Fuel-efficient driving is not only about driving in a way that reduces the effects of your journey on the environment: it’s also about making your journeys more comfortable and reducing your fuel bills.
The factors that affect your vehicle’s fuel consumption the most are
- how you brake
- how you accelerate
- the speed at which you drive
- the weight and wind resistance of your vehicle
- the condition of your tyres.
Although it’s good to save fuel and drive in a fuel-efficient way, driving safely must always take priority.
Braking and accelerating
Scanning what is happening on the road ahead of you will help you to be aware of potential hazards so you can take action in good time: this will help you avoid having to brake sharply. Always try to brake and accelerate smoothly because this will use much less fuel than sudden braking or accelerating.
Using the gears correctly will also help reduce the amount of fuel you use: see Using the gears to find out about ‘block’ gear changing, which can reduce the amount of time when you’re accelerating and so reduce fuel consumption. To use the engine as efficiently as possible, try to use the highest gear possible without making the engine struggle.
Engine braking will help to reduce fuel use too. This is when you use the resistance of the engine to help slow the vehicle. Anticipating when you’ll need to slow down and choosing the correct gear will allow you to use engine braking rather than relying completely on the footbrake.
Keeping your vehicle working efficiently
Your vehicle will use more fuel when it’s carrying an extra load. Avoid carrying more weight in your vehicle than you need to.
Under-inflated tyres will also make your vehicle use more fuel: remember to check your tyre pressures regularly and add more air if necessary.
Technologies such as catalytic converters, new fuels and engine improvements are helping to reduce the amount of pollution created by vehicles.