As the cost of living rises and petrol prices rise above $2 a litre, experts say eco-driving techniques could help Australians save money on fuel and cut costs. emissions.
According to the RACQ, eco-driving is an “intelligent, gentle and safe” driving technique that can lead to Fuel savings of 15%, or up to $400 per yearbased on an unleaded gasoline price of $2 per litre.
So what is eco-driving?
Eco-driving is a driving technique that involves adjust the way you drive — respecting the rules of the road — as well as following vehicle maintenance and carefully plan trips so you drive more efficiently.
Ultimately, this all translates into less fuel consumption.
According to toll road operator Transurban, some simple changes all drivers can make to drive more economically include drive as slowly as possible, reduce sudden braking and keep a gap of about three seconds with the car in front.
The RACQ offers look ahead to help you drive smoothly, brake and accelerate gently, avoid stop-start drivingand if you are in a manual car, using the correct gear for the conditions and shift gears quickly.
They also suggest avoid idling and turn off the engine when parkedeven if you only stop for a few minutes.
Does eco-driving really reduce fuel consumption?
Transurban conducted an eco-driving trial with 400 participants over a four-week period – where participants improved their fuel consumption by more than 5%with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Based on the results of the Transurban trial, if the average motorist practiced eco-driving behaviors, they could save over $120 per year on fuel.
Transurban’s sustainability manager, Matt Brennan, said the company’s eco-driving trial had shown drivers could make small changes that had a big impact on the environment and their fuel bill. .
“The good news is that anyone can benefit from these findings – imagine the possibilities if these changes in driving behavior were adopted more widely,” 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 research on eco-driving and conducted their own study.
Nic Surawski, senior lecturer in environmental engineering at UTS, said that theoretically if drivers performed all elements of eco-driving, fuel savings could reach 40%.
It is the equivalent of take a conventional petrol car and convert it to a hybrid.
“In reality though, when you look at fuel economy savings across the fleet, with people in different driving conditions, I think the benefits are much less, but still it is quite possible to save 20% of fuel,” he said.
“It takes into account that if you’re on a highway, you have fewer options available for eco-drivingyou just maintain 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% would be a realistic achievement for most drivers.”
Mr. Surawski suggested maintain a good driving speeddriving neither too slow nor too fast, and pay attention to how you accelerate.
Being organized can help you save fuel
Plan to do all your jobs in one tripavoiding double journeys and if possible use public or active transportation can also reduce fuel costs, according to the RACQ.
Pay attention to the routes you take, and choose shorter and less crowded routes if possible, can also help.
Track your fuel consumption Keeping a log of how much you use — either by hand, using the built-in car fuel monitor or an app — can also help you change your habits, according to the RACQ.
The cost of using air conditioning in cars
Have the windows open, and do not use air conditioning at speeds of 80 km/h can reduce fuel consumption, according to the RACQ.
But at speeds over 80 km/h, the increased drag caused by open windows will cost you.
Remove unnecessary weight of the vehicle, and do not carry items on roof bars and spoilerscan also help reduce fuel consumption.