Today’s post on eco driving tips might seem like an odd one, but as I mentioned in my post last week on car-free living I know it’s not possible for everyone to go car-free, so instead I want to help you make your driving as eco-friendly as possible! What this really means is finding ways to use less petrol as you drive, reducing the emissions from your car and saving you money at the same time!
These tips are all pretty straightforward and easy to implement, but I promise they really do make a difference!
Keep Your Car Maintained
Ensuring you get your car regularly serviced will keep it running at its best, which means it will be running more efficiently as well. This will reduce how much petrol your car will use, and also reduce the emissions coming from the car, whilst also cutting down on the chance of your car breaking down on you, which no-one wants!
Pump Up Your Tyres
Check your tyre pressure and if need be pump them up to the highest pressure recommended by the manufacturer, as this will result in a smoother drive by reducing resistance, which in turn reduces your petrol use. This will also extend the life of your tyres and improve handling of your car, so it’s worth it for many reasons!
Combine Your Journeys
Where possible, combine shorter journeys into one as when you have a cold engine it uses more fuel for the first few kilometres than a warm engine does. Doing a few stops in a row reduces the chance of your engine fully cooling down, thereby using less fuel in total than doing each of those trips on separate occasions. It will usually save you some time as well!
Lose Some Weight
Driving around with a boot (or back seat) full of unnecessary items will only result in you using more fuel than necessary, so ditch anything that you really don’t need to be carting around! Some studies have shown that an additional 50kg of weight in your car can result in a fuel increase of 2% which pretty quickly adds up over time, so if you don’t need it for that journey then leave it at home.
Streamline Your Vehicle
Having items on the exterior of your car like roof-racks, spoilers and even having your windows open can increase drag on your car and increase your fuel use significantly, up to 20% more in fact. If you don’t need them then it’s best to take them off, and when you do need to use things like roof-racks then make sure to pack them properly to keep things as streamlined as you possibly can.
Cut-Down on Air-Conditioning
Having your air conditioner running when you’re travelling at low speeds increases your fuel usage significantly, although it is less problematic at high speeds, so use your windows for tootling around town and save the air-con for higher-speed driving. Of course, if it’s not that hot out then you can turn the air-con off altogether!
Similarly, if you don’t need your heated rear windscreen or demisters then turn them off, as any additional electrical loads will increase your fuel use.
Braking and then accelerating back to speed uses significantly more fuel than driving at a consistent speed, so avoiding this where possible is key to eco-driving. This means driving at a good distance from the car in front, anticipating and reading the flow of traffic around you so that you can brake and accelerate more gently. It sounds straightforward but it really does save you a whole lot of fuel, and is also a much more relaxed way to drive, so it’s definitely worth doing!
This should go without saying, but you definitely shouldn’t speed! Not only is it dangerous (and uhh, illegal!) but the faster you go the more fuel you use, so much so that if you’re driving at 110km/h you will use 25% more petrol than if you were driving at 90km/h, which is a pretty hefty increase! This also ties in to the previous point about driving smoothly, if you’re speeding then you’re more likely to have to brake and re-accelerate so when combined with the additional speed you’ll be using a whole lot more fuel! Just don’t do it!