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 Post subject: How to: Make the most of fuel efficient driving
PostPosted: July 2nd, 2011, 1:04 pm 
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Totally Addicted to Colt!
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Joined: September 27th, 2007, 11:10 pm
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Location: Nottingham
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: Is a lazy mofo
Hi guys,

This cropped up with jessh169 asking about driving in gear and realised we didnt have a guide on driving efficiently.
Now please bear with me if it seems like I'm telling you how to suck eggs, as there might be some parts in here that you not have realised. I've comprised this list of rules that I try to obey (although quite difficult with temptation in my car ;)), along with bits from other sources. It's quickly put this together so if you think I'm wrong or have other suggestions please post a reply :)

Just to give you an example, I suffer from Lead Foot Syndrome (LFS) quite a bit and I pay for it getting less than 25mpg however setting out to use a whole tank on practising efficient driving and I managed to get 35mpg! Which for me is down right impressive, considering.

So, here we go...

Driving Style

Dont drive agressively
- DUH! Well this is pretty obvious but theres a little more to it. Your mood affects your driving efficient slapping the brakes too often but to help things, find some music you can relax to. Dont listen to aggressive music!

Dont just look at the car in front
- This obviously doesnt apply to most on here but its worth mentioning. The amount of people I see on the roads that end up braking just because the car infront has its brakes on. Being aware of the other cars and potential hazards allows you to adjust your speed without even touching the accelerator or brake.

Dont use your brakes
- This may seem stupid but as with the previous point, if you are a paying attention to the what the next 3 or so cars in front are doing, the chances are you can limit the use of your speed without having to use the brakes. Every time you touch that brake pedal you are effectively wasting fuel. Also see Using Overrun.

IPSGA
- This is tought by the Institute of Advanced Motorists and isnt just about hand shuffling around the steering wheel. It teaches you about the position of your car but also everything around you and how you drive. It stands for Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration - the process when maneuvering, however I sugggest adjusting this accordingly when using overrun :)
http://www.nottinghamtrentiam.org.uk/

Learn how to Hypermile
- I've given this its own section below but you'd be (un)surprised how much you can save by not plowing up the motorway at 120mph. :D But there is a bit more to it than that.

Use overrun to reduce fuel consumption
- Using the above tips, remember to leave it in gear when coming upto lights or going down a hill as in jessh169's thread. Your ECU will cut the fuel when it isnt needed compaired with it idling when its out of gear and coasting. There's also comments from some people that you should use the highest gear, which is pretty much rubbish - use the gear that right & allows you to control your speed. Please be aware this only true for later ecu'd cars, older ecu'd cars still inject fuel on overrun (I think 96 on vehicles for the most).

Dont idle for too long
- Again another simple one, if you are hanging around even for as little as 10 seconds, its just as efficient to switch the engine off than leaving it running. Sitting at tickover for 8 minutes or more is the same a driving 1km at 60mph.

Know when to use cruise control
- Most people will tell you that using your Cruise Control increases fuel consumption, and technically they are right but it depends on the road you are on. If is a road with hills and bends, yes, its not worth having it on. If the road is nice & flat, using the CC will allow you maintian a constant speed and not going +/- 5mpg by using the accelerator manually.

Get to the maximum gear for your speed
- Without using hard acceleration and using excessive revs, get to the the maximum gear for your desired speed. Usually, accelerating past 3,000 rpm is exceptionally inefficient but because this really depends on the engine and the way it is tuned, be sure to check the manufacturers recommendations.


Mechanical

Keep tyres inflated correctly
- Surprisingly people still dont do this, despite it being one of the biggest causes of increased fuel consumption. Whilst under-inflated tyres might be better for the drag strip, they are terrible for the road and will ruin your MPG. If you are serious about getting the most from your tank of petrol.... check them once a week.

Service your car regularly
- Change your oil, check your wheel alignment, etc. without going into the detail of each section - all these little bits can improve your efficiency and drop fuel consumption.

Empty your car!
- Dont keep that toolbox of dead weight if you dont need it. Simple, less weight = more MPG.


Misc

Let your engine warm up
- Dont drive off with a cold engine in any weather, your engine will use more fuel on warm up and can also increase engine wear too.

Dont use Aircon or put your windows down?!
- Another obvious one but the AC will leech power from your engine and increase your fuel consumption. On the other hand driving with the windows down is also bad as it will increase the drag of your car. If you've got the chance park your car in the shade so you wont need to do either but its best checking on the car which of the two (windows vs AirCon) is the lesser of the two evils.

Half Tank or Full?
- A full tank of petrol means more heavier weight, so technically filling up your tank half way is more economical. However, this comes undone if you travel further to find a cheaper petrol station. So whats better? If you dont have a cheap petrol station along your usual travelling routes then its best to do a full fill up. Otherwise, plan your fill ups and do it more often.
NB. Not filling up your tank to the top, will prevent you from getting the MPG if you use online MPG monitors (2 listed below) or don't have an on-board MPG/trip computer.


