Driving efficiently

Are you driving efficiently?

Head to a fuel forecourt in the UK and chances are you’ll have noticed that the price of petrol and diesel has increased since the last time you had to top up your vehicle’s tank. BBC News reported at the beginning of December 2018 that the average price of a litre of fuel across the nation now worked out at £1.24 for petrol and £1.34 for diesel.

Instead of consigning yourself to the fact you need to pay more money to keep your set of wheels on the road though, Vindis, who offer an Audi service plan, has provided these tips on how to become a more efficient driver and thus enable your vehicle to go further on one tank of fuel… 

Lose the unnecessary weight from your car

More fuel will need to be used by your vehicle with every extra item that you load into it. In fact, every 50kg increases your fuel consumption by two per cent on average, claims the RAC. With this in mind, regularly look around your vehicle and get rid of the stuff you aren’t using. Will you really be using that set of golf clubs in the middle of winter? Or that pair of cross country running shoes in the middle of summer?

Although not applicable to long road trips, fuel economy can actually be improved if you only fill half of your car’s tank with fuel. This substance adds to the weight after all, and you’re not going to need 300+ miles worth of petrol or diesel just to complete a half-hour commute to and from work.

Ensure your vehicle’s aerodynamic design is maintained

Your vehicle also has to use additional amounts of fuel when the set of wheels is subjected to wind resistance. Therefore, it’s best to keep windows and sunroofs closed especially when you’re travelling at high speeds. Make sure to remove roof racks and boxes for storage when they aren’t being used as well — up to 20 per cent fuel can be saved on an annual basis by removing a cargo box from a vehicle’s roof alone!

Just think, vehicle manufacturers carry out thorough research when designing your car on the topic of aerodynamics. They are conducting this work to try and find solutions for reducing the drag that a vehicle possesses. It makes sense then that drivers should be maintaining that aerodynamic design too.

Carry out various road trips at once

Park up a vehicle for a few hours and its engines will go cold. As a result, a lot more fuel will be used for around the first five miles of you heading out onto the road. Therefore, you should look to drive for as long as possible when the engine is warm instead of conducting several short trips with long gaps in between each one.

Here’s an example with this thought in mind. If you do the school run in the morning, have to go to the supermarket for the weekly shop sometime during the day and visit some family, can you not do all three during one stint away from your home?

Become smoother when driving

Your vehicle should use less fuel if you don’t spend as much time braking and then accelerating while getting from A to B. Obviously, there will be times when you’ll need to slow your vehicle down — or to a sudden standstill in the event of an emergency — but you should be road savvy enough to be able to approach traffic lights at a gentler pace, for example, or smoothly get up a hill.

Fuel economy can also be compromised if you’re driving in heavy traffic, due to the amount of times that you need to stop and start your vehicle over a short distance. If it’s possible, try and get around having to commute in the rush hour. Perhaps you can head to an exercise class or gym that’s near your workplace instead of waiting until you get home, for instance.

Keep on top of carrying out maintenance checks around your vehicle

You should use less fuel in a vehicle that’s in perfect condition when you analyse the findings against a car that seems to struggle to complete even the simplest of commutes. A regular service is highly recommended to achieve the best efficiency, while you need to be always using the correct specification of engine oil too — consult your manufacturer handbook to find the details you need here. Don’t forget to check tyre pressures too, which should be carried out regularly and also before any extensive journey. This is because tyres which are under inflated will force your car into having to use more fuel. Correctly inflated tyres, meanwhile, could improve fuel consumption by up to two per cent in context, according to the RAC.