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10 ways you’re wasting fuel and didn’t even know!

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It’s never easy to break bad driving habits, especially when you don’t know you’re practising them, however by following the 10 simple tips below you will not only boost the overall fuel-efficiency of your car you will also help reduce damage to the environment.

1. Aggressive driving

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Jack-rabbit starts and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 25%. Tests have shown that Jackrabbit starts and hard braking reduces travel time by only four percent, while toxic emissions were more than five times higher.

2. Excessive Idling

Whether you believe it or not, idling wastes fuel and produces unnecessary greenhouse gases. The general rule is that if you are idling for longer than 10 seconds turn your engine off. Just 10 seconds of idling uses as much gas as restarting your car.

3. Driving at high speeds

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Gas mileage normally peaks at a speed of 40-55mph (64-89km/h). Of course each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed but generally speaking, speeds of over 60mph tend to drain fuel a lot quicker.

Research has proven that when travelling at a speed in-between 50-60 mph fuel economy drops by 12%, 50-70, 25% and 50 to 80 by 36%.

4. Under-Inflated tyres

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Running on tyres which are under inflated can increase fuel consumption by as much as 4%. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated before you drive your car as this will prevent increased rolling resistance. To avoid this make sure you check your tyre pressures at least once a month when your tyres are cold (i.e. the vehicle has not be driven).

5. Excessive use of air conditioning

Although this tip won’t apply to a lot of newer vehicles it is an important one to remember if you drive a slightly older vehicle.
Excessive use of air conditioning can reduce your fuel consumption by up to 4%.
Try to avoid using the air conditioning in stop-and-go city driving as it causes the engine to work hard and consume more fuel.

6. Carrying weight

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Avoid carrying unnecessary heavy items around with you in your vehicle, did you know that lugging around an extra 100 pounds in weight can reduce your mpg by up to 1.5%?

Whilst we are on the subject of excessive weight, cargo boxes on the tops of vehicles also increases your fuel economy by up to 4% as the cargo boxes increase aerodynamic drag. Just to give you an example: A large, roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by around 2 to 8% in city driving and 6 to 17% on the highway.

7. Out of tune engine

Maintaining your cars engine will not only help improve fuel economy, it will also help the lifespan of your vehicle.
A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency by as much as 4% so make sure you get your vehicle serviced regularly to ensure you are not wasting fuel.

8. Wrong engine oil

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It’s important to make sure that when replacing the oil in your engine that you use the recommended viscosity. You will find this information in the owner’s manual. Cars nowadays have such precise engine tolerances which often mean lightweight oil is required. Thicker oil may not lubricate as well, because it won’t flow as quickly into the nooks and crevices. Oil which is thicker than the recommended viscosity can reduce your fuel consumption by up to 1.5% as it requires more energy to push through thick oil.

9. Choosing your route carefully

Take the route with the fewest stops and turns and more importantly the least traffic. Choosing the wrong route could lead to a 6% drop in fuel consumption. Take highways where you can in preference to city streets where possible.

10. Tighten your fuel cap

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Did you know that if you fail to tighten your fuel cap properly the fuel inside your tank can evaporate?
Research from the Car Care Council (carcare.org) has proven loose, missing, or damaged fuel caps cause 147 million galloons of fuel to evaporate every year.

Taking note of the above tips is a good way to start saving fuel and looking after the environment. We worked out that if the average driver was to take notice of just a few of these tips they should be able to save an average of between 15 to 20% of their fuel!

This means both good news for the environment and for your wallet.

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