Garage customers may be interested in a few simple ideas to save fuel costs. A test carried out by the AA across 50 employees with Auto Express showed savings of over 10% on weekly fuel bills – though the best was an amazing 33%!
The two week test was based on driving normally for the first week and then applying these simple steps in the second week.
Regular servicing and the correct level and type of engine oil can both improve fuel economy. Consider also tyre inflation – under inflated tyres have more rolling resistance so more fuel is consumed.
Extra weight means extra fuel; it’s probably easier to remove anything you don’t need from the boot than to start that diet! Roof racks, roof boxes and even open windows also add drag so avoid where possible to maximise streamlining.
On cold days, scrape off ice, idling the engine to warm up wastes fuel; the engine warms up much more quickly when you are moving.
3. Reduce mileage
Is this cheating? We’re not sure – but combining short journeys, planning longer ones so you don’t get lost and using alternatives like cycling, walking or public transport will all of course reduce fuel usage.
4. Take it easy…
Aim to drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read ahead to avoid unnecessary braking (which converts the kinetic energy created from burning fuel in the engine back into heat at the friction surfaces).
Decelerate smoothly and early, keep rolling where possible as stopping and starting will always use more fuel.
Change gear at the right time – generally this means a little earlier, at around 2,000 rpm for diesel or 2,500 rpm for petrols would be a rule of thumb.
Run the air con regularly (to keep the system in good condition) but not all the time if you want to save fuel. It will increase fuel consumption, more so at low speeds. Turn off other things you don’t need – electrical loads will all increase fuel consumption.
Stick to speed limits – faster speed generally uses more fuel. Driving at 70 mph will typically use almost 10% more fuel than driving at 60 mph and 15% more than 50 mph. What about 80 mph? That uses up to 25% more fuel than 70 mph according to the AA.
Although it used to be a common practice to save fuel, rolling with the car out of gear is inadvisable because the driver doesn’t have full control of the vehicle. The loss of engine braking downhill can cause brake fade and the delay in accelerating out of potential difficulty is a problem.
Whilst it used to be an effective way to save fuel with a carburettor, modern fuel and ignition systems are controlled by the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Take your foot off the accelerator and the ECU cuts the fuel supply to the injectors anyway so there’s nothing to be gained by coasting.
You can check all this is working if you have an onboard MPG calculator using the trip or reset button – or do it the old way by measuring miles and fuel use from full to full tank.