A recent report by the RAC has revealed that poor driving techniques are not only damaging the environment, but are also costing motorists up to £100 per year in wasted fuel. A few common misconceptions about driving techniques coupled with slovenly maintenance regimes, such as driving on under-inflated tyres, contribute to the waste of £2.2 billion of fuel every year.
Despite the spread of satellite navigation systems we still drive an unnecessary five billion miles each year while lost. This fact, combined with bad journey planning, wastes enough fuel to fill 267 Olympic sized swimming pools.
The RAC’s research reveals that 60 percent of drivers are unaware that changing gear when revs are high reduces fuel consumption, and a further 40 percent think that driving under 45mph saves fuel. On the maintenance front, 10 percent of drivers admit that they check their tyre pressure less than once a year, and 77 percent are unaware that under-inflated increase fuel consumption.
According to the RAC, drivers are not clear as to which driving practices can save fuel. A tenth of motorists believe, wrongly, that regular braking will reduce fuel consumption. Almost a sixth of drivers think that warming up the engine prior to a journey cuts down on the use of fuel, and over a quarter are not aware that they can reduce fuel use by simply switching off their air-conditioning system.
David Bizley, RAC’s Technical Director commented, “With fuel prices at a record high, adopting eco driving techniques is an easy way for consumers to reduce their fuel consumption to help purses, wallets and the environment. We hope that by raising awareness of the simple changes motorists can make to their driving style, they will be able to absorb some of the increasing cost of fuel through their own driving habits.”
The RAC has produced the following eight check-points to help improve fuel efficiency and reduce cars’ impact on the environment:
1) Pump up to cut down: under inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means engines have to work harder, so more fuel is used and more CO2 emissions are produced (the owner handbook will advise the correct pressure)
2) Less clutter means less CO2: clutter in boots add weight and engines must work harder to transport it, so removing it can reduce the engine’s workload and cut CO2 emissions (also remove roof boxes or rails when not in use the drag caused increases fuel consumption )
3) Driving at an appropriate speed reduces CO2: not only does staying at or within the speed limit increase driver safety, it also reduces CO2 emissions and saves money on fuel costs
4) Less stopping and starting means less CO2: anticipating traffic flow will reduce fuel consumption
5) Over-revving accelerates emissions: modern car engines are designed to be efficient from the moment they are switched on, so revving up like a Formula 1 car in pole position while standing still only wastes fuel and increases engine wear
6) Idling is wasting fuel: if you’re likely to be at a standstill for more than three minutes, simply switch off the engine.
7) Shop around: Use a fuel comparison website to find the best priced fuel in your region
8) Don’t get lost: don’t waste fuel by going the wrong way – plan route before leaving with RAC Route Planner:
In summary, according to the RAC, motorists could save up to 8 percent of their annual fuel bill by changing their driving habits. Their figure of £100 is based on fuel prices of £1.03 for petrol and £1.07 for diesel. Their research was carried out by market research specialists Tickbox, who surveyed 1198 motorists between the 11th and 18th February 1980.