Efficient Driving Tips
Following these simple eco driving tips will maximise the mpg of your vehicle, helping you save money on fuel costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
Before your Journey
- Tyre pressure. Checking that your tyres are properly inflated to the correct pressures on a monthly basis can reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption by up to six per cent. The correct tyre pressures are included in your vehicle handbook and are often printed on the sill of the driver’s door or fuel flap.
- Servicing and maintenance. Get your vehicle serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, outlined in the vehicle handbook. Check the oil levels on a weekly basis and top up if necessary to avoid engine damage and keep it running smoothly.
- Plan your journey. Taking a wrong turn wastes fuel. Make sure you know your route before you set off. Use a sat nav system if you have one and check the traffic news for the areas you will be driving through.
- Travel light. Remove any unnecessary items from your boot and storage compartments that you don’t need for your journey. The heavier your vehicle is, the more fuel it uses.
- Reduce drag. Remove roof racks or boxes when you’re not using them. The wind resistance will mean more fuel is used.
- Switch off. Turn your engine off if you are stationary for more than 15 seconds. An idling engine wastes more fuel after 15 seconds than restarting the engine. Don’t start the engine until you are ready to move off.
- Walk or cycle. Do you need to drive to your destination? Consider making the journey on foot or by bike if you’re travelling somewhere nearby.
On the Road
- Drive smoothly. Avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking. Accelerate gently and read the road ahead. Maintain a good distance from the car in front to avoid excessive braking. Slow down by releasing the accelerator pedal early and leaving the vehicle in gear. Change down a gear when the engine speed drops to 1500 rpm.
- Don’t coast. Coasting in neutral when you slow down is unsafe and doesn’t save fuel. In fact, it uses more fuel than staying in gear due to the engine having to burn fuel to keep the engine turning over. Decelerating in gear turns the fuel flow off.
- Changing gear. For increased efficiency when accelerating, shift to a higher gear when the engine speed reaches between 2,000 rpm and 2,500 rpm. Try not to labour the engine if you are driving uphill.
- Keep moving. Stopping and starting uses more fuel than rolling. Decelerate early when approaching queues or traffic lights to keep the vehicle moving.
- Easy on the air con. Using the air conditioning in your vehicle at low speeds can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%. Use the air re-circulating function and switch the air con off when your ideal temperature is reached. Aim for a comfortable temperature rather than cold. Park your vehicle in the shade or use window shades to avoid having to cool a hot vehicle.
- Open windows. During the summer it is more efficient to open your windows rather than using the air con if your speed is less than 40 mph. Switch to air con if you are driving above this over long distances.
- Watch your speed. Always stick to the speed limit. Driving at 70mph rather than 75mph on the motorway uses 6.5% more fuel and CO2 emissions.