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Fuel Saving Tips

The faster you drive, the greater your fuel consumption. Department for Transport figures state that you will use up to 9% more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph, and up to 15% more fuel than driving at 50mph. Travelling at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.

Generally speaking, the optimum driving speed for fuel economy is 55/56mph, which is what car manufacturers typically use to quote fuel consumption figures. However, fuel economy is dependent on a number of different factors such as tyre pressure, excess weight in the boot, presence of roof racks, driving style, etc.

While reducing speed is an effective way of reducing motoring costs, motorists are advised to slow down only when it’s practical to do so, taking into consideration the type of road, the speed limit and the current driving conditions.

The RAC has come up with the following tips to help motorists improve their fuel efficiency and save money:

Fuel economy tips

  • Don’t carry around unnecessary items in your boot as they add weight to your vehicle, which affects fuel economy. Do you need to keep your golf clubs or tools in your vehicle? On average, every 50kg will increase your petrol consumption by 2%. This is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones
  • Don’t use your air conditioning unless you really have to – air conditioning uses engine power and therefore increases fuel consumption
  • Don’t leave your roof bars on because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel. Roof bars tend to weigh between 3kg to 5kg but the aerodynamic factor is greater. An empty roof rack affects fuel consumption by about 10%
  • If you tend to be an urban driver, only have half a tank of fuel – less weight will help fuel economy
  • Consider making one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warm it will operate at its most efficient whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same
  • Adopt a non-aggressive driving style – by changing your driving technique you could improve your fuel efficiency by 30%. Don’t accelerate too quickly and then have to brake hard – watch your right foot. Anticipate traffic conditions – traffic lights, roundabouts, etc. Can increase fuel efficiency by a staggering 30%*
  • Make sure you maintain your vehicle – regular maintenance and servicing improves the efficiency of your vehicle. And therefore can improve your fuel consumption
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