How to improve fuel efficiency

We look at the ways you can improve your fuel efficiency...

Whether you are aware of it or not, we waste a lot of fuel. It’s not something anyone does on purpose, it’s just something that happens when you drive a car.

In 2010, Europeans wasted 2 billion litres of fuel a year costing £2.4 billion a year. 71% of motorists studied were driving with under-inflated tyres meaning 4.8 million tonnes of additional and unnecessary CO2 emissions annually.

So what can we do to improve our fuel efficiency?

There are several things that you can do, these range from fairly big things to little things that you can do every day.

In this article, we are going to look at how to increase your fuel efficiency. 

OSV’s top tips to reducing fuel waste

Drive efficiently

Driving efficiently will keep your car in good shape and will ensure that you don’t waste any fuel. You’re not in a movie and you’ll want to keep your fuel waste down as much as possible.

Drive sensibly

Keep your speed in check and don’t rapidly accelerate or brake suddenly (when you can, of course) as this can waste fuel. Each vehicle reaches their optimal fuel economy at different speeds but fuel often decreases rapidly at speeds above 50mph. Of course if you are on the motorway this can’t be helped, but keeping your speed in check in rural and urban areas can help conserve fuel.

business man with a beard in a suit driving his company lease car

Don’t ride the clutch and use the right gear

Use the clutch only when changing gears or coming to a complete stop. Riding the clutch and shifting gears can waste your fuel.

Don’t rev up your car or drive slowly in a high gear, make sure you follow the recommended gear pattern. As you speed up then you should reach the highest gear to optimize the fuel consumption.

Empty your car

This sounds silly but excessive weight can reduce your mileage, and if it’s there unnecessarily then it means it’s there simply to waste fuel. This mainly affects smaller vehicles than bigger ones but it still can contribute to fuel waste.

Empty your car full of unnecessary things. That bag of shoes that needs to go to the shoe bank, the picnic blankets and beach chairs that are still in your car from the summer, all of these things can weigh your car down and waste your fuel.

couple in white putting suitcases in the boot of a car

Don’t idle

You can waste a lot of fuel idling, especially if you are also using the air conditioning. If you are stuck in traffic or parked then make sure you turn your engine off. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle, it stops fuel being wasted and it is good for the environment.

It’s actually illegal to keep your car running outside of your house, read more about other traffic laws you might not be aware of here.

Look after your car

Keeping your car in good shape can reduce your fuel wastage. It can be time consuming and sometimes expensive but it is worth it as it reduces fuel waste, keeps you safe and it also increases its resale value.

Keeping your car in good shape can reduce your fuel wastage. It can be time-consuming and sometimes expensive but it is worth it as it reduces fuel waste, keeps you safe and it also increases its resale value.

Keep your engine tuned

Fixing an engine that is out of tune or failed an emission test can increase fuel efficiency by 4%. Other repairs such as a faulty oxygen sensor can improve your mileage by 40%.

Tune-ups can include adjustment of the carburettor idle speed or replacement of components such as spark plugs or contact breaker points. It could also include replacement of the air filter and other filters.

Make sure your tyres are in good shape

We mentioned this above, but keeping your tyres in good shape can seriously increase fuel efficiency. Under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can also increase fuel waste.

Making sure that your tyres are in good shape and are properly inflated will keep you safer and will increase your fuel efficiency.

Replace clogged filters

This comes with keeping your engine tuned but ensuring that the filters are not clogged can also increase your fuel efficiency.

How long should your tyres last & how to change them 2
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You may not realise it, but some of your everyday habits can be wasting fuel. Making small changes can greatly increase fuel efficiency and if you do them often enough, they become new habits.

Watch where you park

It’s always advisable to park in the shade where you can to decrease your chances of fuel waste. Buying a windshield shade is also advisable as is keeping the sunroof closed.

You should also take the first available parking space. We all know those people that can’t make their mind up when parking and while a better parking space might come up, it can waste fuel. Simply parking in the first available space will decrease your chances of wasting fuel and will also save time because you can park and be out of the car by the time you drive round the car park looking for a space that is slightly better.

Fill your tank up

There is less moisture-laden air in a full or nearly full tank. This increases fuel efficiency. It also protects the electric fuel pump, which can become damaged if you run your car on less than a quarter of a tank.

Do everything in one trip

Making lots of small trips can waste fuel. Do all of your shopping and errands in one go if you can or on your way to or from somewhere else. For example, doing your weekly shop on your way home from work or running an errand on your way to work. Resist driving to the shops to pick up some milk after you’ve come back home.

It can be difficult, we know, but doing everything in one trip can greatly reduce your fuel waste.

petrol pumps of different colours with a person in a green suit holding one of the pumps

Travel a different way

Could you get the train or bus to work? Probably not if you have to travel with Southern but the point we are trying to make is that you can greatly reduce your fuel consumption by travelling a different way to work.

This could mean jumping on the train or the bus. This could save you fuel money and parking money if you have to pay for a permit at work. It might also be quicker if you often get stuck in rush-hour traffic.

If you don’t live too far away from where you work you might want to consider walking or cycling. This is even better for the environment, it means you get out in the great outdoors and gives you a chance to exercise. Even if you do this during the summer months, every little helps.

Improving your fuel economy by 15-25% is completely achievable and there are so many small things that you can do to achieve this. Don’t idle, make sure that your engine is turned off when stuck in traffic or sitting in your car, driving sensibly and not riding the clutch are all things that you can do to reduce your fuel waste. Other things such as parking in the shade or in the first space you see and travelling via public transport or cycling every now and again will also improve your fuel efficiency. Hopefully this has given you some tips to reduce your fuel waste. If you have your own tips and tricks to increase your fuel economy then share them below!

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Andrew Kirkley

Director at OSV Ltd
Andrew enjoys: Movies and travelling to new cities to explore different cultures.

Andrew has been in the motor trade for over 20 years. What he enjoys most about his job is the team spirit and the dedication of his work colleagues. He also appreciates the teams input in the improvement of the company.
Andrew Kirkley

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