Driver Knowledge Tests

Eco-driving tips which will cut your fuel costs

If you can’t afford an electric car you’ll be acutely aware that the average price of petrol in Australia has recently hit 136.9 cents per litre. As a result, learner drivers, who legally have to spend a minimum of 120 hours learning to drive, are spending a significant chunk of cash filling up their cars so that they can secure their licence. But, thankfully, with these handy eco-driving tips, you’ll get more kilometres out of every tank of fuel you purchase.

Switch your engine off

One of the biggest benefits of driving in an environmentally friendly way is that it reduces the amount of fuel you use on a trip. Research suggests that being eco-aware when you’re behind the wheel can cut your fuel consumption by 10 to 25%. A great way to do this is to turn the engine off when you’re idle – if you’re going to be stopped for more than 15 seconds, switch your ignition off as the average car uses between 1-2 litres per hour when idling. Last year, the Australian Automobile Association reported that congestion in Australia is worse than ever. So, when you’re unlucky enough to get stuck in a traffic jam, switch your engine off to save your fuel and your cash. You will need to be aware of what’s happening ahead so that you can turn the engine back on in-time. By sticking to this premise as a learner, you’re more likely to continue to do it when you’ve got your full license, meaning you’ll benefit for life. Of course, if you have a car that does it for you with automatic stop/start, you’ll’ already be reaping the fuel-saving benefits.

Watch your speed

As a learner driver, you should be adhering to speed restrictions at all times. However, you can make your fuel last longer by dropping your speed a little on the highway. When you drive at 95 km/h, you’ll get between 10 and 15% more miles out of your tank of fuel than you would at 104km/h. Similarly, if you stick to a constant speed rather than increasing and decreasing it regularly, you’ll use between 20 and 48% less fuel.

Travel in the highest gear possible

When you’re first learning to drive, maneuvering the vehicle, keeping your eyes on the road, and constantly changing gears can be tricky. All too often it’s the gears that don’t get changed as often as they should. But, the sooner you move up a gear, the less fuel your vehicle will consume. It’s, therefore, wise to spend time practicing changing gears while you’re learning to drive as it will benefit you both now and in the future. This will only apply to you if you’re driving a manual car as automatic cars do this automatically.

Learning to drive is an exciting experience, however, it can also be a costly one. But, by making sure you adopt an eco-friendly way of driving, you’ll use less fuel every time you hop into the driver’s seat.

Don’t tailgate

When you drive more closely to the car in front you tend to adjust your speed much more frequently which causes increased fuel consumption (as mentioned above). Travelling further back allows you to smooth out the gap without being constantly on the brake and accelerator.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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