10 ways to drive as eco-nomically as possible

I try not to drive too much. When I can, I ride my bike. Often though, I have little choice but to hop in the automobile. I work miles from home in an area tricky to get to with PT. I haven’t been able to put the romance of road trips to bed - I don’t know many people who have. Inevitably, we do get caught out. We do hop in our cars. Ergo I’ve researched the best ways to drive as fuel efficiently as possible. It’s not ideal, I know, but if you’re gonna get in your car, you may as well know how to drive it to reduce its emissions as much as possible.

via jaymug

You can reduce your car’s green house gas emissions by boosting its fuel efficiency.

And you can boost the overall fuel efficiency of your car by as much as 30% by simple vehicle maintenance and attention to your style of driving:

1. Ride a bike or catch the train.
Obviously the less you use your car overall, the better. Do ride your bike or catch the train when you can. Definitely ride your bike for short trips: 

“A bicycle does get you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive.  Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal.  And getting there is all the more fun.”  ~ Bill Emerson

2. Change up into top gear as soon as possible.
Waiting until you reach above 2,500 rpm before you change gears labours the engine. Accelerate smoothly and change up at around 2,000 rpm instead.

3. Ensure your tyres are properly inflated.
Underinflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel.

4. Use the cruise control.
Cruise control can save fuel by helping your car maintain a steady speed. It only really works on long flat roads though – in hilly terrains the cruise control labours the engine by trying to maintain even speeds.

5. Drive steadily and smoothly.
“Jack-rabbit" starts and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%. Toxic emissions can be more than five times higher.

6. Drive at the speed limit.
The faster you go the more fuel you consume and the more emissions will chug out of your exhaust.

7. Minimise use of the air-conditioner.
Using your car air-con on a hot day can increase fuel consumption by 10%. If it’s cool enough, use the fan or, at low speeds, wind down your window. Winding down your window will only create too much wind resistance (and therefore consume more fuel) if you’re travelling at high speeds (above 65km/hr).

8. Know exactly where you’re going.
Driving aimlessly around a neighbourhood is wasting fuel. Use a map!

9. Don’t drive around with a full tank and unnecessary weight in the boot.
The heavier the load, the more fuel consumed.

10. Don’t be late.
Rushing means you’ll accelerate abruptly and break suddenly. Treat your car like a sanctuary. Tune into some good music or talk back. Relax. Rushing doesn’t get you there any quicker but it does increase your fuel consumption and emissions, not to mention your risk of crashing.

Any other tips?


  1. Can I add too more tips. The first is plan your trips. I find this saves time and is more economical on the fuel if I think through where I need to go and what else I can do on route. My second tip is drive a smaller car that uses less fuel.

    1. Thanks PP, great tips! I drive a tiny car and know it makes such a difference to fuel consumption.

  2. I worked with someone once who used a car share scheme and thought they were fantastic. She and her
    family used PT, rode bicycles adn walked, adn when necessary booked a car



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