Our favourite festive season of the year has come to an end as we welcome a whole new decade.
A new decade sounds glamorous but what we’re likely to face any day now is the January blues.
You might have gotten your paycheck early for Christmas, which felt great then, but it makes the first month of the decade a little painful… Tight on money? Who isn’t!
Well done if you already have a few tricks up your sleeve to reduce your living costs – but did you know that you can actually save considerably on fuel by driving a certain way?
We’ll let you in on some great tips, so you can make your wallet AND the environment happier this year.
How to drive economically to save money on fuel
New year, new you. As we know, January is the perfect time for new beginnings. So why not change your driving style?
If you’re a new driver, you might be using a lot of your fuel trying to figure out the clutch or braking at the last chance – basically, driving not so smoothly. If you’re experienced, you’re probably so used to your daily routes that you barely think about driving. So you don’t keep an eye on your speed and let your mind wander – again, not so smooth.
Here’s what you should pay attention to behind the wheel to save money on fuel:
1. Drive at a safe and steady speed
Driving at an appropriate speed is vital for your safety but also good for your wallet. Rapid acceleration wastes fuel so it’s key to keep your speed steady. Whenever you speed up to join a motorway, it’s harsh on your fuel consumption – but when you’re there, motorways are great for fuel economy.
There’s a technique called ‘hypermiling’ that is all about maintaining momentum when you’re on the road. This means optimising your route for the best efficiency, avoiding hills and traffic lights, as well as keeping an optimum speed so that your car can just “flow” through its journey.
2. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking
On most days, you won’t be on the motorway but in the city streets or curvy country roads. The secret to keeping a steady speed is anticipating the road ahead.
It’s, of course, acceptable to brake sharply in an emergency to prevent an accident but only then. If you see there is a queue in front of you, or the traffic light is red, there is no need to accelerate only to slow down and stop.
In situations like this, you should be able to just let the car coast, without using any fuel. Same thing for downhills – why would you accelerate!
3. Think ahead and plan your drive
Thinking ahead is a major skill for hypermiling. Firstly, plan your route in advance so that you know what roads to take. Secondly, keep it smooth! Leaving a good gap between you and the car in front is important for safety but will also help you to avoid constantly stopping and starting.
4. Use the right gear
Low gears require more work from the car, though of course is required when driving at a low speed. Try to get into the habit of using high gears whenever possible. Changing gears quickly or skipping a gear when you’re shifting can save a lot of fuel. Same rule to your speed, keep it steady and make as little adjustment as possible.
5. Maintain your car
Fuel economy is also dependent on the efficiency of your car overall – and maintaining your car regularly improves that. Check your tyres and brake pads regularly to make sure they support your new way of driving and saving fuel. Take a look at our guide for car maintenance here
6. Reduce the weight in your car
Car weight is a big consideration for manufacturers when building new models. Fuel consumption is relative to the vehicle’s weight so naturally, smaller cars are more easily impacted by increased weight.
Your car is not a storage space. Whereas an emergency kit is important, especially in the winter, avoid keeping unnecessary items with you in the car. Increased wind resistance lowers fuel economy.
7. Turn your engine off when parked
It’s so tempting in this cold weather to leave the hot air-con on when parking up for a quick moment but as long as your car engine is on, it’s consuming fuel. So why waste it?
This might sound like a lot to think about but it’s all simple. Plan in advance, anticipate the road ahead and avoid sudden and rushed manoeuvres – and save money.
Make this your new year’s resolution and let us know how you get on – check out our social channels below.