Using eco friendly driving methods today is a significant way of reducing motoring costs. The cost of running a car increasing and a litre of fuel currently at an average of £1.25 for diesel and £1.27 for unleaded, and the ever increasing cost of domestic fuels in the home, never has there been a time where Eco Friendly Driving Techniques and the savings to be made from it (up to 15%) are more relevant.
Eco Friendly Driving became part of the U.K. driving test in 2008 to ensure new drivers know how to drive in an economical and fuel efficient way. This mainly involves looking well ahead, good anticipation skills, smooth braking and accelerating techniques, correctly matching engine speed and road speed plus using the gears in the most cost effective way. When done correctly, this method of driving will not only reduce fuel consumption but also reduce wear and tear on the vehicle.
Recent statistics from the Department of Transport show eco friendly driving techniques can save up to 15% in fuel usage and significantly reduce exhaust emissions. For professional drivers and companies with fleet and/or distribution costs, these saving add up to several hundreds of pounds every year.
Driving instructors at Kinghams Driving School integrate all these fuel saving techniques into their driving lessons, but for people who passed the driving test some time ago and are unfamiliar with these techniques, the following tips may be useful.
Eco Friendly Driving Tips
Look well ahead, plan your approaches to hazards early. When slowing down ease off the gas in good time and spread out your braking. This reduces wear and tear on the car, reduces the amount of fuel used, is more comfortable for your passengers and give more time for following traffic to react.
Slow down then change down – block changing from 4th to 2nd gear or 4th to 1st is preferable than changing down through each gear.
Leaving more space with the car in front gives you more reaction time and a greater distance over which to spread out your braking if the car in front stops suddenly. Remember the Two Second Rule?
Accelerate smoothly avoiding over revving the vehicle. The faster you speed up the more fuel is used.
Change gear at an appropriate time. Many modern cars have a shift light on the dash board that comes on to show the best time to change gear, but generally in a petrol car the gear should be changes when the revs get to about 2500 RPM, and in a diesel car, change gear when the revs get to about 2000 RPM.
It wastes fuel if you wait for the engine to warm up before driving away.
Make sure your car isn’t loaded up with unnecessary heavy items and any external storage or roof rack is removed is this offers wind resistance and increases drag.
Check tyre pressures every week and carry out a visual check at the start of every journey to see if they appear under inflated. Low tyre air pressure causes more rolling resistance and increases fuel consumption as a result. It also weakens the tyre over time which may become dangerous.
On long journeys, the most fuel efficient speed in between 55 – 60 MPH!!
If you are stopped in traffic for any length of time – turn off your engine
Avoid unnecessary coasting i.e. putting clutch down too early causing the car to free wheel. This uses more fuel than easing off the gas whilst remaining in gear.
Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by 15%.
Look into purchasing a fuel efficient car.
If you wish to purchase a new or nearly new car you can find out about emissions at the Vehicle Certification Agency which holds a database of cars, economy and C0 2 emissions information. But what options are there to save your pocket and the environment?
Eco Friendly Motor Vehicles
As eco friendly driving and reduced emissions is becoming more popular and necessary, a range of different car technologies and types of fuel are being introduced. What are the basic options?
Diesel engines give more MPG (Miles Per Gallon) and produce much less CO 2 than petrol engines but still produce harmful emissions – sulphur being one of the main ones. If you are opting for a new diesel car, then choose one with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) which reduces the black soot emissions that we often see (and smell).
Bio-Diesel is a oil based fuel derived from plants, used cooking oil or coffee grounds for example. Since 2010, all new diesel cars can run on a mixture of 5% treated bio-diesel and 95% conventional diesel (DERV), which stands for Diesel Engine Road Vehicle. Using more than 5% bio-diesel in a vehicle may invalidate the manufacturers warranty and using untreated bio-diesel may clog up and damage an engine.
Hybrid Motor Vehicles run on a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor and battery which is charged up as you driving along. Engines are smaller in a Hybrid car and are just powerful enough to keep the car moving once a higher constant speed has been achieved. The batteries are used when the most power is needed, i.e. when accelerating. In conventional cars it is during acceleration and changes in speed that most fuel is used.
Electric Vehicles have a range of approximately 50 miles, a top speed of about 50 miles per hour, have no emissions and do not require to pay road tax duty. Electric cars take between 3 and 8 hours to charge up depending on the specification of the battery and the voltage of the charger outlets. New improved designs are being developed and the new Telsa Model S takes only 45 minutes to recharge making it a viable for driving around town.
Finally, if you have any questions or want advice about eco friendly driving, driving lessons, the theory test, refresher training, driving instructor training or anything else, just visit Kinghams Driving school or phone Steve Kingham on 07749 621632.