Save fuel by braking less and turning off the air conditioning, experts advise

Record prices at the pump mean car journeys are becoming more expensive by the day, but experts have tips on how motorists can ensure their precious fuel can go the extra mile

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Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to save fuel

Drive past every gas station in the last few months and the numbers displayed in the bright fonts outside are enough to make your eyes water.

For those who remember oil prices crashing during the pandemic, it feels like a terrifying dystopian vision to see diesel and petrol prices teetering on the brink of £2 a liter – and even higher on the motorways .

According to data company Experian, the average price of a liter of petrol at UK petrol stations hit a new high of 191.1p on Sunday (26 June), with diesel at 198.9p per liter.

But what if there was a way to take that number and effectively drop at least a third of the price?

According to experts, this could be achieved by the average driver if he used simple means to make his car less of a glutton on the road – and if he didn’t necessarily have to drive at a snail’s pace.

How to save fuel while driving?

If you drive calmly and don’t hit the brakes regularly, you can save fuel


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Brake less is the biggest tip.

After burning fuel to get up to speed, braking effectively wastes hard-earned money spent on petrol or diesel.

Hypermilera website dedicated to improving driver fuel efficiency says, “Every time you brake, you’re effectively turning fuel into heat and brake dust.”

Experts say driving without regular braking is all about reading the road ahead and figuring out when you might need to slow down.

A red light ahead? Start slowing down early to make the car stop slower.

Driving down a hill or incline? Then there is no need to press hard on the gas pedal when gravity takes its course.

The RAC website recommends: “Try to anticipate what is about to happen ahead of you by looking far ahead.

“That way you see the lights on red, which means you can back off the gas or slow down naturally and potentially keep driving instead of stopping.”

What other tips are there for using less petrol?

Don’t use the air conditioner.

Hypermiler has calculated that using air conditioning can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent in some cases.

British summers may be calmer on the heat front than on the continent, but it can still get mighty hot, especially in metal vans left in the sun for hours.

When the air conditioning is on, fuel consumption may increase


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The website recommends parking in the shade and using a windshield deflector to keep the car cooler and ward off the need to turn on the air conditioning.

Otherwise, driving below 60 km/h with the windows open causes only limited drag of the car and uses the energy better than the air conditioning.

And if you have no other choice, it’s a good idea to set the air conditioning to recirculate so the car cools the air inside the car instead of having to cool the warm air from outside.

Any other recommendations?

There are plenty of tips for those wanting even better results – Hypermiler states that some drivers have seen a 35-45% increase in miles per gallon by using a variety of methods and due diligence before driving.

If you mainly use the car for longer journeys, when a vehicle can reach the optimal engine temperature and speed, it can save on fuel costs. According to the RAC, cars are usually most efficient at 45-50mph.

Keeping tires at least at the recommended pressure, removing unused roof racks and top cases, and driving in thinner-soled shoes to feel the accelerator better are all tips to keep more money in motorists’ pockets.

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Fry Electronics Team

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