ECO-DRIVE

We’re often told that using our cars has an impact on climate change, but what if there was way to minimise fuel emissions and ‘drive smarter’ at the same time? Well, the good news is that there is. By following our suggestions you’ll improve your efficiency at the wheel and save a few quid into the bargain!

  • Reduce your load  It might sound obvious but carrying unnecessary weight in the car increases the amount of fuel you use. If you have a roof rack or top box fitted and do not plan to use it, then remove it.
  • Parking  It might surprise you to learn that reversing into a parking space when the engine is warm is more fuel-efficient than reversing out of one with a cold engine. It’s also a smarter move as you have much better visibility driving forwards out of a space.
  • Plan your journey in advance  Use route planners on the internet to look at your options and check for road traffic incidents and roadworks before you leave. Getting lost or finding yourself stuck on congested routes does not help save fuel!
  • Drive by satellite  If you have a satellite navigation system you can use it to find the best available route to your destination. Some sat-navs also receive continual traffic updates – very useful for avoiding long delays.
  • Maintain the pressure  Don’t forget to keep the correct amount of air in your tyres. Underinflated tyres increase resistance – something that really eats into your car’s fuel efficiency. Make sure that checking the tyres becomes a regular feature of your maintenance regime. Your handbook will tell you the recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle.
  • Leave the air conditioning on ice  Using the air conditioning can really help cool you down on a warm day, but the catch is that it also uses a lot of fuel. Try to use the standard temperature controls to stay cool and make sure the car is well ventilated before you travel. Opening the windows at low speeds can be equally effective.
  • Gear up for change  Using gears to slow your car is not fuel-efficient; braking to the required speed before selecting the appropriate gear avoids over-revving the engine and using more fuel.
  • Short-trips tip  Making multiple short trips means that the engine is doing a lot of work when it’s cold. Try to combine journeys so you get everything done at the same time.

For more information about eco driving, parking and other important driving techniques, see The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills.