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‘Fuel’ safe driving techniques

Published: 30/09/13

Companies running a fleet of vehicles could make significant savings by ensuring that all employees undertake these simple driving techniques to conserve fuel usage.

Easy does it
Accelerate smoothly and progressively and avoid harsh acceleration. When you have the chance let the momentum of the car take you forward – stop pressing on the accelerator. Travelling down a hill with your foot off the accelerator will save fuel.

This also applies to speed bumps - drive smoothly at a constant speed of around 15mph. Acceleration followed by heavy breaking uses a lot of fuel.

Stop the revs
For maximum efficiency you should shift up a gear when the engine is revving between 2000 and 2500 revs. Avoid revving the engine in low gear. Change into the highest appropriate gear as soon as you can.

No speed freaks
The most efficient speed is typically around 45 - 50mph. Driving faster than this will greatly increase your fuel consumption. The Department of Transport claim driving at 70 mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60 mph and up to 15% more than at 50 mph.

Under pressure
Check tyre pressures regularly and especially before long journeys; under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and can increase fuel consumption by 3% (check the manufacturers’ handbook and increase pressure for heavier loads as recommended).

Lose the extra pounds
It’s obvious, but extra weight means extra fuel, so if there's anything in the vehicle that you don't need for the journey - take it out

Be a smoothy
Roof-racks and boxes add wind resistance and so increase fuel consumption. If you don't need it take it off – if you do, pack carefully to reduce drag. Driving with the windows or sunroof open will also decrease your car's aerodynamics.

Ready, set, go!
Don’t start the engine until you’re ready to leave - an idling car wastes fuel and causes engine wear. In the winter scrape ice off instead of warming the car.

Similarly turn the engine off when stuck in traffic for more than a minute.

Cruise control
Where you can use cruise control - this keeps a steady setting on the accelerator so doesn't vary the intake of fuel.

On approaching a roundabout or junction lift off the accelerator and cruise to a stop in gear – this doesn’t use fuel. If however you put the car into neutral and come to a stop – fuel consumption continues.

Short is not sweet
Where possible don’t drive short journeys; cold cars use more fuel.

All hot air
Both air con and heaters are fuel hungry. The air con uses much more fuel with the stop and start in an urban setting. This is lessened on motorways when driving at higher, consistent speeds.

Keeping your front and rear windows clean should lessen mist and therefore the need to use your heaters.


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