More Ways to Save Money: Eco Driving Tips

At the outbreak of World War II, petrol was the first thing to be rationed.

Then in 1942 it was banned completely for private use. After the war ended it was allowed again but still rationed until 1950.

Luckily, we don't have to face this situation, but in the wartime spirit, in the face of rising costs, we've got some tips to save you money.

World War II fuel ration book

So, without further ado, here are some simple eco driving tips to save you money:

The cost of driving just keeps going up, with fuel prices on an ever increasing rise – but there are ways to help keep the cost down by just making a few simple adjustments to your driving habits. In fact, you could save around £300 a year – just think where all that extra money could go instead! Just to give you a further jolt that’s a whopping £18,000 over your driving lifetime, and that’s not even taking into account further hikes in the price of fuel!

Before you set off:

  1. Check the pressure of your tyres regularly (every two weeks is recommended). Low tyre pressures increase rolling resistance – and therefore increased fuel consumption and less environmentally friendly driving. Incorrect pressures can also increase tyre wear and reduce safety.

  2. Get rid of unnecessary loads. This includes removing your roof rack whenever it is not needed - this alone can increase fuel consumption by up to 10% by creating drag. Empty roof boxes are also thirsty gas guzzlers – remove if you are not using them.

  3. Make sure your wheels are properly aligned to reduce fuel usage and avoid uneven wear which can cause you to prematurely replace your tyres. Try to avoid potholes and drive carefully over speed bumps to avoid knocking your wheels out of alignment.

  4. Plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the chance of getting lost and check the traffic news before you go to avoid delays. A good sat nav with traffic information is a worthwhile investment to get you there by the best route, avoid traffic jams and reduce stress.

Whilst driving:

  1. After starting your engine, set off immediately. Modern motors no longer need a warm-up phase. In winter, scrape the ice rather than leave the car running for a long period to clear the windscreen.

  2. Always drive in the highest possible gear for the speed you are doing, but do not let the engine labour.

  3. Drive within the speed limit – the faster you go the more fuel you use. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.

  4. Avoid "racing starts" at traffic lights. Accelerate gradually and move up the gears quickly.

  5. Drive with a little anticipation and with a little more distance to the vehicle ahead of you. This way you can avoid harsh braking. Your vehicle needs much more energy to start rolling again after slowing down and every time you brake you are wasting the fuel you have used to get the car moving. Use engine braking where possible (slowing down through the gears rather than brakes).

  6. Only turn on the air conditioning for a longer time when really needed. In the summer, park in the shade or use a screen shade as this saves money on cooling down the car. But make sure you run the air conditioning occasionally even in winter to keep the unit in good condition.

  7. Heated front/rear windows and demister blowers all use energy so make sure they’re off when you don’t need them.

  8. Note:

    There are also eco tyres that you can get which also improve fuel efficiency through lower rolling resistance. At Continental we have developed a tyre that can save three per cent on fuel and increase tyre mileage by 12 per cent.

    Check out the new EU tyre label values when buying a new tyre. Tyre retailers have to show you the values of the tyres they offer you from November 1 2012.