Following simple car maintenance and driving tips, like properly inflating tyres and switching the engine off in traffic jams, can save car owners up to £250 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
And if every motorist drove with tyres at the right pressure and made other efforts to improve their fuel economy, the Trust claims the UK could reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 10 million tonnes every year.
Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Trust, said: “Smarter driving means driving more efficiently, which in turn can lead to reducing fuel usage by an average 15 per cent and a typical annual saving of between £200 and £250 per person.
“If everyone started driving smarter we as a nation would save ourselves £5 billion and at times like these that’s not to be sniffed at.”
The Trust’s top tips for ‘smarter driving’ include:
- Tyres: Check your tyre pressure regularly – under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
- Revs: Change up before 2,500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel).
- Drive smoothly: Anticipate road conditions and drive smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking. This saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
- Air con: Use air conditioning sparingly as it significantly increases fuel consumption. The most efficient speed depends upon the car in question but is typically around 45 – 50mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
- Don’t warm the engine: Drive away immediately when starting from cold – idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and causes rapid engine wear.
- Accessories: Roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect the car’s aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remove them when not in use.
- Avoid short journeys: A cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
- Switch the engine off: If you’re stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two.