Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel
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The prices of both petrol and diesel remain fairly high ahead of autumn and winter. The latest RAC Fuel Watch indicates that motorists will have to pay 165.75p per litre of unleaded and 181.93p per litre of diesel on average.
With that in mind, drivers have been told to drive gently when the car is cold in order to see those benefits.
The motoring experts at RAC said that cars are at their least efficient when they are cold.
They said: “If you drive quickly straight from start-up, you are redoubling the wasted fuel, and also wearing out the engine more quickly in the process.
“Show some mechanical sympathy and you’ll immediately start saving money.”
The experts continued: “If you like the cabin to feel warm on a cold day, it might be worth investing in a car with heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
“Remember to turn them off when you’ve warmed up, as they will increase your fuel consumption when switched on.”
Making one round trip rather than several short trips is also much more efficient.
Once the engine is warm it will operate at its most efficient whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same.
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Keeping the car moving at the right speed is also essential to fuel economy, RAC said.
However, they stressed that this will often depend on traffic conditions and what is happening on the road ahead, but slowing down and having to accelerate again naturally uses more fuel.
The experts added: “The best advice is to drive as smoothly as possible, gently using the steering, accelerator, and brakes.
“When slowing down, it’s important to remain in gear as the fuel cut-off switch in a fuel injection engine is then activated, meaning virtually no fuel is used while braking.”
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Motorists should also try to anticipate what might happen in front of them.
The experts said: “This way you’ll see the traffic lights on red meaning you can ease back on the accelerator or slow down naturally and potentially keep moving as opposed to coming to a stop.”
Additionally, the experts pointed out that driving up hills destroys fuel economy.
“When you spot a hill coming try to accelerate a little before you reach it, then ease off as you drive up.
“The extra momentum should be enough to minimise additional fuel consumption,” they commented.
Rebecca Jackson, a professional racing driver who broke the world record for the most countries visited on a single tank of fuel, added to RAC’s comments: “To set any kind of fuel efficiency world record you have to be looking ahead as much as possible to pre-empt oncoming hazards.
“This is a good general driving habit but it was absolutely crucial for us.”
She continued: “It’s all about keeping moving and not losing momentum.
“Accelerating from being stopped is very costly in fuel consumption terms and so is going up any steep incline.”
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