How to get the most out of your car and understand the myths of eco driving

Fuel saving imageAs fuel prices continue to rise, with the average cost of petrol and diesel hitting 117.23p and 119.63p per litre respectively at the end of 2016, most drivers are looking at ways to reduce their fuel consumption. Eco-driving has been increasing, with many more electric and hybrid cars being developed, appearing on our roads and people looking at greener ways to drive.

There is a lot of advice out there, however many common myths are regularly churned out when drivers want to know how to save fuel. At AA Cars we’ve broken down these popular fuel saving myths and presented real advice about how to save fuel.

Popular fuel saving myths to ignore

Here are some of the most popular fuel saving tips which aren’t exactly accurate.

Downsizing saves money

It used to be that smaller cars had lower fuel consumption levels, but due to technological advancements that is no longer the case. Electric and hybrid saloons can use less fuel and have better mpg than regular diesel or petrol 1.2 litre hatchbacks. Other fuel saving technologies like direct injection and turbocharging have closed the gap between small and larger cars in terms of fuel consumption and mpg too.

Warm your engine before driving

A car’s engine is more fuel efficient when it is warm, but the best way to warm it up is by driving! Leaving it sat idle on your drive will not make it more fuel efficient when driving, probably using more fuel up without moving than if you set off straightaway.

Use windows not air-con

Many people believe turning on the air con uses up more fuel than opening the windows in summer. It does use up some fuel, but not that much. Especially compared to having windows rolled down when travelling at top speeds, which creates drag, ruining the aerodynamics and being less cost-effective than using air-con. Though at slow speeds it can be less costly to open windows.

Older vehicles have worse fuel economy

Many newer cars will be more efficient, due to the increased focus by governments and manufacturers on reducing emissions and improving mpg. However, a vehicle’s fuel economy does not decrease as it gets older if properly maintained. So, it can be worth buying a used car if it has a decent fuel economy as it’s unlikely to have dropped much.

Real fuel saving tips

There are a number of useful fuel saving tips which can improve your eco-driving.

Lose weight

It’s nothing personal, but unnecessary weight wastes fuel. Remove that empty roofrack, take out any heavy equipment (golf clubs etc.) in the boot or anything else, as losing 45kg can improve fuel economy by around 2%. That may not sound like much but over time it can make a big difference to your wallet.

Maintain your vehicle

Looking after your car will have a positive impact on its fuel consumption. Getting it serviced regularly and ensuring everything is properly tuned can improve mpg, while it is important that tyres are properly inflated and the correct oil is used. These are easy maintenance tasks and help your vehicle run smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

Drive smoothly

Driving smoothly can save up to £800 a year in petrol costs. Of course, that will depend upon how much you drive, but accelerating and braking smoothly and going through the gears will improve fuel consumption. Aggressive driving such as fast accelerations and decelerations require more energy, produce heat waste and present more dangers as well.

Plan your trip

Being sat in traffic, getting lost and driving in icy and tough weather conditions can all use up a lot more fuel. Nobody chooses to do either of those things, and sometimes they’re unavoidable, but where possible plan your journey outside rush hour so as not to waste fuel. Check for traffic jams and ensure you know the route to prevent getting lost on the way.

Watch Your Speed

You may shave off a bit of time by driving fast down the motorway, but it’s a false economy. Your car may be running for less time but once a vehicle is travelling at over 50mph, fuel economy drops significantly, especially the faster you go.

Use these fuel saving tips and avoid the common myths and your fuel consumption levels should begin to reduce.

Image courtesy of iStock.

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