Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel
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With petrol and diesel prices remaining fairly high, experts have urged drivers to monitor their fuel economy and cut their fuel consumption, simply by checking their tyres. The latest RAC Fuel Watch indicates that motorists will have to pay 162.32p per litre of unleaded and 180.45p per litre of diesel on average.
According to Kwik Fit, tyres account for up to 20 percent of a car’s fuel consumption, so it’s important to choose the right ones.
Tyres typically lose air naturally, at a rate of up to two PSI (pound per square inch) every month.
Because of this, drivers are urged to check their tyre pressure regularly, as it can help preserve the fuel for as long as possible.
Ensuring the air in the tyres is topped up not only prolongs the life of the tread but also improves fuel efficiency as there is less rolling resistance on the road.
If the tyres are even slightly distorted due to incorrect tyre pressure, drivers will be using more fuel to keep the car running smoothly.
This is because of the added friction while driving that comes from a misshapen tyre.
Drivers can check their tyre tread very easily with a 20p coin.
Current UK law states that tyre tread on cars must be at a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference.
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Drivers should place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of the tyre.
If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then the tread is above the legal limit.
If the coin’s outer band is visible, then the tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a qualified tyre professional.
When taking the test, drivers need to remember to check at least three locations around each tyre.
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Since the test is so quick and easy, motorists are urged to check their tyres at least once a month.
Another study from the US-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that every one percent decrease in tyre pressure correlated to a 0.3 percent reduction in fuel economy.
All new tyres purchased in the UK come with an EU Tyre Label, which is there to help drivers make an informed choice when choosing a new tyre.
Tyres are rated in three categories: fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise.
Fuel efficiency is rated on a scale from A to F, with an A-rating being the best result possible.
These tyres require less energy to roll and therefore burn less fuel.
So, if motorists want new tyres with good fuel economy, Kwik Fit advises people to look to the EU Tyre Label for guidance.
Drivers also face fines of up to £10,000 for not having the correct legal tyre tread depth.
If stopped by the police and the tyres are found to be illegal, motorists could be hit with three penalty points and be fined up to £2,500 per illegal tyre.
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