Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Driving Culture

Seems as though we can’t win with those fuel prices these days. They just seem to be going up and up. Unfortunately we don’t have much control over fuel prices, unless we all just decide to stop using our cars, which could be a fun idea, but I can’t see that happening. The one thing we have control over is our fuel usage through new driving culture. Sometimes through efficient driving you can manage to compensate for that increase in price as well as being a more responsible citizen to your environment.

To be honest with you I never paid any attention to Eco-driving. I first came across it from my uncle who is a driving instructor. He usually promotes this kind of driving to his students making them aware of how to become an Eco-conscious driver. Applying a new driving strategy can make a big difference to your monthly spending.

Usually with €72 worth of petrol I would normally do around 445 miles (716 km). With the same amount of fuel after applying eco-driving techniques for the first time I managed to increase mileage to 470 (756 km). Over time once I got use to eco-driving I managed to increase performance to 504 miles (811 km). I gain on average around another 60miles (95 km). So as you can see that is quite a result, and what is more important, it works. How did I manage this?

1. 3000 RPM. Exceeding this limit results in substantial fuel being consumed in your engine. Keep an eye on it.

2. Start with 2nd gear. Instead of starting in 1st gear when you are stationery, start in 2nd gear. You will notice that in 1st gear your car has a faster acceleration, this consumes more fuel.

3. Shifting gears. Try shifting gears from 2nd to 4th or 3rd to 5th instead of changing gears in order.

4. Air-conditioning. Using the air-conditioning in the car is another king consumer of fuel. Try to limit the use of this. If you are heading out to the beach or going somewhere where you will not be judged for being a little sweaty then stick it out.

5. Keeping windows closed. Having open windows prevents the car from riding smoothly. Leaving them closed your car has less resistance and results in more efficiency.

6. Don’t be in a hurry. It’s always good to leave earlier to go somewhere. You will find that being in a rush forces you to drive faster resulting in more fuel being consumed. When you give yourself ample time you drive at a slower pace.

7. Planning a journey. If you are planning a long journey make sure you know the route you’re going to take. Make sure you take the shortest route, avoid detours. This needs careful planning beforehand.

8. Short journeys. If you can help yourself from not using the car for short journeys then try it. If you can walk it then avoid using your car, if you have public transport then try to use it.

9. Heavy Loads. Avoid driving around with heavy loads in your car. This just uses up more fuel.

10. Tire condition. Ensure your tires are in sound condition. Slight irregularities in your tires may result in inefficiencies. Also check your tire pressure often to make sure they are balanced.

11. Full tank. I have found that you gain more efficiency when you have a full tank as opposed to for example when filling the tank half way or quarter of the way. So I always make sure I fill the tank up fully. You will save more in the long run.

12. Slowing down. Never slow down using your gears, use your brakes and then slowly drop gear.

If you want to be totally efficient then you might want to consider getting yourself a bicycle, a skateboard or even roller blades. I am guessing probably not right.

It is no use just doing what I am prescribing without testing it for yourself. Firstly you have to compare the two. Initially, you will have to note the fuel usage of when you are driving normally, and then compare this to your driving when a new driving culture mentality is applied, just like I have. Fill your tank up, note the date and the time. Reset your counter and monitor the usage. After every fill I take note of the mileage and date, and try to achieve better fuel efficiency scoring every time.

More importantly, a new driving culture in place will lower our carbon footprint dramatically, carbon emissions will be reduced substantially.

If you have any other techniques you would like to share with us feel free to do so. A bit of information can save a bit more money for all of us.


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