Fuel saving tips
It probably won't come as any surprise to know that the faster you drive the greater your fuel consumption. What may be a surprise are the figures, the department of transport figures state that you will use up to 9% more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph, and up to 15% more fuel than driving at 50mph. Travelling at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.
Generally the optimum speed for fuel economy is 55/56mph, this is what car manufacturers use to quote fuel consumption figures, however other factors come into play such as tyre pressure, excess carrying weight, roof racks, driving styles, etc.
Fuel economy tips
- Plan your route - Consider making one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warm it will operate at its most efficient whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same
- Make sure you maintain your vehicle - regular maintenance and servicing improves the efficiency of your vehicle. And therefore can improve your fuel consumption
- Slowest speed, highest gear - the secret to achieving a high mpg figure is driving at the lowest speed you can, in the highest possible gear. This optimum fuel economy speed will be different for every car. Maintain momentum - keeping the car moving is key to fuel economy. Obviously this depends on traffic conditions and what's happening on the road ahead, but slowing down and having to accelerate again naturally uses more fuel
- Gentle right foot - having a light right foot and ensuring all acceleration is gentle is definitely important, but fuel-efficient driving is all about not upsetting the equilibrium of the car
- Lighten the load - don't keep unnecessary items in your boot as they add weight to your vehicle, which affects fuel economy. On average, every 50kg will increase your fuel consumption by 2%. This is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones
- Don't get dragged down - don't leave your roof bars on because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the 'drag' effect. Roof bars tend to weigh between 3kg to 5kg but the aerodynamic factor is greater. An empty roof rack affects fuel consumption by about 10%
- Keep tyre pressure up - make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as indicated in your owner's manual. This will vary depending on the load you are carrying: if you have four passengers and luggage then you will need your tyres inflated to the maximum recommended pressures
- Warm engine - consider making one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warm it will operate at its most efficient, whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same. This is why the Record Road Trip team kept going almost continuously, only stopping for 20 minutes at a time
- Don't use your aircon unnecessarily - don't use your air conditioning unless you really have to as it uses engine power and therefore increases fuel consumption
Don't forget the basics
Make sure you maintain your vehicle as regular maintenance and servicing improves efficiency, and can therefore improve your fuel consumption. Book your car into the SW Car Supermarket service department for your next service when it's due.