These two obviously go hand in hand – the more you can reduce your actual fuel consumption, the higher the figure for your miles per gallon of fuel used will be. So what can you do to reduce your consumption? Other than simply reducing your mileage, which in most cases is not an option, what can you do?
Here are some ideas and hints for saving money while driving.
Does your car really need supreme/premium/V Power fuel?
Premium fuel does come with its benefits, but only really noticeably in the right type of engine. Basically most modern cars are manufactured to be able to work perfectly well with lower octane fuel – and indeed there is very little advantage when using premium fuels instead. High performance engines will get a distinct advantage and the difference will be noticeable when using the higher octane, premium fuels – so which is your car? If it is more Fiesta than Ferrari, then save a bundle on fuel and just take the standard option.
Driving Aggressively Vs Driving Conservatively
I considered naming this section ‘Driving assertively’ instead of aggressively, so as to not be too controversial, but for the purpose of this topic aggressively does work better… So anyway, basically aggressive driving and aggressive starts will use a LOT more fuel than taking a more relaxed approach. Tearing away from the lights (within legal limits, obviously) might be great fun, but it will dump a whole load of fuel into your engine and burn it very quickly. Equally, most cars are geared for steady motorway driving at the top end – Consider the revolutions per minute to be your guide – the lower the RPM, the less work the engine has to do. Typically, a car driving at 75 miles per hour (which is very naughty and highly illegal, A1 Clutches does not condone this conduct unless on a track or the autobahn) will use 13% more fuel than a car driving at 65mph – Over the same distance! Drop the speed to 55mph and sit in the slow lane with the lorries and this economy increases to a saving of 25% – imagine using one quarter less fuel, just by taking your time a little more. A key factor here is the air that a car has to cut through while driving. At 70mph there is significantly more air to push out of the way than at 55mph.
Air Conditioning and Open Windows
Open windows will reduce your the aerodynamics of your car, increasing your wind resistance (or drag), making the car have to work harder to hit the same speeds as it would if the windows were closed. This is pretty simple to understand – so pick between the comfort of a nice breeze and your fuel economy.
“It’s OK!” I hear you say, “I’ll just put the air conditioning on!” – Bravo, this solves everything, right? Wrong. At even medium speeds – so around town speeds of 30mph for instance, the fuel efficiency hit from using your air con at half capacity could be as high as 10%. So you use an extra tenth worth of fuel, just for the pleasure of having your air-con up half way.
Nobody wants to travel in a sweaty box though, correct? The tip for reducing your consumption, if you have no choice but to use one of these options is this:
Use your air-con on a low setting while driving at motorway speeds, after a couple of minutes you won’t notice that it isn’t on high and the car will be nice and cool. When driving around town however, open your windows to let a breeze run through. This will save you fuel as the impact of the increased drag is less dramatic at lower speeds.
Extra Wind Resistance and Weight
While I have your attention focused on wind resistance, and how important it is to fuel efficiency, I would ask you to consider the fact that extra wind resistance = lower economy – therefore any extra bits on your car – like a roof rack, or a bike rack – can lower your fuel efficiency… CONSIDERABLY.
Wherever possible, carry baggage or bikes inside the car – or in the case of bikes on a rack at the back of the car rather than on the roof. Equally, don’t leave your roof rack on after you have finished using it in the cases where using it is unavoidable. Object such as this on your roof car, staggeringly, reduce your efficiency by up to 50%.
Just as you shouldn’t leave the racking on if you are not using it, why are you keeping that set of golf clubs in the boot of your car between rounds? Any excess weight that can be removed from the car should be to ensure you achieve the maximum possible efficiency.
Maintain your vehicle properly
OK, so we have had all of the practical things you can do whilst driving to increase your efficiency, but one of the most important things you should do to make sure your squeeze every last penny out of that ever increasingly expensive fuel is to maintain your vehicle efficiency.
This means paying extra care and attention to areas such as the fluids, the filters, the tyre pressures, the type of tyre fitted to your car – all tyres will have specific gradings for noise, efficiency and braking on wet roads. Without sacrificing the other two metrics (particularly the braking in the wet performance) try to get the most fuel efficient tyres for your vehicle.
A properly maintained and serviced car will always be more efficient than one that isn’t – that’s a simple fact – so call A1 Clutches today if your car is in need of some TLC and get saving money on your fuel bills – just remember no driving like Lewis Hamilton away from the lights!