The first rule of Eco-driving is the regular maintenance and tuning of your car.
A significant amount of the energy required for propelling a car forward is used in overcoming the ‘rolling resistance’ of the tires. The resistance that occurs when a tyre moves forward is due mostly to the deformation of the object (the flattening effect at the bottom of the tyre where it has contact with the road). The recommended tyre pressure for your car will have been exactly calculated to take this into account and ensure the least ‘rolling resistance’ and therefore greatest fuel efficiency. Tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month and at the start of a journey, as the heating up of the tires will alter the pressure. “25% too low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance by 10% and fuel consumption by 2%” [source: ecodrive.org]
Know that the lowest emissions are between the speeds of 60 and 100km/h
Driving at 110km/h uses up to 30% more fuel than driving at 80kp/h
Don’t leave the car idling to warm up – drive off straight away. Catalytic converters take 10kms to become fully operative.
Plan your journey so as to avoid traffic black spots, high volume peak traffic, road works, getting lost (Satellite Navigation), don’t park where it causes congestion. Congestion means more fuel.
Short journeys, less than 3kms, pollute more because the engine is cold, approx 50% more per km.
Remove roof racks when not in use – Don’t leave roof boxes on after holidays
Weight is the single most important factor effecting fuel consumption and also one of the easiest to address. Regularly empty your car as most people carry a lot of excess cargo (golf clubs, kids strollers etc.) that will be costing them on fuel. “For every extra 100 pounds you carry in your vehicle, you reduce gas mileage and fuel economy by roughly 2%” [source: dailyfueleconomytip.com] Extra weight = extra fuel
If stopped in traffic for more than 1 minute, turn off the engine. Restarting uses less energy than 10 seconds of idling.
Turn off air-conditioning and heated screens when not required.
Use good Observation and sound Judgment of Speed and Distance to reduce hard acceleration or braking. Be smooth.