Smooth Operators: Saving fuel and saving the planet

Fuel pumpResearch by a leading insurer has found that ‘driving aggressively’ could add as much as £560 on to your annual fuel bill. Crunching the data collected from 2,000 telematics boxes revealed that the worst drivers used over 60% more fuel costing an extra £50 a month. Over the course of a year dodgy drivers spent an average of £1,398 on fuel compared with just £836 for the most competent drivers.

The telematics technology recorded a variety of factors including harshness of acceleration and breaking and cornering speed. Anticipating the road ahead and driving smoothly meant the most responsible motorists could get an average of 693 miles out of a full tank compared with 413 miles for more aggressive motorists.

Saving money on fuel not only helps your bank balance, but also helps to reduce your carbon footprint, and by taking the following steps you could seriously cut your fuel consumption:

Don’t be a Drag Roof boxes, bars and bike racks change the aerodynamics of your car increasing resistance and fuel consumption. Roof boxes are the biggest offenders adding as much as 20% to your fuel bills.

Go Slow Research shows that fuel economy drops drastically when vehicles hit 50mph. The problem gets worse as you speed-up with motorists travelling at 60mph getting 12% less, at 70mph it’s 25% less and if you’re speeding at 80mph you’ll get a 36% drop in fuel economy.

Idling About Most modern vehicles don’t need to warm-up and when you’re stationary you’re burning fuel. As a rule of thumb if you are stuck in traffic or waiting for a friend; it pays to switch-off your engine.

Breathe Easy Air conditioning drinks fuel and if you’re travelling at low speeds it’s much more economical to wind-down the windows. At higher speeds open windows will interfere with aerodynamics and you’re better off using the aircon.

Stay Tuned Having your car regularly serviced will keep everything running smoothly and improve fuel economy. Experts agree that a well-maintained vehicle can squeeze an additional 4% out of a tank of fuel.

Lose Weight It stands to reason that carrying excess weight will slow you down and drain fuel. Decluttering your boot, and removing 45kg of unnecessary kit, will improve your fuel economy by 2%.

Go Manual It’s a little-known fact but automatic vehicles use 10-15% more fuel than manual vehicles.

Under Pressure Regularly check your tyres to make sure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Not only will under-inflated tyres have a shorter life and adversely affect road handling, but they will also lead to higher fuel consumption.

Get into Gear Listen to your engine and if it starts revving it’s time to change-up and save fuel.

Forward Thinking The less time you spend behind the wheel: the less fuel you will use. Carefully plan your route so you know exactly where you are going, check traffic reports before setting-off and try to avoid travelling at rush hour.


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