There are lots of things you can do as a driver to reduce your fuel consumption – and lighten the load on your wallet!
The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. Use your right foot lightly to move off and get up to speed, and you’ll make savings.
Sharp braking wastes energy – instead, ease off the accelerator and move down the gears in plenty of time so you can smoothly come to a stop.
Did you know that a vehicle travelling at 120km per hour uses about 20% more fuel than the same vehicle at 100km per hour? (source) That’s a substantial increase – imagine the savings over a long journey.
Constant changes in speed use more fuel and are a waste of energy and money. Try to maintain a steady speed to avoid this – and consider using the cruise control function if your car has it.
A little anticipation goes a long way – literally! By training yourself to look further ahead you can avoid sharp braking and even the need to use the brake altogether, for example by changing lanes in advance of a slow-moving vehicle, or gradually slowing down before a junction.
Make sure you aren’t carrying heavy items unnecessarily, for example bags of compost or sports equipment. The heavier your car, the more fuel you will use.
In addition, overloading can put strain on the car and our AA Roadside Rescue team are often called out to cars that have suffered damaged suspension, a burned-out clutch or tyre damage due to overloading.
Don’t take too long to move into the higher gears – driving fast in a low gear makes the engine work harder and uses more fuel (you can tell by keeping an eye on the tachometer beside the speedometer, as it shows the engine’s rpm). Most modern cars have a dashboard indicator to tell you the most efficient time to change gear – use it.
You may be surprised to discover that using your car’s air conditioning system can increase its fuel consumption by as much as 20% (source). If you’re in town or city traffic, open the windows instead. And if you do need to put on the air-con, use the ‘re-circulate’ option to save energy.
Remove roof racks, roof boxes and cycle racks when you aren’t using them, as they increase drag and mean you’ll burn more fuel to compensate.
Finally, and most obviously, don’t drive unless you need to. Walk or cycle for short trips, and use public transport as much as you can.
Don’t forget that AA Membership has lots of great benefits for just €8.25 per month.