Efficient driving tips
Racing legend Steve Richards shows you how to save money and the environment by driving more efficiently.
Having correct tyre pressure
Under-inflated tyres are not only potentially dangerous, they also increase the rolling resistance between the vehicle’s tyres and the road, meaning the engine has to work harder and therefore consume more fuel.
Keeping your vehicle fully maintained
A badly maintained vehicle is unlikely to perform as it’s designed to. Problems such as partially blocked filters, poor oil performance and under-performing emissions control systems prevent your engine from functioning properly. This can lead to increased fuel consumption and higher emissions.
Removing external fixtures
External fixings such as roof boxes, rails and bike racks should be removed when not in use. They change the air flow over the vehicle and increase its aerodynamic drag. This means that extra power is needed from your engine, increasing fuel consumption and emissions.
Using the fan to keep cool
Avoid driving with the windows open at speeds of over 50 kilometres per hour as this increases the car’s aerodynamic drag. To reduce engine workload and therefore fuel consumption, close your windows and turn on the fan, only using the air conditioning when it's really necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Removing unnecessary weight
Carrying unnecessary weight in the boot or vehicle will make the engine work harder when accelerating. This particularly affects stop – start driving. Removing this load will reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions.
Reducing stop – start driving
The engine has to work harder when accelerating and every time the brakes are used, for instance during stop – start driving, this energy is lost as heat. Accelerating more smoothly and lifting off the accelerator earlier will improve fuel economy.
Stopping excess idling
Unnecessary idling will consume fuel and produce emissions even while you're stationary. If you're idle for several minutes and it's safe to do so, switch off your engine to stop fuel consumption and emissions.
Avoiding hard acceleration
Accelerating hard and driving at high speeds will make the engine consume more fuel. This is because under high loads and high speeds the engine operates less efficiently. Accelerating more steadily to the desired speed and avoiding high engine revs by changing into a higher gear earlier will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Avoiding short journeys
Vehicles use more fuel and have higher emissions during short journeys because engines use more fuel than normal until they warm up. The catalytic converter in the exhaust, which reduces harmful emissions, is also less efficient when cold.