Drive the fuel efficient way

Save pounds, help the environment and aid road safety. Just follow these simple tips...

FOLLOW These simple rules and save money...

Air conditioning adversely affects fuel economy. Only use it when it is really needed or you will be impacting your miles per hour unnecessarily. Avoid or reduce their use. They can increase fuel use by up to 10 per cent.

Switch off your engine when stationary for more than a minute. Five to eight per cent of fuel is consumed when idling

Drive steadily – sharp acceleration and heavy breaking is very fuel inefficient. Driving like a Formula 1 driver will increase consumption by up to 40 per cent. Remember slow and steady wins the race.

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Change up a gear as soon as possible – generally at or below 2,500rpm.

Good road sense – anticipate what is ahead and be aware of the road conditions. Smooth driving is more pleasant and you make more of your vehicle’s momentum.

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Use your engine to break – modern engines will detect when you are slowing in gear without depressing the gear and will cut off the supply of fuel. This is more efficient than coasting in neutral.

Avoid harsh or sudden acceleration and firm/late braking. This is best achieved by looking further ahead to assist planning (acceleration sense). Firm acceleration can increase fuel consumption by up to 60 per cent.

Vehicles should move off when first started without the need to warm the engine by allowing the engine to idle. Fuel consumption and engine wear is increased if allowed to idle from cold.

Comply with speed limits. Driving at 50mph uses 30 per cent less fuel than when travelling at 70mph.

Changing to higher gears at lower engine revolutions and road speed can reduce fuel consumption by 15 per cent.

Do not allow the engine to labour in high gears. Selecting the correct gear can reduce the fuel intake of the engine.

Allow a good following distance from the vehicle ahead. This reduces the requirement to be continually braking, which wastes fuel.

Turn off all electrical auxiliaries that are no longer required.

Consider turning off the vehicle’s engine in stationary queues.

Use cruise control on motorway journeys.

Compiled with the help of Jason Dawkins, patrol manager with the RAC, and MPC Steve Binding, of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s driver training centre.

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