Fuel's Gold - some tips from the IAM on saving fuel

If you are increasingly concerned about petrol costs after the recent price rises, ask yourself these questions next time you are driving.  What is the delay time between lifting off the accelerator and applying the brake? And what gears are you using?

You can improve fuel consumption and gain the environmental benefits of advanced driving by lifting off the accelerator earlier on your approach to traffic lights etc, and therefore reducing your braking at the end, because you have already lost speed.

Acceleration sense is about how you vary your foot pressure on the accelerator pedal so you don’t have to brake as often or as hard.

Surprisingly to some, one of the pillars of fuel efficient driving is accelerating briskly to a safe cruising speed and then taking the highest gear.

The longer you can avoid braking, the more you are using the momentum you’ve built up. It means thinking a bit further ahead of where you are. Most drivers tend to go straight from accelerator to brake – and that is when fuel consumption suffers.

Plan your arrival at roundabouts so that you decelerate for a longer period in a higher gear.  That way you may not have to stop by allowing other traffic to clear before you get there.

And lastly, think long and hard about that overtake. Not only do you have to be entirely sure you can get past safely (important, to put it mildly) there is also the possibility that you are not gaining much in journey time. Advanced driving is all about thinking ahead, sometimes further than you can see.

2 May 2008 Staff

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