10 fuel-saving tricks for greener driving

Green driving – or ‘hyper miling’ – is about travelling as far as you can on one tank of petrol. Use these tips to increase your mpg and chop around 10% off your petrol bills. 

1. Drive smoothly

If you see a traffic light, roundabout or corner up ahead, don't hit the accelerator and then brake just before you reach it. Speed up and slow down gradually, and you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 30%

2. Get the right gear

A car travelling at 37mph in third gear uses a quarter more fuel than in fifth gear. Shift to a higher gear at 2,500 rpm for petrol cars, and 2,000 rpm for diesel.

3. Stick to speed limits

At high speeds, your car's fuel efficiency plummets. Driving at 80 burns through about 25% more fuel than at 70. Slow down a bit to make big savings (and stay on the right side of the law).

4. Join a car club

Some car clubs have allocated parking bays; some just let you drop the car anywhere. Photo: DriveNow

Some car clubs have allocated parking bays; some just let you drop the car anywhere. Photo: DriveNow

If you only drive a bit, you could join a car club, which gives you access to a shared car parked nearby, usually booked by the half-hour. Each car club vehicle on the road represents a reduction of 26 privately owned vehicles. And 25% of car club members have ditched their own motor since joining.

5. Shed some baggage

The heavier, and more air resistant your car, the more petrol it uses. So take anything you don't need out of the boot (except the spare tyre – you never know when that'll come in handy), and lose the roof rack if you can.

6. Keep up the pressure

You can improve fuel consumption by about 2% if you check your tyres regularly, and keep them at the right pressure. Topped-up tyres are safer too.

7. Switch off the air con at low speeds

Running any of the onboard electrics increases your fuel consumption a bit, but air con is one of the biggest culprits. Wind down a window to stay cool at low speeds, but don't be afraid to switch back to air con on the motorway, where the extra drag of an open window outweighs the electricity savings. For extra points, remember to switch off your demisters, blowers and headlights when you're not using them.

8. Look after your car

A tired, underserviced engine can use 10% more fuel, so have your car serviced regularly. Keeping it in good nick will make it last longer too. Dirty air filters can also seriously reduce your fuel economy, so remember to change them once in a while.

9. Plan your journey

Getting lost or stuck in traffic is the easiest way to waste petrol, so make sure you have a map or satnav handy, and avoid rush hour traffic and roadworks when you can.

10. Liftshare!

Every day there are 10 million empty car seats on our roads. Sharing your journey to work could save you hundreds of pounds a year, take a big chunk out of your carbon footprint, and help to ease congestion in your town. 

Photo: Wallace_Lan, Creative Commons