Fuel Prices Down - Efficient Driving Still Needed

14 August 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…

While we, as motorists,
no doubt take heart in the “fall” of the price of oil and its
subsequent reduction in petrol/diesel at the pumps. It does have side effects,
one of which is that some drivers become less conscious of the need to save

Let’s re-visit 
some of the key benefits  of applying the benefits of what we refer to as
eco-driving. For those who need reminding. Eco-driving is a driving style that
is both ecological and economical — it is a combination of safe and defensive
driving. This combination of driving styles encourages drivers to use their
vehicle in an environmentally efficient way to improve road safety, reduce fuel
consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Obviously, the choice
of vehicle can and does make an enormous difference when it comes to fuel
consumption and C02 emissions but for most of us, adopting an eco-friendly
style of driving will have a positive impact both financially and on the

The benefits of
environmentally efficient driving, is that it reduces the use and demand for
non-renewable fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, helps to improve the overall air
quality and reduces ambient noise levels. The benefits also include an increase
in the life of your engine, tyres, brake pads, plus savings in maintenance and
fuel bills.

There are several ways
to help reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere and, at the
same time, save you time and money through lower fuel consumption. The changes
can be small such as making sure your fuel cap is secure to more beneficial
changes such as better route planning.


By looking well ahead
and anticipating — scanning the road well ahead and easing off the throttle
 in good time — it is possible to avoiding harsh and late braking, which
will immediately save fuel. By keeping the car moving, albeit very slowly, this
conserves the vehicle’s kinetic energy, which in turn saves fuel and reduces

Drive smoothly

Using the steering,
transmission and brakes in a smooth manner rather than harsh, last minute
braking allows the car to decelerate using engine braking, not only is it more
comfortable for you and your passengers but it is more efficient due to energy
loss. Using the cars momentum i.e. travelling downhill with no throttle input
can save a considerable amount of fuel.

Following distance

Driving with an
appropriate distance between you and the car in front is not only safer but has
the potential to be more efficient as it avoids sudden and late braking. The
better your forward visibility and planning, the more time you will have to anticipate
sudden changes.


The faster you go, the
greater the fuel consumption and pollution you will create. Driving at 120 kph
uses up to 9 percent more fuel than at 100kph and up to 15 percent more than at
80kph. Driving at a steady speed and using cruise control where appropriate
during the course of your journey will help to keep fuel consumption to the
minimum. Sudden and abrupt variations in speed eats up copious amounts of fuel
and gives off increased amounts of C02 emissions. 

Traffic calming

Braking sharply,
accelerating, then braking sharply again for the next traffic calming bump will
consume a lot more fuel than gentle riding the bumps at a steady pace. 

Stop start systems

If not fitted with a
“stop start” system and your vehicle is going to be stopped for more than
thirty seconds, and it is safe to do so, engage neutral and switch off your


Being in the correct
gear is very important if you are trying to save fuel, in some cases cruising
in third gear can be 25 percent less efficient than cruising in a higher gear.
Changing into the highest appropriate gear as soon as you can is more
preferable than changing up and down through each gear. Keeping the engine in a
low gear longer than necessary consumes large amounts of fuel.

Try to keep your engine
running at its most efficient level, for the majority of engines this is
between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm.  As a guide you should shift up a gear when
the engine is revving at around 2,500 rpm for petrol engines and 2,000 rpm in a
diesel car. Correctly matching engine speed and road speed, plus using the
gears in the most cost effective way, will reduce fuel consumption and also
reduce wear and tear on the engine and gearbox.

Air Conditioning and
Electrical Equipment

These should be used
wisely and switched off if not necessary. 


Try to find a spot in
the least-congested area and reverse in so that your car is facing outward into
the road or flow of traffic. Not having to back out, stop, and then move
forward is a simple but extremely important fuel saver. Whenever possible, park
on a down slope as the car will use less energy when you leave.

In all likelihood the
above information is very obvious; however, it is beneficial to be reminded of
some of the money saving tips you can easily put in to place when driving for

Till next time –
appreciate, and benefit from reduced petrol prices but never forget that saving
our environment is as important as saving our pocket.

Eugene Herbert

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