Fuel efficiency

Top tips for improving fuel efficiency as you drive

Published: 03/21/2022

The recent rise in fuel prices has brought home to us just how much we rely and depend on diesel and petrol.   These have always been commodities that we must import and that are subject to price fluctuations (usually going up) that are out of our control.  While we may not be able to influence OPEC or any of the worrying geopolitical happenings that determine the price of our electricity, diesel and petrol, we can make some small changes that will improve our fuel efficiency while we drive. Small savings are important.  Here are a few tips for getting the best value from your fill.

Gentle steady drivers use less fuel  

Maintaining a steady speed saves on fuel.  Gentle easy drivers who accelerate and brake smoothly use less fuel.  Changing gear early and changing up the gears quickly can also save a significant amount of fuel.  As a general rule, you should change up before 2000rpm in a diesel vehicle and before 2500rpm in a petrol vehicle and without letting the engine struggle through the lower revs.    

No Speeding

Stick to the speed limits. The most efficient speed for the optimum fuel economy is between 88 and 96 kilometers per hour.  Going faster than this will see your fuel efficiency decreases rapidly. For example, driving at 120 kilometers per hour will guzzle up to 40% more fuel than at 110kph. You are also likely to incur a speeding fine too!  

Heat but not cold

Blasting the heater will not make a huge difference to the fuel usage, but the same is not true for the air conditioning.  The car heaters generally recycle the heat from the engine but air conditioning uses up fuel no matter what speed you are driving at. Air conditioning, windscreen heaters all use up fuel, so maybe you could open the windows instead!


Underinflated tyres sag at each side and cause rolling resistance. Over time this costs you money.  You can save as much as 4% on your fuel consumption by inflating to the correct level. A quick check on the tyre pressures will see an easing on the petrol and fuel guage.

Remove the roof rack

Roof racks and boxes cause drag and this makes the engine work harder and use more fuel.  Streamline like a formula one car.

Remove heavy stuff from the boot

If you are driving round with that large bag of fertiliser or golf clubs or just a ton of ‘stuff’, in the boot, consider emptying it out and the car will be lighter and use less fuel.

Good Route and Traffic Planning

Where possible avoid congested roads where heavy traffic and stop/start driving will bring a more fuel intensive drive.  If you can leave earlier, or later, you might save your precious fuel and have a more stress free commute as well.

Car Service

A regular car service will improve the fuel consumption.  Clean filters and old engine oil are only part of the story here.  A car that is maintained well and regularly serviced in line with manufacturer service schedules and using the correct parts, fluids and lubricants will work better and will be more reliable and efficient.

It always made sense to drive thrifty but as those numbers on the fuel pumps go up and down, and up again, it is crucial and we all need to be mindful.  As always, if you have any questions about your current car and fuel consumption, give us a call at Peter Hanley Motors and our friendly staff will be happy to have the  conversation.

Peter Hanley Motors is a registered
member of The Society of the Irish
Motor Industry

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