the best ways to improve fuel efficiency
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The Best Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency
Making sure you’re getting the most miles from your petrol tank is important. Not only is fuel expensive, it’s also one of the big contributors of global warming. So, properly maintaining your vehicle and taking steps to reduce fuel consumption and reliance is a vital part of owning a car in today’s world.
In this article, we’ll look at why improving your fuel efficiency can save you money and help reduce climate change.
How do you calculate MPG?
MPG stands for miles per gallon and is a good indicator of a car’s fuel efficiency. As you would imagine, MPG is the number of miles a car can go on one gallon of fuel. Although this number varies depending on a range of external factors (e.g., traffic and weather), it’s a good place to start when working out just how much fuel your car uses and whether it can be reduced.
MPG is calculated using a rolling road, which is an artificial road similar to a running machine, allowing the car to move constantly but under laboratory conditions. These standardised tests are what influence the MPG score you’ll see on carmakers’ websites or reviews and are compliant with the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WLPT).
Although the WLTP tests are supposed to be reflective of real driving conditions, they are still done under strict laboratory conditions, so they won’t always be as realistic as you might hope. They can, however, give you a powerful indication of your car’s fuel economy.
What is the average fuel efficiency of a car?
There is no average for all vehicles as there are so many factors to consider. The weight of the car, the type of fuel it uses, how you maintain it, and your driving style all have a marked effect on fuel efficiency.
In the UK, the average MPG for cars is 38.8. This varies a fair amount when you compare petrol with diesel - with the former being 36mpg and the latter just 43mpg. Hybrid vehicles that use petrol get around 59mpg, whereas electric cars obviously get a great deal more, coming in at around 132mpge.
Let’s take a look at these one by one, according to research done by WhatCar.com.
SUV - Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 - True MPG: 48.3mpg
Diesel Car - Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi - True MPG: 51.5mpg
Small Car - Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-iHybrid - True MPG: 57.8mpg
Family Car - Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech 130 - True MPG: 49.6mpg
Estate Car - Toyota Auris Touring Sports 1.8 VVT i-Hybrid - True MPG: 58.7mpg
Multi-Purpose Vehicle - Ford C-Max 1.0T 100 Ecoboost - True MPG: 41.7mpg
7-Seater Car - Toyota Verso 1.6 V-matic - True MPG: 39.0mpg
Why is it important for a car to have a low fuel consumption?
The answer to this is twofold: you will save money and lower your carbon footprint. As we all know, cars give off a high level of carbon emissions which contribute to global warming. Having a car that uses less petrol means you are secreting less carbon than you would do on the same journey in a less efficient car. This also helps alleviate the reliance on crude oil, which is a limited resource.
On a financial level, a more efficient car means less money spent on fuel, therefore saving a great deal of cash in the long-term. You could even cut down your tax payments - the amount of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is based on fuel emissions, so the more efficient the car, the less you’ll pay. For those living in London, you will also be able to skip the congestion charge if your car emits less than 75g/km of CO2.
How can I improve my fuel economy?
If you aren’t in a position to buy a more fuel efficient car, there are steps you can take to improve the fuel efficiency of your existing car. Most of these steps are to do with conserving power and ensuring regular maintenance, so they can be relatively simple changes to make. The top tips we recommend are:
If you drive smoothly and don’t put your car through its paces, you will use less fuel. This is especially noticeable if you drive at lower speeds - exceeding the national maximum speed limit by just 10mph will use up to 25% more petrol than if you stuck to 70mph.
Keep weight and drag down
Carrying a large load in your boot or using a roof rack can both have a marked effect on the fuel you use. Anything that weighs the car down and therefore makes the engine do more work to keep moving will end up using more fuel.
Plan your drive
Use your sat nav or an online source to plan your journey before you set off. This way, you can avoid areas of heavy traffic and can plan the shortest and most efficient route to your destination.
Do regular maintenance
Regular services and basic upkeep will help your car stay healthy and use less fuel. Things like keeping your tyres at the right air level can help reduce resistance and help you drive more smoothly, and consistent checks by mechanics will also give you peace of mind that your car is running at the optimum level of efficiency.
What is the most fuel efficient car?
When it comes to the most fuel efficient cars on the market, hybrid vehicles take the top sports due to the obvious lack of constant fuel use. In fact, the government aims to completely eliminate petrol engine cars from UK roads by 2035, with all cars and vans on UK roads to be fully zero emission.