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Eco driving starts with safer driving

21 April 2009

This was one of the messages from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in response to the two pence per litre fuel price rise earlier this month. A safer, smoother driving style is the single best eco-driving tip for occupational drivers.

The link between safety, fuel economy and financial savings has already been recognised by many organisations, including Driving for Better Business champions. Central Auto Supplies, for instance, records monthly MPG data to monitor driver behaviour and equates low individual scores to risk taking driver style. In accordance with company policies, measures are then taken to educate drivers or provide further training, where necessary. Higher MPG results are clearly beneficial to overall fleet fuel costs as well.

Peter Rodger, IAM Chief Examiner said:

For more information about the services offered by IAM, vistit www.iam.org.uk

"An additional 2p per litre doesn't sound much but it will quickly add up. 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."

"Regardless of the size of fleet, individual drivers 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 fleets 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.