Save money with our eco-driving advice
Fuel consumption has a lot to do with the car you buy, but whatever you drive there are things you can do to save money and reduce energy use, CO2 emissions and pollution.
These eco-driving tips are the motoring equivalent of insulating the hot water tank, fitting low-energy bulbs and not leaving the television on standby.
They are simple ideas that really will make a difference.
When 50 AA employees took part in an eco-driving experiment with Auto Express magazine they saved an average 10% on their weekly fuel bills, with the best achieving an incredible 33% saving.
Each drove normally for the first week and then applied our advice (below) to see how much they could save in the second week...
You might be tempted to switch off the engine evey time you stop, after all many cars now have automatic stop-start systems that do just that, but is switching off manually the best thing for your wallet or the environment?
Automatic stop-start systems have several important features:
As a general guide, for a warm car in daylight conditions in mild weather, turning the engine off for a wait of around a minute or more will probably save fuel/CO2 – assuming it’s safe to be without indicators and you can live with the interruption to the radio and heating/ventilation system.
A cold engine, cold weather, or additional electrical loads will all extend the period you’d have to be stationary to get a benefit from switching off.
Diesel vehicles should not be turned off during DPF regeneration as failed DPF regenerations causes oil dilution and blocked DPFs.
Although it used to be quite a common practice to save fuel, rolling downhill or approaching a junction with the car out of gear is inadvisable because the driver doesn't have full control of the vehicle
With changes in vehicle fuel systems coasting won't save you fuel these days either.
Why not see how much you can improve on your current average fuel consumption or the 'official', manufacturer's figure by following our advice?
If your car has an onboard computer that records fuel economy (miles per gallon / MPG), take a note of the overall average fuel consumption you're getting now and then see how much you can improve it by. It should be possible to reset the computer so it starts recording a new average MPG.
With no onboard computer, you'll first need to find out the official, manufacturer quoted fuel consumption for your car (it's the official 'combined' figure that you want) or establish a baseline average fuel consumption for your current driving style using the steps below.
Calculate average fuel consumption over any period by following these steps:
(9 October 2014)