Awakening & unfolding the real potential of our lives!

Using less fuel while driving

One of the obvious things to focus on in my initiate to use10percentless is using less fuel while driving. I’ve been experimenting carefully with this for a couple of months and I’ve found that it’s fairly easy to use 10% less fuel than I was in the past. At the moment, I think the three most important factors are;

  1. Use the accelerator as little as possible
  2. Find the shortest route
  3. Avoid traffic

Use the accelerator as little as possible

This might seem really obvious but, each time you push the accelerator, you use more fuel. The harder you push the accelerator, the more fuel you use. But you have to push the accelerator to drive, of course, so the trick is to find the way to get where you need to go while pushing the accelerator as little as possible. Here are my current thoughts on this;

“Feather” the accelerator When I need the accelerator, I try to push it as lightly as possible and to try and keep in mind the desire to come off it as soon as I can. I try to “feather” the accelerator to get just enough speed.

Be very careful when pulling away from a standing start This is where I find that a lot of fuel can be burnt. Pushing hard on the accelerator to pull away quickly uses relatively a lot of fuel in a short space of time and that’s fuel you can’t get back. Easing away with as little accelerator as you can will keep the fuel usage significantly lower.

Lift off whenever possible There are many times when you don’t actually need to push the accelerator at all, for example, when going downhill or when there’s traffic ahead and you’re going to need to slow down anyway.


Find the shortest route 

In the past, I used to think it was smartest to find the quickest easiest route to get to the office, for example. But, as I started to try and use less fuel, I found that the quickest, easiest route was 2 kms longer than an alternative route. It was 35 kms compared to 33 kms, or about 6% longer. The alternative route was along a small road and through a village and took a little longer. However, I was surprised to find that I could drive this route and keep the same level of litres/100 kms, so just taking the shorter route on it’s own saved 6% of the fuel. So it’s worth checking the route you take. Is there a shorter route? It’s quite possible that just shorter implies less fuel consumption.


Avoid traffic

I find that hitting traffic makes my fuel consumption go up quickly. Why?

More braking and wasted accelerating For optimum fuel consumption you wouldn’t brake. When you brake it means that you had more speed than you needed and could have come off the accelerator earlier (unless you’d gathered speed from going downhill). When the traffic is heavy, I often find that I need to brake just because the traffic suddenly slows. Some of the acceleration that I’d gained is now wasted. If the traffic hadn’t of been there, I would have been able to flow along with less fuel consumption.

More standing starts When the traffic is really bad, it might be necessary to come to a stop more often than normal. As I mentioned in the point above, standing starts are dangerous periods in terms of potential fuel use. Having more of these is a real challenge for fuel consumption.

For using less fuel while driving, reducing fuel consumption, it’s important to try and drive at lower traffic times.


Other points for using less fuel while driving

Some more things I’m trying and experimenting with are listed below. I’m yet to determine how important these things are.

  • Keeping the air-conditioner off
  • Keeping the tyres properly inflated
  • Reducing the weight of things in the car

Here’s an interesting webpage with some tips & tricks for polluting less with automobiles.


How am I going?

My current car is a 2012 Volkwagen Passat 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology 170 BVM 6 (diesel). The onboard computer logs (among other things) the kms driven, the litres/100 kms and the time taken for each trip. It also has the normal action of switching off the engine when standing still in traffic (part of the BlueMotion Technology).

By using the kms and the litres/100 kms I’m able to calculate the total litres of fuel used for each trip from my French home to office. This is what’s logged it the graph below.

Using less fuel while driving

I’m glad to see the trend going down, clearly showing that I’m using less fuel while driving. You can see that;

  • On the 7th of July, 2014, I achieved the lowest usage so far – just 1.419 litres
  • In just 2 months, I’ve reduced the trend line from about 1.7 to about 1.55 litres per trip – that’s close to a 10% reduction already

To get my next 10% reduction, I’ll need to the average down to about 1.4 litres per trip. That’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve almost achieved that level once.

One thing I’m learning about myself – I love a challenge like this!!


Can you join me or help me?

Are you interested in using 10% less as well? Or giving me some useful advice or motivation? Do you have any good tips for using less fuel while driving?

We can communicate via the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks a million.

(Don’t forget about the category – use10percentless – and the hashtag #use10percentless)

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