greener driving in a petrol or diesel vehicle that Young Driver teaches its pre-17 students.
Smoother driving is key to being a more environmentally friendly driver. Less heavy braking or over-zealous acceleration means you waste less fuel – which is better for both your pocket and the environment.
Move up through the gears
Moving through the gears as quickly as possible (around 2000-2500 rpm) will help you use fuel more economically.
The heavier your car is, the more fuel it will burn. Ensure any extra weight is removed from the car before each trip – that includes roofboxes, which also add extra drag. Don’t use your car as storage space.
Maintain a sensible speed
Going too fast will use extra fuel, as well as being potentially dangerous. Cruise control is useful to maintain a constant speed when appropriate.
Check your tyres
If your tyres are underinflated, not only is it dangerous, but you’ll also use more fuel, which is bad for the environment. Make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly – ideally every week.
Air conditioning can really increase your fuel usage, so where possible try to open windows rather than automatically putting the air con on. However, the one exception to that is when driving at speed – then the air con is actually more efficient than opening a window.
Keep up with maintenance
Making sure your car is running as it should be is vital to ensure your car is as eco-friendly as possible.
Some modern cars do this automatically, but if the car is standing still for more than a few minutes, switch off the engine – while parked, or in even a stationary traffic jam.
Check out your route beforehand to make sure you know where you’re going, and to check for any possible delays or hold ups which may add extra time or miles to your journey.
When approaching traffic lights or a need to stop, if it’s safe to do so try reducing your speed more gradually by easing off the accelerator, rather than having to brake. If you can avoid stopping completely, you’ll increase your fuel efficiency.