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General Chat Thread, Driving Economically in General; Hello. As fuel costs continue to rise, it’s getting more and more expensive to run about in our beloved motors. ...
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    Ryan's Avatar
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    Driving Economically

    Hello. As fuel costs continue to rise, it’s getting more and more expensive to run about in our beloved motors. The following are some bits and bobs I’ve picked up, as well as some common sense, that can be applied to make that tank of fuel last that wee bit longer.


    Don’t hammer the accelerator
    See the old lady in the micra you just thrashed away from at the last traffic lights? There she is right behind you again at the next lights. There’s no need to accelerate hard away from junctions, roundabouts and lights – chances are you’re going to have to come to a halt again soon.

    As a rule, the more you press the accelerator pedal, the more fuel you’re putting into the engine. You should never have to floor the pedal. This is opening up the throttle fully and putting as much fuel into the engine as possible. You’ll probably find that you can get similar performance by raising that heavy foot of yours slightly. Try it.

    Accelerating more gently than usual will use even less fuel, and I doubt you’ll notice much difference in your journey times, especially in traffic.


    Drive a little slower
    Driving at 35 or 40? Or 80 or 90 on the motorway? Sticking closer to the speed limit will use up less fuel, as you’re not putting as much into the engine. There are other benefits – you can stop quicker in the event of an emergency, and you won’t get stopped by the coppers for speeding.


    Avoid stop-start driving
    Tying the previous two points together – a smooth journey is a more efficient journey. If you accelerate hard away from a junction, then slam the brakes on again at the next, you’re throwing away all that built up speed and energy (while using up more of your brakes). Smooth acceleration and gentler braking will cause less fuel to be used up, and cause less wear and tear on parts. Obviously don’t drive like a blind/scared 90 year old, but y’ know…


    Close your windows on the motorway
    Cars are pretty aerodynamic objects (compared to, say, a double decker bus or skip). If you have your window open, you’re turning the aerodynamic shell of your car into a parachute, creating drag. This obviously means the car has to work harder to keep at your desired speed, as it’s fighting against more wind resistance.


    Use aircon as little as possible
    Air conditioning systems use fuel to run, so having this hammering away for your entire journey will use up even more fuel. If you're warm, open the windows! (unless on a motorway )

    Obviously summer is upon us, so common sense is required to keep things at a happy medium between 'efficiency' and 'having a small paddling pool under your crotch'.

    We have a little battle here between aircon vs drag vs keeping yourself cool – apply common sense please. If you don’t have any, ask a friend.


    That roof rack box
    The one from your last trip? Is it filled with air? Objects like this affect your cars aerodynamics too, so take ‘em off if they’re not being used.

    Even worse if it’s full of crap. This goes for any extra stuff that you ferry about in your back seat or boot all the time, as you’re paying to carry around the extra weight, making your accelerator and brakes work harder to speed up and slow the car.


    Keep your car well maintained
    Bit of an obvious one this. A well-maintained car will run more efficiently than one that hasn’t had a service in a few years. Keeping oil fresh, changing filters and running on decent tires will all help a car run more efficiently, not to mention safely! Clogged up filters result in wasted power. Keep your tires inflated too – squashy tires are dangerous and inefficient.

    Avoid short journeys
    If you can, avoid using the car for piddly little journeys of a few miles. Walk it or bike it if you can. A cold engine uses more fuel than a warm one. And you might actually give your legs and heart a little exercise.



    Here endeth my blah-de-blah. Hopefully it'll be of use. Feel free to add your own tips and thoughts. Try and keep it constructive

    Happy driving!

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    Joanne's Avatar
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    get a new job closer to home.... like meeeee!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joanne View Post
    get a new job closer to home.... like meeeee!
    Same here, now walking to work every day

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    Change to diesal. Filling up once a month now instead of 3 times a month!

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    I would also add:

    Lighten the Load Don't use your car as a cupboard... the less weight your car is carrying the less power needed to move it.

