Top 5 ways to improve fuel efficiency

petrol station

UK diesel and petrol have hit record high prices. According to RAC, the average cost of a litre of petrol rose to 167.6p, and diesel prices reached 180.9p a litre.

With this in mind, we wanted to share a few long-term tips to help improve your fuel efficiency.

A big factor affecting fuel consumption is your driving habits.

  1. Drive smoothly to conserve momentum – By anticipating the road and other drivers ahead, you can avoid unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, therefore conserving momentum and reducing fuel consumption. Greater anticipation is the key to both efficient and safer driving.2. Change gear early – When accelerating it is most efficient to change up through the gears as soon as your vehicle will comfortably take the next gear. The actual RPMs will depend on the vehicle, the load, the gradient of the road and more, but for a car this typically means changing up by around 2000rpm.

    3. Lift off and drive for free –  When slowing down, remain in gear but lift off the accelerator as early as possible. You’ll then be engine braking, with the momentum of the vehicle turning the engine. In a petrol or diesel vehicle this activates the fuel-cut off switch, which reduces fuel flow to virtually zero.

    4. Avoid excessive speeding – High speeds increase fuel consumption, primarily because of higher wind resistance. Travelling at 75mph in a petrol or diesel car will use around 18% more fuel than 60mph, and for a van the fuel consumption penalty is around 37%.

Lighten the load and try not to keep unnecessary external items in your vehicle. Overloading your vehicle requires the engine to work harder which increases fuel consumption. Moreover, extra weight can cause tyres to deflate faster, which again can affect fuel economy. Excess weight doesn’t only contribute to higher fuel expenses, but it can also affect safety, increase maintenance costs and downtime.

Air-conditioning adds significantly to fuel consumption for all vehicles. Opening the windows incurs a much smaller penalty even at higher speeds. If you are using air-conditioning, then adjusting the climate control setting up a degree or two will reduce the fuel consumption.

Heated seats and steering wheels in an EV use less energy than heating the entire vehicle, and so these features are included in most EVs, including base models.

Many modern vehicles, whether conventional or plug-in, have features that can help you conserve fuel or battery. These include stop-start systems, gear-shift indicators, feedback on driver efficiency, and for most EVs an eco-setting which will typically limit acceleration and top speed and reduce the power of heating and air-conditioning.

It’s important to regularly maintain and service your vehicle as this can positively affect fuel consumption and help cut costs. For example, tyres should be inflated to the correct pressure to avoid resistance – underinflated or overinflated tyres affect fuel economy.