With petrol and diesel prices at record highs, one of the best ways to reduce fuel consumption, regardless of the type of engine, is to drive efficiently. A package of recommendations that can save up to 500 euros a year, as well as reduce emissions and extend the useful life of our vehicle and many of its components.
This list of tips starts with the most important and essential ones, without which nothing we do will work as efficiently. It is essential to have a tune-up carried out in the workshop once a year, especially on older models.
Another key action to reduce fuel consumption is to have the right tyre pressure. According to the RACE, “driving on tyres with a tyre pressure 0.5 bar lower than recommended by the manufacturer increases consumption by 2% in urban areas and 4% in interurban areas”. It should also be borne in mind that on journeys when travelling with a heavy load, the tyre pressure should be increased by the manufacturer’s reference indicated on the fuel cap or on the door frame. Failure to do so will not only increase fuel consumption but will also increase tyre wear, forcing tyre replacement to be brought forward. And while we are on the subject of tyres, there is a type of tyre available in almost all brands with very low rolling resistance, ideal for helping to reduce consumption (up to 3%) and with prices very similar to normal tyres.
Between 30 and 50% of fuel consumption depends on the owner’s driving style.
Fuel consumption is also significantly reduced by the tendency to drive in the highest possible gear, even in town, within the limits. The fact is that today’s engines allow and respond well even if we drive in high gears at very low revs with the engine very relaxed and consuming as little as possible. In this sense, it is highly advisable not to rush the low gears unless we start off on a very steep slope. And take as a reference that before reaching 50 km/h we should have already engaged 4th or 5th gear. Going back to the city and if the car does not have the Start/Stop system, it is highly recommended to stop the engine at 50 km/h stops and we should already have engaged 4th or 5th gear.
It has been proven that between 30 and 50% of fuel consumption depends on the way the owner drives. That is why it is necessary to follow some guidelines. For example, drive at a moderate and constant speed, without ups and downs or constant changes of pace, and keep a safe distance, which will allow us to drive at a constant speed without having to keep an eye on the brakes. When exiting traffic lights, accelerate progressively and change gear to take advantage of the best engine performance. Otherwise, you will arrive at the next traffic light a few seconds before the rest, but consume three times as much fuel. It would also be interesting, if possible, to anticipate and stop accelerating when you see a car, lorry or bus driving more slowly in the distance in order to arrive with inertia at a standstill without wasting fuel. This is much better than continuing to accelerate until we catch up with the vehicle in front and then braking, only to have to recover that speed later, for which the engine will have to be revved again, with the consequent expense. Anticipating not only saves fuel, but also brake pads.
Running the air conditioning unnecessarily increases fuel consumption by 10 to 20%. This is why it is important to optimise its use and, of course, to keep the windows closed on the road. Because anything that breaks the aerodynamics of a vehicle is inevitably associated with higher fuel consumption.
In this sense, if the boot is too small, it is advisable to use a boot or roof rack with a closed roof and aerodynamic shapes, and not to put your luggage on a roof rack tied with octopuses, as, in addition to being dangerous, this will greatly increase fuel consumption. And perhaps more luggage would have fit in the boot if it had been cleaned before setting off on a journey. Spanish drivers tend to turn the boot of their car into a sort of storage room where everything you can imagine can fit, and in reality, nowadays there are very few things that are necessary.
Finally, before setting off on a journey, it is advisable to consult the DGT website (infocar.dgt.es/etraffic/) where you will find real-time information on all kinds of incidents (traffic jams, road works, rain, alternative routes…) which will help you avoid wasting fuel in traffic jams. In addition, if our destination is new, it is ideal to be guided by a navigator who will advise us on the best route.