It’s a fact of life that as your car ages the cost of keeping it running increases. For a start your maintenance costs are bound to increase as you car firsts goes out of warranty, and a succession of parts then require replacement. Your fuel costs are also bound to increase as your car’s engine becomes less efficient and the price of petrol is driven upwards by inflation.
Fortunately, it is possible to keep your fuel bill under control. The following smart driving tips will not only burn up less fuel but also reduce wear and tear on your car, reducing maintenance costs over its lifespan.
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1. Reduce drag
Anything that causes drag while your car is moving will increase its fuel consumption. When buying a car look for one with an aerodynamic design which will reduce drag – and stay away from boxy designs that will maximize it. Also avoid cosmetic roof racks and anything else that will snag the air rushing past your car. If you’re stuck with the car you have, avoid driving with open windows.
2. Reduce friction
Road friction also makes your car work harder. The easiest way to avoid this is to keep your tyres at the correct pressure as per manufacturer specifications. Tyres that are under-pressured expose more of the tyre surface to the road, thereby increasing friction and using up more fuel.
If you’ve gotten into the habit of driving around with a bunch of heavy stuff in your car that you can’t be bothered to remove, you’re paying for the privilege of carting it around. Reducing your car’s weight is a simple way to reduce your fuel usage while adding to it will have the opposite effect.
4. Understand inclines
Avoid accelerating your vehicle once you are driving up an incline, and only use your accelerator to maintain speed while on the incline. Conversely, you’ll use less fuel to accelerate your vehicle to the desired speed when you are travelling down an incline. So, where possible get your car up to cruising speed on the way down an incline.
5. Go easy on the accelerator
Flooring the accelerator is a bad idea for several reasons, one of which is that revving your engine hard burns up more fuel. Revving your engine while stationary is a pointless waste of petrol and you also want to avoid sudden spikes in acceleration while driving. Aim at driving in the highest possible gear – this will require your engine to do less work without affecting your speed.
6. Avoid hard braking
Braking sooner rather than later can reduce the number of times you have to stop your vehicle on each trip you take. To use a simple example, slowing down when you see a red traffic light ahead may allow you to reach the traffic light when it changes colour and thereby avoid stopping. Every time you bring your car to a complete stop, you have to accelerate through your lower gears to get it back up to your cruising speed, which uses more fuel. Slow down so you don’t have to stop.
7. Cruise control
Open road driving is more fuel efficient than stop-start city driving. And using cruise control on the open road is more fuel efficient than driving without it for the same reason. Decelerating and accelerating your vehicle uses more petrol than maintaining a steady speed, and on the open road cruise control eliminates subtle petrol-draining acceleration and deceleration, saving you money.
Smart driving doesn’t just save fuel, it saves lives. UbiCar is the telematics app that tracks and scores your driving behaviour and rewards you for smarter driving.