The simplest way to cut your fuel costs is to reduce the number of miles you travel, but it is often necessary to make the journey in a company car. If you do have to make the journey, controlling fuel costs and reducing emissions are two of the greatest challenges facing drivers and fleet managers today.
In the long run, meeting those challenges will involve swtiching to alternatively-fuelled vehicles, including those powered by electricity. But there are also much smaller, simpler steps you can take today to increase fuel efficiency, which will in turn save you money and improve your environmental impact.
Here are our top five tips…
1. Check your tyres
Under- or over-inflated tyres don’t just harm their vehicle’s fuel efficiency; they are dangerous, too. Check your tyre pressures regularly – at least every fortnight – to ensure they match the manual’s recommendations. We’ve discussed managing tyre pressures in more detail in a previous post, here.
2. Shed unnecessary weight
It’s simple physics: a heavier car consumes more energy. Remove unnecessary items from your boot, seats or the back of your van. If you tend to use your vehicle for short trips, consider only filling your tank up halfway each time to lighten the load as well.
3. Drive smoothly
The real key to improving fuel efficiency is smoother driving. Accelerate gradually and try to maintain a steady speed rather than constantly speeding up and slowing down. Keep a close eye on the road ahead so you can avoid sudden stops. And remember not to break the speed limit. As well as being dangerous and illegal, it will tend to cost you more in fuel too.
4. Select the right gear
Essentially, you always want to be in the highest gear possible without having to press the accelerator down too far. Change up earlier, before the revs get too high. But also change down when you need to, rather than straining the engine to stay in a high gear.
5. Go without the air-con
It might make your journey a little more comfortable, but your vehicle’s air-conditioning uses a great deal of fuel – and therefore costs a lot in both money and emissions. Turn it off when you don’t need it. At slower speeds, it’s generally more fuel-efficient to open your windows, even despite the extra drag that causes.