By Denna Bowman
As families get ready to head off on their summer holidays, the Government is urging motorists they can make savings by ensuring their tyres are in good order and adopting smarter driving techniques.
According to Norman Baker, the Transport Minister, simple actions like driving smoothly, changing gears at the right time and clearing out clutter from the car could save drivers at least 8% on their fuel costs.
Mr Baker said: “For many families, the annual holiday will be the longest trip they make all year. Applying the simple smarter driving techniques could make a real difference to fuel costs. In a single 500 mile trip, you could save £10 – certainly enough for a few extra ice creams to keep the kids happy!”
Useful smarter driving tips for a holiday trip include:
Check your tyre pressures. Remember to check your tyre pressures before leaving home. Underinflated tyres are not only dangerous but also increase fuel consumption. Tyre pressures should be checked regularly throughout the year but this is particularly important if you’re planning a long journey with a heavily loaded car as this will put additional stress on your tyres.
Watch your speed. Fuel consumption increases dramatically with speed: At 85mph a car uses approximately 25% more fuel than at 70mph, and at 70mph approximately 10% more than at 60mph. So try to leave plenty of time for your journey, consider breaking a long journey overnight, and take plenty of on-board entertainment for the kids to reduce the pressure to arrive quickly.
Consider how you use roof racks and roof boxes. At motorway speeds a roof box can increase fuel consumption by around 25%. So if you’re using a roof box it’s particularly important to try to keep your speed down. And when you reach your destination consider taking the box off if you’re not going to need it until your return journey.
Avoid congestion. Traffic jams may leave you fuming and will also increase your fuel consumption. So plan your journey well and perhaps avoid travelling at times when traffic is likely to be particularly heavy, such as Friday afternoons or the first day of the school holiday.