Hypermiling

Hyper-miling (originally coined by the hybrid owners crowd), is getting the most of amount of miles out of tank - usually going beyond the manufacturers specifications.

Motorway Hypermiling

Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination
Find a BIG lorry (bigger = more air displacement = less drag on your car)
Drive behind it without tailgating, always give enough braking distance!
Most lorries are limited to around 55mph which is around the best MPG on most cars.
If there isn't a lorry, it might be worth getting up to around 60mph until you find one.
Try not to use the brakes and make sure you accelerate gently
Finally, anticipate the road head:- consideration of bends, sliproads (on and off the motorway), other slow moving vehicles & potential hazards will all help for smooth driving & increasing your MPG.



TopGear did an eco race from London -> Edinburgh -> London, most of the info is very useful however I still think some bits are complete B/S




The final thing to add is that, its worthwhile using an online MPG monitor such as Fuelly.com or SpritMonitor.de
Keep an eye on best/avg MPG plus the amount of miles & money spent on fuel.

Heres my sig from fuelly

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I hope this thread helps reduce the number of trips to the pumps!
(Btw thanks go to Coltman for his additional input on this).

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 Post subject: Re: How to: Make the most of fuel efficient driving
PostPosted: July 2nd, 2011, 7:30 pm 
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Totally Addicted to Colt!
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Many good points there. However, seeing as I like a bit of devils advocate, there's a couple of nonsense points.

First up there's the hypocrisy going on with idling. First says don't idle, fair enough. Later it says not to drive your car from cold, so I guess this means idle it until warm.
This is bad advice both from a mechanical and a fuel economy point of view. You should always drive the car from cold, just don't be hard on it while cold. Reason being that an engine produces an awful lot more heat when under load, and will warm up considerably faster. This equals less time spent with the engine running cold, which isn't so great mechanically because the tolerances slacken off when not at operating temp, and the oil doesn't work properly. From a fuel point of view, cold start enrichment uses considerably more fuel (hence the strong petrol smell on the exhaust gas), so you wouldn't want to run the engine in this mode for any longer than necessary.

Secondly, half a tank. Who wants to fill up twice as often, certainly won't reduce trips to the pumps ;)

Thirdly, the truck drafting business. In reality it doesn't work. You have to drive dangerously close to the back of the truck to get in the slipstream. I've done it once before and the effect is good, but you have to drive so close that you would have an accident if the truck were to hit the brakes, and the front of your car gets battered with stone chips.



All of the stuff under 'Driving style' is good advice though, the phenomenon of people being fixated on only the one car is extremely widespread and makes busy motorway driving a chore. The way I drive and always have is to keep pace with the car as far ahead as you can track. This way I find you can drive at a steady speed instead of driving up to the back of the car in front then braking, accelerating, braking, accelerating etc.. A lot of people just can't seem to deal with the fact that this 'proper' style of driving will result in a gap opening up ahead of you, simply ignore it.
The whole 'phantom traffic' jam effect is pretty much entirely down to this accelerating and slowing down again. You won't notice it while driving, but every time you accelerate then slow down the acceleration and braking will become more and more until eventually the slowing down part becomes a complete stop, then you get a nice big tailback even though there has been no kind of 'event' to cause it.


Oh and I calculated my mpg, 29.8. It has to be said though, I can't be arsed with dawdling around, and my car rarely sees less than 3000rpm ;)


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 Post subject: Re: How to: Make the most of fuel efficient driving
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2011, 3:22 am 
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: Evo 4
Clarkey wrote:
and my car rarely sees less than 3000rpm ;)


Mine rarely see's less than 5500rpm :P

As you imagine guys, my economy advice is useless haha

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 Post subject: Re: How to: Make the most of fuel efficient driving
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2011, 7:55 pm 
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Started to go a bit Colt crazy!
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Joined: October 15th, 2007, 12:11 pm
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: Coupe
i dont think any of it is rubbish.
i once went from lancashire to london following trucks all the way. got down there and the fuel guage had just about started to drop (used the filler neck) on the way back i was in abit more of a hurry so didnt follow them, think i used half a tank. this was in a 1.3 escort

yes some of the idling points are confusing but generally i get them.

and as for watching the car in front, i know loads of people that do it, and not only is it not economical, but id say its down right dangerous. always keep an eye on whats going on way in front. antisipate whats going on, as mentioned sometimes you dont need to brake where the 3 people in front nearly slam on.

i know last time i calculated my mpg (1.5 proton) i got 25mpg around town.
i am upgrading soon and so want to get my mpg up. hense being here. ill be doing my best and think ill deffinatly be signing up to fuelly

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 Post subject: Re: How to: Make the most of fuel efficient driving
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2011, 9:14 pm 
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Totally Addicted to Colt!
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Joined: August 11th, 2009, 6:43 pm
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Model: CJ (1996 - 2004)
: CJ V6 Mivec
Barlow wrote:
Clarkey wrote:
and my car rarely sees less than 3000rpm ;)


Mine rarely see's less than 5500rpm :P

As you imagine guys, my economy advice is useless haha



MIVEC YO! :lol:

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