Driving for economy isn't difficult
Fuel prices are on the rise again, but regardless of its price, you’d be foolish to waste it, especially when making the most of it is so easy to do.
Amazingly, most drivers seem to ignore the tips and techniques to save fuel. Whether it’s by lugging unnecessary weight or playing speed racer from every set of traffic lights, there are simple steps most of us forget… until it’s time to fill up.
With that in mind we’ve compiled some of the most straightforward tips for economic trips, most of which you can use today!
Your owner’s manual can help
From selecting the right fuel to maintaining the correct tyre pressure to adhering to recommended service intervals, your owner’s manual is there to help.
All of the aforementioned points will help you conserve fuel, and all vary depending on your vehicle. It makes sense that manufacturers design vehicles to meet different parameters, and for different purposes. Your hatchback won’t need the same level of servicing as your neighbours four-wheel drive, but does require the appropriate fuel and tyre pressure to run at its optimum.
Like humans, a car cannot run at its best if it’s not in top shape. So take notice of the odometer, and service your car at its recommended intervals.
Study the map
The route you take to your destination plays a huge part in your fuel economy.
Taking the freeway will obviously result in a more economic drive than the surface streets crammed with traffic lights. Likewise a road that is straight and flat will see fewer prods at the throttle than ones that are hilly and twisty.
Sure, it’s not always possible to find an alternative, especially if you’re usual route isn’t serviced by freeways. But some lateral thinking – or the use of your sat-nav – could really help trim your fuel bill.
The black and rounds
If you’re really serious about saving fuel, the logical place to start is where rubber meets the road. A lot of tyre manufacturers now make compounds specially designed with economy in mind. Low rolling resistance tyres, as they’re known, typically have a higher silica content than regular tyres, and will coast further due to the decrease in friction between the tread and tarmac.
It’s also worth noting that alloy wheels are lighter than conventional steel rims (which reduces your vehicle’s unsprung mass), but that thinner tyres offer less air resistance than the wider rubber usually found on that gleaming set of alloys. Catch 22, perhaps?
Clean up and save
A clean car mightn’t seem like the most obvious – or relevant – place to save fuel, but hear us out. Removing dirt and grime for your paintwork will make the car travel through the air more, err, cleanly. For the same reason you should also remove roof racks and bicycle carriers when they’re not in use. They’re heavy, and they catch the air.
Although that’s not the only cleanliness tip we can offer when it comes to saving fuel. The big one is what’s inside your car!
Cleaning out that change of clothes from last month’s soccer practice or emptying the junk from inside your boot will pay dividends at the pump. Remember, the less weight your car has to carry around the more efficiently it will operate. It’s exactly why vehicle manufacturers don’t fit full-size spare wheels these days…