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Drivers face new 2p pain at the pumps

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Motorists facing today's 2p per litre fuel price rise (1 April 2009) have been reminded by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) that a smoother driving style is the single best eco-driving tip that could make a difference.

With two car families now having to pay an additional estimated £8 a month for their fuel, the IAM says that there has never been a better time to adopt "green" driving techniques to make the fuel go further. Commercial high mileage clients have the most to gain from IAM Fleet's ecolution course which combines safe driving with fuel efficiency. But even individual motorists can take steps to make each litre linger longer.

"An additional 2p per litre doesn't sound much but it will quickly add up," said Peter Rodger, IAM Chief Examiner.

"Simple measures such as looking well ahead and slowing down earlier, rather than always using the brakes to slow down can make a real difference. Good eco driving starts with safer driving and anticipation."

"Individual motorists can save up to ten per cent in terms of fuel efficiency. Carrying around needless weight in your car, such as a brim full tank of petrol, means you will use more fuel than you have to. Likewise, underinflated tyres create drag. You can't avoid paying more for fuel, but drivers can still save pounds at the pumps by making the fuel work harder for them."

The IAM said the top fuel saving tips are:

Use "accelerator" sense: Save fuel by planning ahead and reading the traffic in advance to gently join a queue rather than braking suddenly as you hit traffic.

Obey the speed limits: Try to 'feather' the throttle when you reach your cruising speed. Doing 56mph uses 25 per cent less fuel than 70mph and a smoother driving style can bring significant fuel saving.

Reduce the drag factor: Remove roof racks and carriers when they’re not in use as well as unnecessary boot luggage and heavy accessories. Driving with the window open and using air conditioning increases drag and lowers fuel economy, so use the vent settings instead.

Reverse when you park: The engine will be cold and at its most fuel inefficient when you start it. If you can drive away without having to reverse when the engine is cold, you will save fuel and have better visibility.

Watch your levels: If you fill your fuel tank up to the brim, you may be carrying around additional fuel which in turn means that you have more weight on board than is necessary and this will itself reduce fuel efficiency.

Check your tyres: Correct tyre pressures reduce wear and helps fuel economy. Under-inflated tyres need replacing more often (itself an environmental problem) as well as being dangerous. Do a visual check every time you drive, and test the pressure at least once a week.

1. The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) directly influences the driving and riding of more than 160,000 road users a year (full members, associates and commercial clients) in the UK and Ireland. Established in 1956, the IAM is today best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving course. The IAM has grown to become the UK’s largest road safety charity, dedicated to raising driving standards, engaging with the road-using public and influencing road safety policy.The commercial division of the IAM operates through occupational driver training companies IAM Fleet UK, Drive & Survive and IAM Fleet Ireland.

2. A 2006 report by Brunel University, following an 18 month study, concluded that "advanced driver training produces safer drivers and lower accident involvement", with measurable improvements in knowledge, skills and attitude.

3. In January 2007, the IAM Motoring Trust was established as the Policy and Research Division to undertake research, promote practical policies, act as an advocate for safer roads, safer drivers and safer vehicles and encourage responsible motoring through education and training.