With the cost of fuel spiralling towards the unthinkable €2 per litre mark (at the time of writing 1 litre of petrol is €1.63 and diesel at €1.54 per litre) it’s good to know that we can reduce our fuel bills by up to 20% using Eco-Driving techniques.
Eco driving is a style of driving that contributes to road safety while also reducing fuel consumption.
Improvements can be made with a simple change in attitude to driving. By planning ahead you can be more prepared for potential hazards and slow your vehicle using engine braking (by easing off the accelerator) therefore avoiding the need for harsh or late braking, both of which lead to higher fuel consumption.
To ensure a better performance from your vehicle, make sure it is serviced regularly. This will improve the vehicle economy and indeed reliability. You should check your tyre conditions weekly ensuring there is no wear and tear and also ensure they are inflated to the recommended pressure. Under inflation can increase fuel consumption as well affecting the vehicles handling.
Before your journey, clear unused clutter from the car thereby reducing excess weight and remove roof racks or bicycle racks when not being used. Don’t start your engine till you are ready to leave and, avoid over revving and try to pull away smoothly. Do not leave your engine running unnecessarily, if you are going to be stationary for a few minutes you should switch off your engine till ready to move again.
Once driving you should choose your speed wisely, you can save money by lowering your speed, vehicles travelling at 80kmh use up to 30% more fuel to cover the same distance travelling at 60kmh. Make sure not to travel so slowly that you are inconveniencing other road users! Use you accelerator smoothly, avoid rapid acceleration where possible and use engine braking or “accelerator sense” when slowing down. Driving smoothly can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%. It also pays to only use air conditioning when necessary and keep windows closed when driving at higher speeds to reduce drag.
Effective route planning can help you to avoid busy times of the day and traffic hot spots therefore reducing time spent stopped or in lower more uneconomical gears.
When put together some of the eco driving techniques mentioned can add up to a considerable amount of money saved through improved fuel economy.