With fuel costs rising learning more about how to drive in a more environmentally friendly way is of interest to everyone – both financially and ecologically speaking. In order to start driving in a more ecologically sound way you only need to make a few simple changes to your driving habits that can make a big difference to your fuel consumption and car emissions. The development of these good habits should be covered during a course of driving lessons.
Don’t think eco-driving would make much of a difference to the cost of keeping a car? The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you can reduce your annual driving costs by between £300 and £350 and even save your car some wear and tear thanks to eco-driving.
For optimum eco-driving first of all make sure your car is in good condition. Check your tyres at least once a month and before you embark on any long journeys. Under-inflated tyres are dangerous and increase fuel consumption.
Try to keep your car boot free of any unnecessary items, excess weight increases fuel consumption because the car is made to work harder when accelerating. Unless they are required, you should take off roof racks or boxes. Your car has been designed to be as aerodynamic as possible. Roof racks or any outer addition to your car increases drag and causes greater fuel consumption – particularly at high speeds.
Modern engines no longer require any ‘warming up’ so there is no need to allow your car to idle before a journey. If you have air conditioning remember using it means the engine has to work harder in order to power it. If you are driving at a low speed consider opening the window. When driving at high speed, anything over 60mph, close the window as this will affect the car’s aerodynamic drag.
Once you are actually on the road shift up to a higher gear as soon as possible. When you drive at lower engine speed less fuel is used. Try to anticipate the road as far ahead as you can in order to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration.
Drive at a slower pace, driving at 85mph isn’t just going over the National Speed Limit, it’s using 25% more fuel than you would at 70mph. When you are stationary for more than a minute it is worth considering turning your engine off. Re-starting you car does not use extra fuel meaning you won’t waste any fuel when you turn the car back on.
Ecodrive.org say that taking these tips on board also: “reduces noise pollution as well as local air pollution. The engine noise of one car driving with 4000 rpm (revolutions per minute) equals the engine noise of 32 cars at 2000 rp.” The site also believes if more people committed to eco-driving there would be a reduction in overtaking, speeding and aggressive driving.