Eco Driving – How a small change to your driving can make a big change to your wallet!

 In Advice, Blog, News

Following on from our post yesterday “Concerns over rising petrol prices?“, it seemed like a good idea to put together an article to help you combat rising fuel prices. So if you’re interested in saving some money on your motoring costs, read on…

So, can you really save money just by slightly changing the way you drive? Well, the answer is yes! We all have some of our own little habits when it comes to driving, and just by thinking about the way we drive, we can improve our fuel efficiency, therefore saving you money.

Sometimes it’s not even the way we drive, but just some of the everyday things we do whilst driving that can affect your fuel efficiency. As an example for you, all of our driving instructors in Bedford used to have a learner roof box on top of their car. Following a redesign of the car, we have removed these boxes. It has reduced drag on the car and therefore improved our fuel efficiency. In my car alone, the average fuel consumption has changed from 40mpg to 45mpg!!! So not only is this saving a bit of money, but it’s also better for the environment.

During our driving lessons in Bedford, we teach an element of “Eco Driving” to all of our students to help them minimise their running costs for a car once they pass their test. So we spoke to some of our Bedford driving instructors to find out what their advice would be for becoming a more economical driver.

Reduce drag and weight in your car – There are all kinds of ways that you can do this. Essentially, you are trying to make you car as aerodynamic as possible to reduce drag, and by removing unnecessary items from your car you can also reduce it’s weight. The more drag that you car produces whilst driving, the more fuel it will have to use to maintain speed. Some examples of ways to reduce drag are to remove roof boxes or luggage carriers, and drive with your windows closed at higher speeds. As for reducing weight, it can be as simply as removing any unnecessary items from the boot of your car. Probably best to keep the spare tyre though, just in case!!

Plan ahead whilst driving – We should all be doing this anyway, but what we mean is to “really” plan ahead!! Avoiding harsh braking is a good way to improve efficiency. and will also save you having to replace your brakes in a hurry! Also, avoid harsh acceleration as well, as this just uses more fuel! So if you see a queue of cars ahead, don’t rush to join it. Control your speed, trying to just roll up to the queue and hopefully, you may actually avoid stopping altogether!

Use higher gears – Driving in a higher gear means that you car is using less revs. Less revs means less fuel. When driving at 30mph, most cars will be quite happy cruising along in 4th gear. Most people still tend to leave it in 3rd, but that’s just wasting fuel. Also, don’t spend too much time accelerating in 1st gear as this is a very high revving gear and will use a lot of fuel.

Share lifts and journeys – Got a work colleague who lives just round the corner? Why not car share to work. Instant reduction of 50% on your fuel cost and it gives you some company on the journey. Why use 2 cars when 1 will do! Also, if you alternate the weeks for who does the driving, it will also save “wear and tear” on your car, saving you even more money when your next service is due.

Avoid the air-con – Air-con use extra fuel when it’s in use. So if you’re getting a bit warm and you’re driving at low speeds, why not open a window. I know we said earlier about closing windows, but that was at high speeds. At low speeds, the drag produced by having your windows open will still cost less than using your air-con.

Keep your car in good condition – Having your car serviced according to its regular service schedule will keep your car in its best condition, and that will help to keep it as efficient as possible. Also, remember to check your tyre pressures regularly as having incorrect tyre pressures will also affect your fuel efficiency.

We hope that you find this information useful and that it will help you to save money on your motoring costs!

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