Making small tweaks to your driving technique, maintaining your car and savvy buying at the pumps can make a difference to your pocket, writes Geraldine Herbert
- A good clean up of the car will reduce weight and conserve fuel so remove all non-essential items, and don’t forget to include the boot. By simply removing a roof box you can save as much as 20% on fuel over a year.
- Check tyre pressure is at optimum level regularly as the lower the tyre pressure the more fuel consumed, plus low pressure will shorten the life of your tyres.
- Plan ahead: anticipate stop signs and lights; the more time and space you gain, the better your fuel economy will be.
- Service your car regularly: a properly maintained engine can improve economy by up to 4%.
- When you're shopping for a new car, fuel efficiency should be a key consideration.
- Avoid travelling during rush hour: try to avoid starting, stopping and idling. Experiment with departure times to see where you can save.
- Always buy fuel in terms of litres: if you simply buy €20 worth of fuel it will be hard to decide where the best value is so shop around for the best price per litre.
- Don't always use the same garage out of habit. Watch for low fuel prices in the area but don't waste fuel driving to a distant filling station.
- One of the easiest and most effective ways to conserve fuel is to change driving styles. Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel than safe driving; ideally drive at a constant speed and in the highest gear.
- Driving just 8 km/h over the speed limit can affect fuel consumption by 23%; the most fuel efficient speed on primary routes is 75-80 km/h, so staying within the speed limit can save you money.
- Don't rev the engine! Revving the engine whilst stationary does nothing except waste fuel.
- When travelling on the motorway using the air con is the most efficient way to stay cool in the car but when pottering around at low speeds an open window will save your fuel.
- Use cruise control when on long motorway trips as you save fuel by maintaining a consistent speed. Remember to disable it when you're driving on wet roads or in the rain, however.
- Consolidate your shopping trips and use the car prudently. The more you drive, the more fuel you use, especially on short trips, so find one location where you can take care of banking, grocery shopping and other sundries.
- Use your handbrake on hills. Riding the clutch wastes fuel and dramatically reduces the life of the clutch.
Geraldine Herbert has been a motoring journalist for over fifteen years and is Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the Women’s World Car of the Year, Geraldine is also a contributor to Good Housekeeping magazine and a regular commentator on consumer and motoring matters on RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio.