A CAR IS A NECCESSITY NOT A LUXURY: For the majority of adults in Ireland, you will need a car to get to work, visit friends and family, and get to wherever you need to be – Here are some helpful ways to cut your bills and keep your vehicle in great condition.
RUNNING COSTS: .In the Ireland this year, there has been the largest increase in the price of petrol and diesel on record – due largely to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, and the subsequent fall out across the world. A website like PUMPS.IE keeps track of the latest prices, and is a useful tool for all drivers.
FUEL SAVING TIPS:
1. Make sure you maintain your vehicle
Regular maintenance and servicing improves the efficiency of your vehicle, and therefore can improve your fuel consumption. It’s particularly important to make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as indicated in your owner’s manual as underinflated and overinflated tyres both adversely affect fuel economy. Tyre pressures will vary depending on the load you are carrying: if you have four passengers and luggage then you will need your tyres inflated to the maximum recommended pressures.
2. Gentle right foot: highest gear possible within the speed limit
Excessive speed is the biggest fuel-guzzling factor so having a light right foot and ensuring all acceleration is gentle is very important to fuel-efficient driving.
Of course you will always have to accelerate a number of times on a journey, but that doesn't mean you have to pull away like you're on the starting line at Mondello Park!
Probably the biggest secret to achieving high mpg is driving in the highest possible gear for your vehicle while keeping within the speed limit. The best advice in urban areas is to change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible, probably at around 2000rpm. Remember: the faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses.
3. Anticipate: try not to lose momentum
In line with the above point, keeping the car moving at the right speed is essential to fuel economy. Obviously, this depends on traffic conditions and what’s happening on the road ahead, but slowing down and having to accelerate again naturally uses more fuel.
The best advice is to drive as smoothly as possible, gently using the steering, accelerator and brakes. When slowing down, it’s important to remain in gear as the fuel cut-off switch in a fuel injection engine is then activated, meaning virtually no fuel is used while braking.
Try to anticipate what’s going to happen in front of you by looking well ahead. This way you’ll see the traffic lights on red meaning you can ease back on the accelerator or slow down naturally and potentially keep moving as opposed to coming to a stop.
Driving up hills destroys fuel economy. When you spot a hill coming try to accelerate a little before you reach it, then ease off as you drive up. The extra momentum should be enough to minimise additional fuel consumption.
4. Does cruise control use more fuel?
Cruise control only aids fuel economy when driving on a constant flat surface, hence why it is usually best reserved for motorway driving. One of the keys to saving fuel is driving at a constant speed, cruise control can do this effectively on flat surfaces, making your driving as fuel efficient as possible by negating unnecessary acceleration.
However, if you were to use your cruise control regularly, not on flat roads, you would encounter problems that would increase your fuel consumption.
This is because your cruise control would be slower to react to gradient changes, meaning when reaching the brow of a hill – at which point you would normally take your foot off the accelerator to maintain more of a constant speed when descending – your cruise control will keep the power on for a little longer as it’s unable to see the gradient change in front of you. Driving in this way regularly would lead to worse fuel consumption. Interestingly, the most fuel-efficient roads in the country are not quiet extra-urban dual carriageways or 30Kph city streets, they are motorways. This is where you can leave the car in top gear and gently cruise along, using minimal fuel.
5. Don’t get dragged down
Don’t leave your roof bars and roof box on because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the ‘drag’ effect. This is increased the faster you drive. According to the Energy Saving Trust in the UK an empty roof rack adds 16% drag when driving at 75mph. At the same speed a roof box adds 39%, making your vehicle much less fuel efficient. Even those little flags you can affix to your vehicle to show support for your football team during the Championship can decrease your mpg! Driving with an open window also has a similar effect.
6. Does the AC and heat use fuel?
Yes, it does. Don’t use your air conditioning unless you really have to as it uses engine power and therefore increases fuel consumption.This goes for heat as well as cooling, so try to dress for the weather, even inside your car, if fuel efficiency is a big concern.
7. Combine journeys: a warm engine is more efficient
Consider making one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warm it will operate at its most efficient whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same
8. Lighten the load
While this isn’t going to make the biggest difference to your mpg figures it stands to reason that the heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it will use.
For that reason, don’t keep unnecessary items in your boot as they all add weight to your vehicle, which is not going to help your fuel economy in the long run.
The Top Service Team