Saturday, January 6, 2007

How to increase fuel efficiency when you drive

The UK government announced last year that they would be including fuel efficient driving skills as part of the driving test. Some continental European countries, like Germany, already have this.

The reason this is being introduced is that people waste a lot of fuel when driving. How often do you see people racing towards red traffic lights and then braking sharply? Why do they accelerate, when they know they are going to have to brake? Apart from being hard on the brake pads, it also wastes fuel.

Here are some tips to improve fuel efficiency:

1. When you reach a red traffic light, instead of braking, take your foot off the accelerator and let the car slow down to reach the traffic lights. I'm aware that sometimes the car behind might not be aware you are slowing down, so lightly touch the brake to flash the brake lights, and then take your foot off the brake, accelerator and clutch and simply let the car glide to a stop.

2. Don't speed. The faster you go, the more fuel you use in to cover the same distance. Every car has an optimal speed where the engine is at it's most efficient. Go to the manufacturer's web-site and find out the optimal efficient speed for your car and stick to it. It's dangerous going over 30mph in a city environment anyway, so don't. On a motorway, just because the speed limit is 70mph, you don't have to drive at that fast. Stick to about 50-60mph and sit on the inside lane with the lorries, and ignore all the people speeding past you. If they are happy to literally burn money, let them. This will need some planning, as driving at a lower speed means that the journey will take longer, so you may need to leave the house earlier.

3. Get your car serviced - dirty air filters and oil that hasn't been changed reduces fuel efficiency.

4. Make sure your tire pressure is correct, check it regularly. The lower your tire pressure, the more the engine has to work to drag the car along.

5. Don't carry heavy loads. The lighter the car, the less fuel it uses. Spend some time clearing junk from the car. Don't keep roof-racks on if you don't need them.

6. Air conditioning decreases fuel efficiency. Unfortunately leaving your windows down creates drag that also reduces fuel efficiency. The only way to get round this is to try not to drive in the hottest parts of the day, when your air conditioning needs will be highest. Park in cool spots to keep the car cool (shaded multi-story car-parks are the best bet in summer as the car won't heat up at all).

7. Drive in the correct gear, if you are using a manual car.

8. Some people tend to have their foot always over the clutch lightly depressing it which driving. Don't. Only depress the clutch when your foot is off the accelerator.

9. Make fewer journeys - instead of popping to the supermarket every couple of days, do big shops occasionally. This too demands prior organisation.

10. When you come to replacing your car, look for a more fuel efficient car. The smaller and lighter the car, the less fuel it will use (it's the same principle as using much more energy and effort to move a heavy object than a light one). The newer the car, the more fuel efficient it is, as newer fuel efficiency technology is incorporated.

The following are a list of fuel efficient cars (based on British Imperial gallons, not American ones):

Honda Insight 2 seater (petrol) 80.0 mpg
Citroen C1 1398 M5 (diesel) 68.9 mpg
Toyota Aygo 1.4 D-4D 3 & 5 door (diesel) 68.9 mpg
Citroen C2 1398 M5 (diesel) 65.7 mpg
Citroen C3 1398 A5 (diesel) 65.7 mpg
FIAT Panda 1248 M5 (diesel) 65.7 mpg
Toyota Prius 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid (petrol) 65.7 mpg
Vauxhall Corsa 1248 MTA5 (diesel) 65.6 mpg
Audi A2 1422 M5 (diesel) 64.2 mpg
FORD Fiesta 1560 M5 (diesel) 64.2 mpg
Smart Forfour 1493 S/A6 (diesel) 64.2 mpg
Peugeot 206 1398 M5 (diesel) 64.1 mpg
Renault Clio 1461 M5 (diesel) 64.2 mpg
Citroen C3 1560 M5 (diesel) 64.2 mpg
Vauxhall Corsa 1248 M5 (diesel) 64.2 mpg
Hyundai Getz 1493 M5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Fiat Grande Punto 1248 M5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Ford Fiesta 1399 M5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Ford Fusion 1399 M5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Ford Fusion 1560 M5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Toyota Yaris 1364 5MT or Multi5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Renault Modus 1461 A5 or M5 (diesel) 62.6 mpg
Peugeot 206 SW 1398 M5 (diesel) 62.7 mpg
Peugeot 207 1398 M5 (diesel) 62.7 mpg
Peugeot 207 1560 M5 diesel) 62.7 mpg
Renault Megane 1461 M5 (diesel) 62.8 mpg
Citroen C1 998 M5 (petrol) 61.4 mpg
Toyota Aygo 998 M5 or Multi5 (petrol) 61.4 mpg
Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i 3 & 5 door (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Peugeot 107 1.0 (petrol) 61.3 mpg
Renault Modus 1.5 dCi 80 (JP0D05) (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Mitsubishi Colt 1.5 AMT (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Skoda Fabia Hatch 1.4 TDI PD (75 bhp) (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Skoda Fabia Estate 1.4 TDI PD (75 bhp) (diesel)61.4 mpg
Renault Clio MY 20061.5 dCi (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Ford Fusion 1.6 Duratorq TDCi (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Seat New Ibiza 1.4 TDI (80 PS) (diesel) 61.4 mpg
VW Polo 1.4 TDI PD (80 PS) (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Nissan Micra 1.5 3/5 door (65 PS) (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Honda Civic Hybrid 1.4 IMA ES (petrol) 61.4 mpg
Suzuki Swift 1.3 GLZ 3 door DDiS (diesel) 61.4 mpg
Vauxhall Corsa MY2005 1.3CDTi 16v5Door (diesel)61.4 mpg
Vauxhall Astra MY2005 1.7CDTi 16v 5Door(diesel)61.4 mpg
Smart Fortwo 698 SM6 (petrol) 60.1 mpg
Daihatsu Charade 989 M5 (petrol) 58.9 mpg
Vauxhall Corsa Corsa 998 MTA5 (petrol) 58.8 mpg
Smart Roadster 698 A6 (petrol) 57.6 mpg
Daihatsu Sirion 998 M5 (petrol) 56.5 mpg