By Denna Bowman
UK motorists could save nearly £300 a year by adopting simple eco-driving techniques, according to research by Continental Tyres.
The tyres manufacturer claims that this could add up to a total nationwide saving of over £1 billion a year or the equivalent of a staggering £18,000 over the driving lifetime of a British motorist.
The research found that despite the fact that nearly 9 in 10 people are concerned about the rising cost of fuel, 40 per cent of us admit to being completely clueless when it comes to eco driving, which if used can save up to 20 per cent on fuel costs.
Tim Bailey, driving expert at Continental Tyres, said: “As fuel costs continue to rise, affordable motoring is a big concern. By making minor alterations to your driving technique and doing regular basic checks such as tyre pressure, motorists can save hundreds of pounds a year.
“Our research also discovered that over two thirds of motorists are unaware that tyres are now made that improve fuel efficiency through lower rolling resistance. At Continental we have developed a new tyre, the ContiEcoContact 5, tyre that can save three per cent on fuel and increase tyre mileage by 12 per cent.”
The survey also revealed that 50 per cent of people fear that further fuel increases will force them off the roads even though they rely on driving to get to work.
In terms of car-buying habits, 56 per cent now rate the environmental performance on a vehicle as an important consideration when buying a new car. 78 per cent would consider buying a hybrid car, 71 per cent a bio-diesel and 61 per cent would think about purchasing an electric car.
Continental Tyres eco driving tips:
Before you set off:
· Check the pressure of your tyres regularly (every two weeks is recommended). The right tyre pressure means less rolling resistance – and therefore reduced fuel consumption and more environmentally friendly driving. Incorrect pressures can also increase tyre wear and reduced safety.
· 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% higher. Empty roof boxes are also thirsty gas guzzlers – remove if you are not using them.
· Think about whether a vehicle that you mainly use around town needs the spare tyre – a compressor with a tyre sealant like the ContiComfortKit is far lighter and saves room.
· Make sure your tyres are properly aligned to reduce fuel usage and avoid uneven wear which can cause you to prematurely replace your tyres.
· Plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the chance of getting lost and check the traffic news before you go to avoid delays.
· 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.
· Always drive in the highest possible gear for the speed you are doing, but do not let the engine labour.
· 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.
· Avoid “racing starts” at traffic lights. Accelerate gradually and move up the gears quickly.
· 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.
· Only turn on the air conditioning when really needed. In the summer, park in the shade or use a screen shade as this saves money on cooling down the car.
· Heated front/rear windows and demister blowers all use energy so make sure they’re off when you don’t need them.