Get The Most Out Of The Fuel You Buy – You Could Save More Than 10%
Insulate the hot water tank, use low energy bulbs and don’t leave the television on standby. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, and don’t leave the lights on in your room. This information has been repeated to us all often since we were very young, and most parents will have had the same conversations with their children… so we are all familiar with the basic procedures of how to reduce our carbon footprint.
However, do you know how to save money and reduce energy use, CO2 emissions and pollution with your car? Obviously, fuel consumption has a great deal to do with the car you buy and WAV manufacturers will do their best to insure that your vehicle is as environmentally friendly as possible, but despite this there are a few things everybody can do to make their fuel last longer, save money, and make a small but consistent difference to the environment.
50 AA employees took part in an eco-driving experiment, and saved an average 10% of their weekly fuel bills, with the best saving an amazing 33%.
Here are some very simple ideas which really do make a big difference:
- Make sure you get your WAV serviced regularly to maintain engine efficiency.
- Regularly check your tyre pressures – especially before long journeys.
- Ensure you have the correct engine oil, as specified in the handbook.
> Things to do before your journey
- Try to reduce weight in your car – although this is difficult with you WAV as the ramps, lifts and so on do tend to add a substantial amount of weight, if you can try to keep things as light as possible it will cut down on the use of extra fuel – so try not to keep unnecessary items hoarded in the boot or under the chairs! Also, make sure when buying your WAV vehicle that you go to a legitimate converter of wheelchair accessible vehicles – they know and understand how to make your car as light as possible, thus minimising fuel consumption.
- Create a more streamlined car – cars are designed to cut through the air and so increase your speed, but if you have unnecessary roof racks and boxes it will increase drag and thus increase fuel consumption. If it’s not a necessity, take it off, if it is, then pack it as carefully as possible to reduce wind resistance.
- Don’t start your engine until you are ready to go – idling wastes fuel – in winter scrape the ice off rather than use the car to warm it up. Obviously, the engine needs to be on for you to access your ramps and/or lifts, but try to ensure that the wheelchair user is ready to get into the car before you turn on the engine.
- Know your route – obviously, getting lost is a waste of fuel as you drive round aimlessly without making progress. Plan unfamiliar journeys, and ensure you check traffic reports before you set off.
> Things to do during your journey
- Accelerate and decelerate smoothly – Your WAV vehicle will probably be a substantial amount heavier than most cars, so ensure you drive gently and begin decelerating with enough time to slow down without having to slam the breaks on. This will not only lower fuel consumption, but it will also create a much smoother and comfortable ride for all your passengers.
- On a similar note, rolling provides an easy way to reduce wasted fuel. If you can keep your car moving consistently by rolling at traffic lights, junctions and in traffic, it saves a lot more fuel than regular stopping and starting. However, remember that when rolling downhill or approaching a junction the driver does not have full control of the vehicle, and some modern cars, coasting gains nothing due to new technology that cuts fuel supply anyway once your foot is off the accelerator – so proceed with caution.
- Ideally, try to get your car fitting with a ‘Gear Shift Indicator’, to show you when the most efficient time to change gear is. If this is not possible, however, try not to labour the engine with late gear changes – this makes a huge difference to the amount of fuel your WAV consumes daily.
- Air-conditioning increases fuel consumption when used at low speeds, and at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. If the car is too hot, open your windows when driving at low speeds and save the air conditioning for the higher speeds. However, make sure you use your air conditioning once a week, in order to keep the system in good condition.
- Electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off the heated windscreen, demister bowers, and headlights when they are unnecessary. Of course, this does not apply to electrical equipment that you might need in your WAV.
- Driving at 70mph uses 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph, and 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than 70mph – yet another good reason to remain at the speed limit.
So why not see if following our advice can improve your current average fuel consumption? Share your comments below!