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Eco-Driving Habits Could Save Drivers 20% On Fuel

A new campaign started a few days ago by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is encouraging motorists in the UK to become more eco-friendly drivers. According to the society, businesses would be able to save up to 20% on fuel expenditures from their fleets and this could potentially save UK motorists £6.8 billion ($10.2 billion) a year.

eco driving

Image: eco driving via Shutterstock

It is really not surprising that if drivers would use more efficient driving techniques and change driving habits they could potentially save on fuel. The goal of the campaign is simply to help drivers obtain the official miles per gallon (MPG) that is recorded in laboratory testing by automakers.

The campaign encourages drivers to service vehicles regularly, use air conditioning only when needed, and even attend a driving efficiency course.

According to British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) chief executive, Gerry Keaney, “UK companies operate some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on our roads, but many of these cars and vans are not being used to their full carbon reduction potential due to the way they are driven. By encouraging staff to adopt a more efficient driving style, firms can cut carbon emissions and save on their fuel costs. It is a no-brainer.”

While trying to achieve a laboratory-tested MPG that is set by the automakers is a notable goal, it may not be realistic. During an analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), it was concluded that the gap between the laboratory-tested MPG and the real-world MPG increased to 25 % in 2011 from 10% in 2001.

“A spokesman for SMMT acknowledged that while it might be very tough to meet the official MPG figure of a car, expert websites such as What Car? and Honest John have shown drivers could improve efficiency by 13-17 percent by embracing green driving best practices.”

Here is some tips to help with fuel efficiency:

  1. Plan your trips. Keep lists of needs that will require a trip and try to accomplish multiple objectives with each.
  2. Lighten your load. Get the lightest car that will serve your needs. Weight is one of the biggest causes for loss of kinetic energy in non hybrid cars.
  3. When you fill up with gas, fill up halfway and try to keep your tank above one-quarter full. If your fuel runs low,you could put stress on the fuel pump. 10 gallons adds 60 pounds of weight
  4. Slow down. The faster you move, the harder your engine has to work to push through the wind. Speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 33%.
  5. Use cruise control. In most situations, using your cruise control reduces fuel consumption by maintaining a constant speed.
  6. Accelerate smoothly with moderate throttle. Engines are most efficient with moderately high air flow (throttle) and at revolutions per minute (RPM)s up to their power peak (for small to mid-sized engines this is generally somewhere between 4k to 5k RPM).
  7. Plan your route carefully. Take the route with the fewest stops and turns and least traffic.
  8. Avoid braking wherever possible. Braking wastes energy from fuel that you have already burned, and accelerating after braking consumes more fuel than driving at a constant speed.
  9. Set your tires to the proper inflation. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%.
  10. Avoid excessive idling. Idling a vehicle wastes a significant amount of fuel.

While achieving the MPG set by a laboratory environment is difficult to obtain in a real-world environment, it is still possible to achieve better fuel efficiency by adopting a more fuel efficient driving style and servicing your vehicle regularly, among other things.

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