Updated: Jan 9
Improving your driving style and using these fuel-saving tips will help you get better fuel economy and save on fuel costs. It will also help to lessen the environmental effect of your car.
Remember to accelerate gently, maintain a steady speed, anticipate traffic to avoid braking. Avoid going over 55-65 mph, and roll in gear to slow down.
You should also avoid unnecessary idling, check you have the optimal tyre pressure and avoid carrying extra weight.
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Roll (in gear)
Allow the car to roll up to a roundabout, junction, etc., for the last 700 yards rather than accelerating all the way and then braking (remain in gear and lower gears as you slow down, this not only saves fuel but is also much safer).
To prevent braking and stopping, anticipate the route ahead and roll up to roundabouts.
If you're good at this technique, you can avoid using your brakes for most of your journey, avoiding wasting fuel energy and improving your fuel economy.
Maintain Your Vehicle
As needed, replace the spark plugs, oil, and filters, examine the bearings, and ensure the brakes aren't dragging.
Add some fuel additives to help improve fuel efficiency even further.
Don't let your vehicle warm up by idling; instead, start it and drive away within 30 seconds. This allows your vehicle to reach its optimal operating temperature considerably faster and saves fuel.
Use Higher Gears & Less Throttle
Driving at a lower throttle and in a higher gear, with rpms between 1,200 and 2,500, is generally the most efficient.
The most efficient rpm range and gear depend on the car. A good rule of thumb is to find the rpm at which peak torque output begins and aim for that rpm.
For example, the 2.5L Ford Focus ST225 peak torque is from 1,600 rpm to 4,000 rpm; staying between 1,600 and 2,500 rpm should be the most efficient rpm range.
Drive at Slower Speeds
Driving at 75 mph uses significantly more fuel than driving at 65 mph. A journey of 50 miles takes 39.6 minutes at 75 mph and 46.2 minutes at 65 mph.
The most efficient speed for maximising fuel economy in a car is 55-65 miles per hour. Any faster and the fuel efficiency plummets. Driving at 85 mph uses 40% more fuel than driving at 70 mph.
Open Windows Instead of Air-Con (under 45mph)
If it's hot outside, open a window instead of turning on the air conditioner; if it's really hot, open another window and turn on the blowers.
Air conditioning systems typically consume 5-15% more fuel, especially at low speeds. However, at higher speeds (above 45 mph), open windows become less efficient than AC and may consume 20% more fuel. Switching to AC is optimal at 45 mph.
Slightly Open 2 Windows Instead of 1 Window All the Way
When opposed to opening one window all the way, opening two windows slightly can help promote air movement and minimise drag (improving fuel efficiency). It's recommended to close both windows and use air conditioning when over 45 mph.
Avoid Using Electrical Systems
Avoid using anything that use battery power since they put more strain on the alternator, requiring more fuel.
The biggest drains are the window heater, blowers, heaters, and headlights.
Even devices such as sidelights, screens, and speakers use fuel over time. When not in use, turn off the display; consider not using sidelights on a sunny day unless you're parking, manoeuvring, or it's rainy, dark, etc.
Use Optimal Tyre Pressures
Ensure that the pressure in your tyres is appropriate. Maintaining proper tyre pressure will help to extend the life of your tyres, increase vehicle safety, and conserve fuel.
Car tyre pressure is calculated by measuring the quantity of air pumped into the inside of your tyre in pounds per square inch (PSI) or bar, or sometimes kPa may be used.
The appropriate pressure for your tyres will be specified by the manufacturer of your vehicle; normally, tyre pressure ranges between 30 and 35 PSI.
Maintain Consistent Speed
Maintaining a steady speed consumes less fuel than slowing down and speeding up again. If you have a speed limiter (which is not the same as cruise control), set it to between 50 to 65 mph. If not, try to find the throttle position that keeps you at your target speed.
Remove Excess Weight
Weight reduces fuel economy; removing any excess weight from your car can enhance its fuel efficiency, using less fuel to move.
Excess weight can be removed by:
removing items such as the parcel shelf or boot/trunk liner
filling up to half a tank of petrol at a time