One of the most important skills drivers should learn is the art of fuel efficient driving. Good fuel economy is important for saving money – and ultimately the planet – and can be achieved using various ‘hypermiling’ techniques.
Whether you are travelling for personal or business reasons, follow these five hypermiling driving tips to get the most out of the petrol and diesel you’re buying:
Check your car before you go
Proper car maintenance can help prevent you from using fuel unnecessarily. Complete the following standard checks and you will see your MPGs increase.
Be mindful of weight – Make sure you don’t have any unnecessary excess weight in your car. The heavier your vehicle is, the harder the engine has to work to pull your car forward – resulting in more fuel being used.
Check your tyres – Make sure your tyres are pumped up to exactly the correct level before setting off on your journey. Deflated tyres cause increased resistance when driving.
Don’t idle – Avoid leaving your car to idle and turn your engine off if you expect to be stopped for over 3 minutes. Consequently, don’t turn your engine on until you’re definitely setting off. In winter, don’t leave your car to defrost, scrape the ice off your windows yourself.
Plan your journeys – Instead of going from A to B back to A and then to C, combine your journeys into one longer drive instead of multiple shorter ones. You should also plan routes so you don’t get lost, as this added travel time will impact your fuel economy.
Avoid sudden stops and starts. The more you do this, the more the engine has to work (and more fuel has to be used). To reduce this, keep an eye on the traffic ahead of you.
If someone ahead is braking, lift your foot off the accelerator instead of slamming on your brakes. This will make your driving experience smoother, and your engine more fuel efficient.
On the flip side, avoid accelerating excessively. Use your gears wisely and change up sooner. Diesel cars should change up a gear before reaching 2,000rpm, petrol cars before 2,500rpm.
Does coasting in neutral save on fuel?
There has always been a popular belief that coasting in neutral, especially downhill, will improve fuel economy. However, this has recently been challenged.
Coasting in neutral is actually considered dangerous and inefficient now, because you can’t accelerate quickly if a hazard pops up, nor can you use engine braking.
The best speed for fuel economy on the motorway
It can be difficult to find an optimal speed for the motorway. It’s important to bear in mind that driving way below or way over the speed limit is extremely dangerous. When it comes to fuel consumption on the motorway, 70mph can use up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph whereas 80mph uses 25% more than at 70mph.
Regardless, the motorway is actually the most fuel economy friendly type of road.
Leave the car in its top gear and you can gently cruise along. The trick is to get continuous momentum. If you are frequently braking and speeding up, you’re making the engine work harder than if you go at a consistent and safe speed.
Choose fuel-efficient cars
If you want to go that extra mile with improving your fuel economy, you should consider opting for a fuel-efficient car. Hybrid cars, for example, combine an electric battery with a combustion engine to improve efficiency and lower fuel emissions.
You could also go one step further and avoid petrol and diesel altogether by opting for an electric car.