Increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle in 5 ways and save how much!

How to increase fuel efficiency

With both petrol and diesel prices constantly rising, more and more of us are looking to increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicles. There are various techniques you can use to make the most of every drop of fuel and save yourself some money. Here are five great ways to make your vehicle more fuel efficient.

Check your tyres’ air pressure and tread depth

When it comes to improving the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, checking your tyres’ air pressure and tread depth is essential. Keeping your tyres inflated to the correct pressure is particularly important since both underinflated and overinflated tyres can increase fuel consumption. Underinflated tyres can reduce your vehicle’s mpg by as much as 2.5%. If your tyres aren’t inflated to the proper pressure, the car will need to work harder and burn more fuel to get moving.

Make sure you check the tread depth of your tyres too. Without suitable levels of tyre tread, you’ll end up using more fuel and burning money as a result. This is because of ‘tyre rolling resistance’, which is the amount of energy that needs to be used to get the car moving. Really deep tyre tread depth has a high rolling resistance, which that means that the engine needs to work harder to turn the wheels. This is the case with winter tyres.

Worn down tyres also use more energy since they lack grip, making them more likely to slip. Check your tyres’ pressure and tread depth all year round to ensure they’re not increasing your car’s fuel consumption.

Accelerate and decelerate smoothly

Your style of driving plays a part in how fuel efficient your vehicle is. Rather than driving aggressively using rapid, sudden starts and hard braking, you should accelerate smoothly and slowly, reaching a higher gear as quickly as possible. Not only can changing your driving style in this way cut fuel consumption but it can also reduce toxic emissions. So, when the traffic lights turn green, don’t simply stamp your foot down on the accelerator. Speed up quickly but smoothly, achieving your required speed in a reasonable timeframe.

Keep in mind that deceleration can also affect fuel efficiency. Instead of waiting until the last minute to stop and slamming on your brakes, take your foot off the gas early, braking gently until the vehicle stops.

When it comes to speed bumps, avoid accelerating quickly and braking hard to go over them. Maintain a speed of around 15 to 20mph unless the bumps are very high.

Drive within the speed limit in the highest gear possible

Since excessive speed is one of the biggest causes of poor fuel efficiency, it’s important to stay within the speed limit. A heavy right foot can send your car’s fuel consumption rocketing, resulting in you spending more than you need to at the pumps. For example, driving above the national speed limit at 80mph rather than 70mph can mean burning an extra 10% of fuel, not to mention costing you extra money in speeding fines.

If you’re driving in an urban area, change through the gears as quickly as possible with the lowest revs possible, ideally around 2000rpm. This is because the faster the engine spins, the more fuel it will use.

Using cruise control is advisable too since maintaining a continuous speed rather than constantly accelerating and decelerating means less fuel is used. Since slowing down and speeding up can increase fuel consumption in a big way, letting your car maintain a cruising speed whenever possible is the most efficient way to drive.

Remove extra weight from your vehicle

The heavier a vehicle is, the more energy it needs to get moving. Heavier vehicles have higher inertia and more rolling resistance, both of which contribute to higher fuel consumption. Therefore, it makes sense to take steps to make your car lighter if possible. Removing bike racks and roof boxes if they’re not required can help to make your vehicle more fuel efficient and save you money. You should also take any unnecessary items out of the car, including the pushchair if your child’s not with you and that heavy snow shovel in the summer.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that roof boxes and bike carriers can also create wind resistance which further reduces your car’s fuel efficiency. This is because they create higher wind resistance through the ‘drag’ effect, causing your car to use more fuel. This effect increases the faster speed you drive. The Energy Saving Trust states that an empty roof rack can add as much as 16% drag at speeds of 75mph. A roof box adds 39%, making a vehicle far less fuel efficient. 

Stop unnecessary idling

Stopping unnecessary idling can help cut your fuel consumption considerably. Idling refers to the act of leaving the vehicle’s engine running whilst it’s at a standstill. Whilst you may sometimes be forced to idle whilst stuck in traffic, it’s usually not necessary and simply results in wasted fuel.

Idling is a common driving habit but it’s one that you should try to break if you want to make your vehicle more fuel efficient and save money. When you idle, you get zero miles per gallon from the fuel in your tank. This is because fuel is being used without you actually going anywhere.

Some modern cars have “stop/start” technology that turns the engine off whilst stationary, saving fuel. If your car has this function, it’s best to keep it turned on. Many people expect the amount of fuel to be saved by a start-stop system will be small, however, it can quickly add up. A study carried out by the Society of Automotive Engineers found that using a start-stop function can improve a car’s fuel economy by as much as 8% in heavy traffic.

The steep cost of petrol and diesel can make driving an expensive business for motorists. By following these tips, you can increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, saving you money and helping to protect the environment.

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