WITH the summer holidays underway, some will be jumping into their cars and heading off on a well-earned summer break or enjoying day trips around the country.
For those who haven’t switched to an electric vehicle and are still driving a petrol or diesel car, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has some advice to help you drive more efficiently.
With energy costs rising these simple steps can help you use significantly less fuel, reduce your emissions, save money, and also stay safe, not only during the summer but all the time.
Fuel consumption tends to be affected most by your driving style, excessive rapid acceleration, unnecessary short trips, a cold engine, poor car maintenance and incorrect tyre pressure.
Tom Halpin, Head of Communications at SEAI says: “With just a bit of careful consideration, we can all reduce our car use, and reduce our fuel use when we do drive.
“A less aggressive, energy conscious driving style could save as much as 10% on your fuel costs.
“If you think that doesn’t sound like much, then just ask yourself if you could buy a litre of petrol for €1.89 rather than paying €2.10 would you, do it?
“As fuel costs rise, lowering speed and acceleration can make that difference. Try driving between 65-80 km/hr where safe and practicable – or at 100 km/hr on a motorway. Plus, you will have a less stressful journey.”
This applies all the time but is especially important ahead of a long journey or a motoring holiday. A properly maintained petrol or diesel car will have; good engine lubrication, wheel alignment and well-adjusted brakes, thus reducing your fuel use. It will also mean your car is safer and more reliable.
CHECK TYRE CONDITION AND PRESSURE
Be sure to check your tyres regularly. Tyres in good condition, with the proper thread depth, and at the right pressure, improve both safety and fuel consumption.
Tyres that are 10% below recommended pressure increase fuel consumption by around 2% (worth around 4c per litre of fuel).
READ THE ROAD
By watching the road ahead and anticipating any likely problems, your driving will become smoother, more controlled and be safer for all.
Drive in as high a gear as is suitable to road conditions. At bends reduce your speed gently and accelerate smoothly when you are halfway through to help reduce fuel use.
Once you turn the engine on, drive off gently without delay. This will reduce excessive fuel consumption and pollution. Even if you’re waiting only 30 seconds it is more economical to switch the engine off and start it again when necessary.
Incidentally, many newer cars have an automatic stop/start function, which means you don’t have to think about this, just make sure it’s enabled on your car.
REDUCE UNNECESSARY DRAG
After you arrive safely at your destination make sure to take off any unused bike racks or roof boxes and save as much as 20% on your fuel costs.
You can save a further 3-5% by using the car’s air-conditioning to cool down rather than leaving the windows open while you drive particularly at higher speeds.
AVOID SHORT JOURNEYS
A cold engine uses significantly more fuel than a warm engine. So, once you reach your destination opt to walk or cycle where you can and avoid using your car for short journeys.
Halpin concluded by saying: “It’s time for everyone to Reduce Your Use.” SEAI is encouraging each of us to make changes in how we use energy. Your efforts can help save money and benefit the environment.
“For advice and information on supports, including Government funded electric vehicle and home energy grants, to help reduce your energy use now and into the future visit, www.seai.ie/reduceyouruse.
SEAI is Ireland’s national energy authority investing in, and delivering, appropriate, effective, and sustainable solutions to help Ireland’s transition to a clean energy future.
We work with Government, homeowners, businesses, and communities to achieve this, through expertise, funding, educational programmes, policy advice, research, and the development of new technologies.
SEAI is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.