Tiger Guide To Economical Driving

Driving economically can not only save motorists money but is also beneficial for the environment as well. In recent times car manufacturers have placed greater emphasis on fuel economy, advances in car technology and design which means that today’s cars are more fuel efficient than ever before.

Getting More From A Gallon

However, with the wrong driving habits even an economical car can easily become less fuel efficient which can leave a driver out of pocket. At a time where the cost of motoring is getting more expensive, getting the most out of a tank of fuel is even more important than ever.

This guide to driving economically aims to provide some simple tips and advice on how to maximise fuel economy, reduce a vehicle’s carbon footprint and cut down on motoring costs.

Car Maintenance

A well maintained car is not only more reliable but more fuel efficient as well. If a car is looked after with regular servicing it will achieve more miles per gallon of fuel.

  • Missing service intervals to save money is a false economy. A car will use fuel less efficiently and be more problematic. Make sure the air filter, oil filter, engine oil and spark plugs are replaced at the recommended intervals to ensure the engine is working as well as possible.
  • Use the correct oil. Refer to the manufacturer’s handbook to see which type of oil should be used with the vehicle. Using different oil or cheaper alternatives will reduce engine efficiency and in extreme cases may cause damage to the engine.
  • Inflate tyres to the recommended pressure. Get into the habit of checking the car's tyre pressure on a regular basis and especially if embarking on a long journey. Under inflated tyres increase the road surface area of the tyre and can cause increased drag. This will place more load on the engine and will force it to it work harder and use more fuel. In addition, under inflated tyres tend to wear quicker particularly around the edges of the tyre meaning that they will need to be replaced more often.
Plan The Trip

A little bit of planning before hitting the road will go a long way towards using less fuel and improving the fuel economy.

  • Lose weight. Before setting off on a journey, drivers should make sure that they are only taking what they need to. More weight means less fuel economy as the engine will have to work harder to propel the vehicle along the road.
  • Lose weight. Before setting off on a journey, drivers should make sure that they are only taking what they need to. More weight means less fuel economy as the engine will have to work harder to propel the vehicle along the road.
  • Consult the map. Plan the journey and make sure the driver knows where they are going. Racking up more miles being lost does not help with fuel economy. Also, before setting off look at the traffic information for any incidents or road closures. This way the route can be planned around the problematic areas and not waste fuel on detours or sitting in traffic jams.

Change Driving Technique

Small changes to driving technique can make a big difference to the amount of money spent at the pumps. The way a car is driven is by far the most effective way to save fuel.

  • Get in gear. Always try and select the highest gear available without making the engine labour or struggle. When accelerating try to get through the gears early (short shifting) to keep the revs low and try not to exceed 3,000 revs.
  • Don’t have a heavy foot. Use the accelerator to make small adjustments to regulate speed, and accelerate and decelerate gradually. On long journeys keep the speed consistent, rather than accelerating and decelerating sporadically, a steady average speed will get drivers to their destination in good time and with minimal fuel.
  • Have foresight. Try and predict the road ahead to avoid sudden braking and then acceleration, this uses the most fuel. Be mindful of travelling uphill and downhill, avoid accelerating up a hill and be gentle on the throttle when travelling downhill, use gravity to save fuel! Try and keep a good distance between from the car ahead so that there is plenty of time to decelerate gradually and travel at more of a consistent speed.
  • Easy on the brakes. Every time brakes are used the fuel that has been used to get the vehicle going in the first place is wasted. We are not suggesting avoiding using the brakes at all! However, cruising to a junction is much better than coming to an abrupt halt by slamming on the brakes. Also, using the gears to slow the car down when shifting down from 5th to 4th to 3rd to 2nd and soon will slow the car down and require less braking.
  • Don’t rush. This point is connected to planning the journey, cruising at 50mph or 60mph will use less fuel than if the vehicle is travelling at 70mph. If the journey has been planned then there should be no need to rush to get to the destination - particularly on motorways or on long journeys, less speed means more fuel in the tank.
  • Electricity is not free. All electrical functions of a car use power from the engine to operate. Air conditioning, heated seats and de-misters are the most fuel hungry, using the air conditioning alone can reduce fuel efficiency by 10%. Use these things sparingly if to save fuel.

Calculating Fuel Consumption

Most modern cars feature a trip computer that can calculate the average miles per gallon (MPG). If the car does not have this then average miles per gallon can still be calculated by following these steps:

  • Fill the tank and record the mileage
  • Record the number of litres used to fill the tank
  • When the vehicle is ready to fill up again fill the tank up again to the same level
  • Divide the total miles driven since the first fill by the total number of litres used and then multiply by 4.546 to get miles per gallon. So if you have covered 650 miles and used 55 litres of fuel, your average mpg = (1000/101)x4.546 = 53mpg

Have you found this guide useful? Do you have any advice for saving fuel? We would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below!

19/04/2013 13:14:36 Eren

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