Saving money will most definitely be on the agenda for many this year but many owners neglect the expenses that derive from their vehicles. Here is some good advice on saving fuel, from the UK’s IAM RoadSmart (formally the Institute of Advanced Motorists). Their head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman says:
1. Try to keep your driving smooth, gentle acceleration and using the highest safe gear will use less fuel. Ease off the accelerator early for traffic lights if they are red, why hurry up to wait.
2. Try to avoid driving during the rush hour. Stopping and starting in traffic needs the use of the first gear and a lot fuel is dispensed to get the vehicle moving again.
3. Keep your tyres well maintained at the correct pressures, when they are due for replacement there are brands which are designed for extra economy which may be worth considering.
4. Get rid of unnecessary weight. Cars work just like the human body, your body needs more energy to more around more weight and so does your car, take heavy items out of the car if you don’t need to carry them. A roof rack or roof box will increase drag and you will use more fuel to overcome this remove it if it is not being used.
5. Stop the constant back and forth. During this winter season as your engine is trying to warm up it uses more fuel for the first four miles or so. Your engine stays cold when you drive less than two miles and your car will produce 60 per cent more pollution than a warm engine – avoid these short journeys where possible.
6. Turn off the air-conditioning it will be working overtime and it uses extra fuel. When the rear window is cleared turn off the rear screen heater, the more electricity your car has to produce the more fuel it will use.
7. Keep your speed low. It sounds pretty standard but driving faster uses more fuel, you can reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 per cent. Try pressing more lightly on the accelerator, often you can maintain the same speed with less pressure on the pedal.
Richard Gladman adds: “Fuel is expensive and burning fuel is bad for the environment, a few small changes in the way we prepare our vehicles and plan our journeys can make a big difference in our fuel consumption. Sound observation and planning on our necessary journeys will help. Remember that safety and fuel saving can be complementary if we drive effectively.”