In the last post we looked at the reasons behind the lowering fuel prices and also the fact the how you drive can have a far bigger effect on the money you spend on fuel over a year than the price at the pumps. In this post we will look at some top economy driving tips that will make sure you make the most of the lower fuel prices.
Before you consider anything else about your driving and the car you choose you must consider the condition of the car in question. Nothing wastes fuel more than a car in poor shape, good servicing and maintenance are the starting points for many things and fuel economy is no exception. The first thing to look at is your tyre pressures, it is not hard to appreciate a flatter tyre makes more contact with the road surface and as such, is harder to push along. Anything that creates more friction and makes the car harder to move is going to mean the engine uses more fuel to do so.
Make sure your tyres are checked regularly and are at the correct pressures. An engine is a complicated piece of machinery, it may feel like something we are familiar with but there is a lot going on in there and if it is not 100% ship shape you could be wasting fuel every time you drive. Clogged fuel injectors, dirty fuel filters, worn out spark plugs and dirty air filters can all add up to mean the engine is inefficient. When this happens, all that money you think you are saving at the pump is pretty much wasted as your poor old engine struggles to use the fuel properly.
There are some important emergency things you should keep in your car; water, warm clothes, high vis jacket etc but most people also carry a lot of things they don’t need. When you look at the bits and bobs you leave in your car individually you might think they weigh nothing at all, but try clearing out your car completely and picking everything up in one go. You may well find you can hardly lift everything because it weighs so much.
When you add up the baby seat you don’t need that day, the screen wash that could stay in the garage, the old bottles of drinking water, bits of rubbish, clothes, shoes and more it can add up to a considerable weight. Dragging this weight around will have a big effect on your fuel consumption. It may not look like it but many people carry around the equivalent weight of half or maybe a whole person. If you had a person sitting next to you every time you drove anywhere you might ask them for a bit of petrol money, and yet millions of people carry the same extra weight and never even know it. Keep your car clean and empty of things you don’t need, it will help.
When a car is in good condition and not carrying extra weight the very best way to save fuel is to understand what is happening when you put your foot down. The throttle pedal is essentially a fuel squirter, as you press it down more fuel is injected into the cylinders and more explosions happen to increase the power. A lot of people will push their foot too far down when they only really need to go a little bit faster, the result is that they squirt in lots of extra fuel but lift their foot off when they increase speed a small amount. This results in far more fuel going in that was needed, a smaller initial movement on the throttle pedal would have still got the desired extra speed but not wasted the initial extra fuel in doing so. The same problem happens when people are traveling at low speeds and insist on trying to get into 5th gear as early as possible. That is fine if you don’t want to car to go any faster but the minute you push you foot down and wait for the car to gradually pick up speed you are putting loads of fuel you don’t need into the engine. Higher revs do not always mean you are using more fuel, it is how far you foot is down that measures the amount the is going in. So you can stay in a slightly lower gear and the car will accelerate with less throttle.
Fuel economy is a very complex science and, of course, never as simple as a few top tips but if you get into the habit of keeping the car in good order, not carry extra weight and thinking about how far your foot is down compared to where is needs to be you will save money.