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5 Ways to save energy while driving

Electric vehicles are on the way, but until they’re available and affordable to all there are numerous things you can do to help reduce the impact of your driving, decrease your spending on gas, and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. 

Don’t idle

There are lots of things we do that have “always been done” that aren’t great for the environment or your hip pocket, car idling being a key culprit. For example, did you know that idling your car for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than to restart the vehicle, and it’s actually bad for your vehicle? Something about carburetors… It is a common misconception that cars require more than 2 or 3 minutes to warm up in winter. Use a block heater with a timer set to no more than two hours before you will drive to pre-warm the car and ensure good fuel economy. Remember to turn your car off when waiting to pick up the kids from school, or any other example when you are stopped for any period of time longer than 10 seconds. Car exhaust fumes have some crazy toxins in them, let’s not poison our kids while they’re at school, hey?

Use fuel efficient driving techniques

It’s amazing the difference driving in a fuel efficient way can reduce your fuel consumption and mean you don’t have to fill up so regularly – saving up to $120 a year for a typical car. See this clip ​for a demonstration of the fuel savings from efficient driving, which in this case amounted to having fuel economy 50% lower by driving eco-efficiently and was only 30 seconds slower than a more inefficient manner. 

  • Avoid excessive braking, heavy acceleration, and maintain a steady pace.
  • If you’re going under 60km an hour open your window rather than use the air conditioner, if above 60 km/h its more efficient to use your air conditioner. 
  • Don’t speed. Higher speeds consume more fuel – driving at 120km/h consumes 20% more fuel than at 100km/h. Try cruise control where appropriate to ensure you don’t go over the limit and maintain a consistent speed. 

Consider aerodynamics

Wind resistance and excess weight use more fuel. If you aren’t using your roof rack or tub take it off as it increases aerodynamic drag, increasing fuel consumption. Remove heavy items from your car for general day to day driving and only pack your car when necessary. 

Plan ahead

Try to plan your errands or daily trips to avoid unnecessary driving. Complete multiple errands at one time, and actively think about the most efficient route you can take for each trip, saving yourself time and money.

Regular car maintenance

Regular maintenance ensures your vehicle is running efficiently, minimising its fuel use, the money you spend, and the greenhouse gases your car emits. Staying on top of the maintenance schedule also helps to maintain your car’s resale value. This includes tire pressure, oil and filter changes, fluid checks, and tune ups. Follow your car user manual to ensure your vehicle is running at its best. Set a reminder in your phone on a regular basis to check your tire pressure and in the weeks prior to your car being due for a service and tune up so you don’t forget.