Ah the open road. There’s nothing like it. The wind in your hair, radio tuned to your favorite station and that feeling of freedom. That is until you check how fast the fuel gauge is going down and then you start to stress about fuel costs.
So let’s think about this. How do you rate your driving skills? Wait, don’t answer that. Yes, I know, you’re awesome. Well, it depends what that definition entails. Let’s talk in terms of efficient driving-style? Even if you’re not planning to become a super hypermiler, there is no doubt that you will definitely care about your fuel costs, at some point or another. Or at least you will certainly agree that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea if you could somehow reduce them.
How to cut costs on the road
We’ve put together a few choice driving tips you can add to your arsenal, to help improve your diving style, reducing fuel consumption. Before we get into the juicy details, however, have you read our previous blog post “How to cut your fuel costs: on-road tips”? If not, here’s your chance! Onwards then!
Shift gears wisely
Unless you have a vehicle equipped with automatic transmission, you need to make sure that you shift to the right gear, based on your car’s speed and RPM, in order to avoid getting into the costly high-RPM zone. So, shift to the first gear and gradually shift to the next one, as you build up speed. You can also watch the tachometer from time to time, just till you get used to the sound of optimal rpm. A rule of thumb for cost-effective consumption is to stay below 3000. That way, you’ll be able to balance your car’s speed and your engine’s speed (which is different, by the way). Your goal should be the minimum amount of gear-shifting and you should discipline yourself towards making it a habit. Easy right?
Keep your speed somewhat steady
Improving the way you drive is probably the most effective way to reduce your fuel consumption, in the long run. Aggressive driving with rapid accelerations, heavy braking and hard turns affects your fuel mileage. How? Your car burns up your fuel and radiates more unhealthy emissions.
So, the smart way to drive your car is a more conservative one. Avoid frequent accelerations as much as you can, keep your speed steady or try at least to reduce the rate at which you accelerate, whether you are driving in a city or on a highway. Plus, when driving on highways you may also opt for the slow lane, which helps you maintain a more constant speed.
Avoid braking when possible
Wasteful braking results in wasteful energy consumption. When you slow down you typically lose some of your momentum. Then, you have to speed up so again to regain the lost momentum, in order to continue travelling at the suggested speed. This is something that you can avoid by paying more attention to your surroundings. And, by more attention, we mean noticing those little details that will help you predict what’s coming next.
Yes, keeping an eye on the road helps you predict what’s coming next. Try to make a habit of handling it with minimum waste of energy. For example, when a car in front you keeps slowing down and speeding up without apparent reason or when you can see that a traffic light is red long before you’ve reached it, gently decelerate before you need to just hit the breaks. This way, not only do you save fuel, you also make your trip a more pleasant experience for you and your passengers.
Turn of your engine when idle
When the engine is on, it still burns up fuel. And the amount of it isn’t insignificant. There are even many green campaigns on that try to raise awareness and promote idling reduction. So, when you pull your car over, only to get something from a local store or when you’re hopelessly stuck in traffic, just switch the engine off.
AC: use it mindfully
Air conditioning requires extra power and extra power means extra fuel. So, if you can’t avoid using it, then set the temperature at a sensible level and always remember to put it on re-circulate mode. That way, air from your cabin - and not from outside – is being recycled towards uniformly balanced temperature.
When you park your car try to find a shaded spot, if possible, even if it’s only for a few minutes. The temperature of your car will stay low and that’s exactly what you need. If you need to leave it parked for longer periods of time, it would be better for you to cover your car windows with windshield shades, for the same reason.
Last but not least, remember to turn off your AC, a few minutes before you reach your destination. The coolness already built up inside your car will be more than enough for the rest of your trip. And, besides, it will also be easier for you to adapt to the external environment when you get off your car.
Make it a habit
Not all habits are bad. Challenge yourself to improve the way you drive and try to expand this effort to as many tips as you can. If you keep a log with your monthly fuel costs you’ll soon see a difference. Veturilo can help with this. It allows you to track your trip logs for all of your fleet of vehicles. Learn more about our mileage tracking [add hyperlink to Trip Log page/info on website]. Either way, you’ll definitely notice that you’ve managed to reduce your visits to the gas station.
Pass it on
There’s nothing more simple than passing on good news, or paying it forward. Whichever you prefer. Educate your drivers, by explaining all the details of eco-friendly driving and let the cost benefits engage their interest. As soon as they find the drive to improve their driving habits on their own vehicles, they will do the same on your fleet vehicles.