7 tips for driving more fuel efficiently

Did you know that the way you drive can have a big impact on how much fuel your car uses?

With fuel prices high at the moment, these 7 tips can help you save money at the pumps as well as helping the environment:

1. Streamline your car

Before you set out on any journey, have a look around your car and take out anything that doesn’t need to be in there. If you have a roof rack or box that you’re not going to need for this trip, take them off – the drag they cause uses up more fuel. You might be using your car as a useful storage space, but unnecessary items are adding to its weight and using more fuel. That applies to the fuel itself, too – more fuel means a heavier car, and a heavier car needs more fuel to keep it moving. If half a tank is sufficient for your journey, there’s no need to fill it up to the brim.

2. Combine trips

If you’re planning several trips, is there any way you can combine them into one? Your car engine uses up more fuel when it’s warming up from cold than it does when it’s already warm.

3. Drive smoothly

It’s good driving practice anyway, but developing a smooth driving technique is a great way to save on fuel. Learn to minimise sudden acceleration and unnecessary braking, and get used to anticipating the road in front of you so that you can make gentle changes. If you’re approaching traffic lights, for example, slow down early so that they may have changed by the time you reach them, meaning you might not need to stop at all. Change up and down multiple gears at a time, and change to the highest suitable gear as soon as you can to avoid over-revving.

4. Avoid traffic jams

Sitting in a traffic jam with your engine idling wreaks havoc on your fuel consumption, so avoiding congestion saves fuel as well as time. Making use of devices and apps such as Google Maps for live traffic information means you can plan alternative routes while you’re on the move, avoiding sitting for lengthy periods in stationary traffic.

5. Use auto-stop/start

Many cars these days are equipped with an automatic stop/start system that cuts the engine when you put your car into neutral and take your foot off the clutch. This saves fuel when you’re sitting at traffic lights, or when it’s unavoidable that you’re in a traffic jam.

6. Switch off the air-con

Air conditioning eats through fuel when you’re driving more slowly, so instead of cranking it up on a hot day, try opening the windows instead. You’ll be pleased to know that at faster speeds, it doesn’t make so much difference.

7. Upgrade your car

With hybrids and electric cars now becoming more affordable, and the future of car production lying firmly in electric, investing in a newer car will immediately save you lots in fuel as well as road tax. Don’t forget to take our checklist for buying a car with you when you do!