Amid rising cost of living and petrol prices of more than $2 a litre, experts say eco-driving techniques could help Australians save money on fuel and cut emissions.
According to the RACQ, eco-driving is a “smart, smooth and safe” driving technique that can lead to: fuel savings of 15 percent, or up to $400 per yearbased on an unleaded gasoline price of $2 per liter.
So what exactly is eco-driving?
Eco-driving is a driving technique in which: customize the way you drive — within the traffic rules — as well as keeping track of vehicle maintenance and plan travel carefully so that you drive more efficiently.
All this ultimately results in lower fuel consumption.
According to toll road operator Transurban, there are some simple changes that all drivers can make to drive more economically: drive as smoothly as possible† reduce hard braking and maintain a lead of about three seconds on the vehicle in front†
The RACQ suggests: looking forward to help you drive smoothly, gently brake and accelerate† avoid stop-start drivingand if you in a manual transmission car, with the correct gear for the conditions and fast shifting through gears†
They also suggest: avoid idling and turn off engine when parkedeven if you stop for only a few minutes.
Does economical driving really reduce fuel consumption?
Transurban conducted an eco-driving trial with 400 participants over a four-week period, during which: participants improved their fuel efficiency by more than 5 percentwith a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Based on the results of the Transurban trial, if the average motorist were to put eco-driving into practice, he could: save over $120 a year on fuel†
Matt Brennan, Transurban’s head of sustainability, said the company’s eco-driving trial has shown drivers can make small changes that have a big impact on the environment and their fuel bill.
“The good news is that everyone can benefit from these findings — imagine the possibilities if these driving changes were more widely adopted,” he said.
†Eco-driving is safe drivingbecause many of these behavioral changes can help minimize accidents.”
What does the research say about eco-driving?
Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney reviewed eco-driving research and conducted their own research.
UTS professor of environmental engineering Nic Surawski said that, in theory, if drivers did all the elements of eco-driving, fuel savings can be up to 40 percent†
That’s the equivalent of take a conventional petrol car and convert it into a hybrid†
“If you keep an eye on the fuel economy savings in the fleet, with people in different driving conditions, I think the benefits are a lot less, but still it’s entirely possible to save 20 percent on fuel,” he said.
“That takes into account that if you drive on a highway, you have fewer options to drive economicallyyou basically just keep the driving speed and that’s it.
“Combine highway driving with all the other things you have to do, you may not be able to apply all the strategies, so 20 percent would be a realistic achievement for most drivers†
Mr Surawski suggested: maintain a good driving speedby not driving too slow or too fast, and watch the way you accelerate†
Being organized can help you save fuel
Planning to do all your jobs in one tripavoid double trips and if possible by public or active transport can also reduce fuel costs, the RACQ says.
Pay attention to the routes you take, and opt for shorter and less busy routes where possible, can also help.
Monitor your fuel consumption keeping a log of how much you use — by hand, using the built-in car fuel monitor or an app — can also help you change your habits, the RACQ says.
The cost of using air conditioning in cars
have windows open, and do not use air conditioning at speeds of 80 km/h can reduce fuel consumption, according to the RACQ.
But with speeds more than 80 km/h, the increased drag caused by open windows costs you†
Remove unnecessary weight of the vehicle, and do not transport items on roof racks and spoilerscan also help reduce fuel consumption.
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