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 ;)