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Save fuel - don't crash during the crunch

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

With motoring costs up by nearly 20 per cent, or £277 since 2007, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) offers the following advice - taken from its Advanced Driving Course - which is guaranteed to save fuel and reduce wear and tear on vehicles.

Don't crash: having an accident leads to fuel spills, traffic jams and crushed vehicles. Simply staying safe saves not only your no claims bonus, but significant costs and emotional tragedy

Anticipate road conditions and drive smoothly: avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking to save fuel and reduce accident rates Stick to the speed limit: edging over the motorway speed limit to 80mph saves very little time, but it will cost typically around three or four pence per mile more. Sticking to the speed limit saves money as well as penalty points

Check your revs: change up so that you use the most efficient safe gear - for many cars this will be before 2500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel)

In a jam: when stuck in traffic, turn off the engine to save fuel and stop emissions

Reverse Park to drive off straight away: a cold engine uses more petrol than a warm one. Reversing slowly or shunting back and forth with a cold engine delays the warming up; reversing into a space enables a motorist to drive straight out. A car used for work and weekend shopping can save £50 a year by doing this

Buttons cost money: air conditioning and heated windows drain power; keep the windows clean and they''ll rarely mist up. Use air conditioning sparingly but do switch it on for about 10 minutes a month to keep it in good condition

Shed the load: remove empty roof racks and excess loads from the boot

Track the trip: set on-board tracking computers to ''actual'' mode to track miles per hour and miles per gallon/litre expenditure. Don''t watch the meter while driving; wait until the end of the journey to monitor fuel consumption

Plan the route: plan the route carefully before setting off to avoid congestion, prevent getting lost and wasting valuable fuel. Take the most direct route and go at off-peak times if possible to save fuel and time. Consider car sharing, Park and Ride schemes or public transport

Service vehicles regularly: inefficient, under-serviced engines can reduce fuel economy by more than 10 per cent. Underinflated tyres are dangerous, wear out prematurely and can increase fuel consumption by up to three per cent.