    But like the above, I live near enough to school not to use my car It's a daily bike ride for me!

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    I'd love to be able to walk or cycle to work - I have a 20 mile journey each way and have been trying for ages to get a similar decent job in my home town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by everton4europe View Post
    Change to diesal. Filling up once a month now instead of 3 times a month!
    Actually, new, like for like cars you have to do alot of miles for a diesel to work out cheaper once you take the extra cost of purchase and maintainance into account, and with diesel prices going up faster than petrol it will only get worse.

    Ive got one;

    5th gear is NOT the only gear your car has got
    Driving in the incorrect gear is not only damaging to your engine, mounts, exhaust and other things, it is far less efficient on the juice. 30mph is not the speed at which you change into 5th, infact the only time you should be in 5th is on national speed limit and above roads. Depending on your car 30mph is normally around 3rd gear, possibly 4th in a smaller car or if like my car 2nd gear for any less than 30mph.

    ^ thats one thing which drives me mad. Ill be in a mates car and he will come to almost a complete stop yet insist in pulling away in 2nd or even 3rd. I dont get it, can people not hear the engine crying out for mercy, never mind the clang as bits of exhaust pipe fall off from all the rattling the engine makes at such low rpm!
    Last edited by j17sparky; 4th June 2008 at 01:19 PM.

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    Lighten the Load Don't use your car as a cupboard... the less weight your car is carrying the less power needed to move it.
    Change to diesal. Filling up once a month now instead of 3 times a month!
    why carry around enough fuel for 100miles if you only need to do 50

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    I would love to have a small diesel van, non turbo for pottering around with the dogs in. Unfortunately what it would save me is out weighed but the cost of purchase.

    Also, with the constant tax increases, what car can a family of four (plus four dogs) buy that does not cost the earth in taxes yet is still big enough to get us all where we need to be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    why carry around enough fuel for 100miles if you only need to do 50
    The weight of fuel is marginal compared with hunting around for a petrol station every day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post

    5th gear is NOT the only gear your car has got
    Driving in the incorrect gear is not only damaging to your engine, mounts, exhaust and other things, it is far less efficient on the juice. 30mph is not the speed at which you change into 5th, infact the only time you should be in 5th is on national speed limit and above roads. Depending on your car 30mph is normally around 3rd gear, possibly 4th in a smaller car or if like my car 2nd gear for any less than 30mph.

    ^ thats one thing which drives me mad. Ill be in a mates car and he will come to almost a complete stop yet insist in pulling away in 2nd or even 3rd. I dont get it, can people not hear the engine crying out for mercy, never mind the clang as bits of exhaust pipe fall off from all the rattling the engine makes at such low rpm!
    I was always under the impression and have read on several sites that the higher the gear the better.
    If I drove my car in 3rd at 30 it would sound awful and the revs would be in the red almost. I always drive it in 5th at that speed, occasionally 4th

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    Get a motorbike! I'm doing 70 miles a day to get to work and back and it costs 7.00 per day! Not bad for 70 miles

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    Ryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder View Post
    If I drove my car in 3rd at 30 it would sound awful and the revs would be in the red almost. I always drive it in 5th at that speed, occasionally 4th
    Bloody hell, mental. What you driving? If i did 30mph in 5th, it'd be the transmission pushing me forward, not the engine - the revs would be far too low! (2 litre turbo diesel)

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    Take a look at Best cars for MPG Fuel-Economy.co.uk
    It gives you advice on the most fuel efficient cars.

    I ended up buying my citroen c3 hdi after going on the site.
    Nearly 70 mpg and only 35 a year road tax. Nice

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    I think if 5th gear is needed for 30 suggests then that a problem, but at the same time whenever I am at 30, still yet to change to 4th, I can hear the revs starting to cry out for mercy! I only change to 5th when going at 40 for over half a mile or for any speed over 40 (Corsa C, 1.2, so not a vast amount of power).

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