‘Don’t coast’: Drivers warned of common fuel-saving hack despite record fuel prices

Fuel: Matt Allwright shares tips on making your car more efficient

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Fuel prices continue to remain high with unleaded petrol hitting a new record of 191.23p per litre, while diesel drivers can expect an average price of 198.83p, a tiny drop since last weekend. As fuel protests swept the country earlier this week, drivers are doing everything they can to reduce the impact fuel is having on their lives.

Many livelihoods are being threatened by the record prices, hence why experts are urging motorists to change the way they drive.

While many of the changes may seem small, they can have a substantial impact on the amount of fuel a driver uses and their fuel efficiency.

Ian Fido, Head of Driver Training at RED Driving School, analysed how successful fuel-saving tips could be and whether drivers should adopt the techniques.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The ongoing fuel crisis has seen petrol and diesel costs soar, with the price to fill the tank of an average family car now costing approximately  £100 and fuel prices perilously close to £2 a litre.

“Whilst petrol is an essential and unavoidable cost for many, the pressure is on for drivers to save fuel where they can. 

“Don’t coast in neutral or with the clutch depressed.”

Coasting is when a vehicle is travelling in neutral or with the clutch pressed down, allowing the car to coast.

Rule 122 of the Highway Code advises drivers against coasting.

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It reduces driver control because engine braking is eliminated and vehicle speed will increase dramatically, especially when going downhill.

The increased use of the footbrake can reduce its effectiveness and steering response will be affected, particularly on bends and corners.

It may also be more difficult to select the appropriate gear when needed.

Mr Fido added: “Not only does this mean you aren’t in control of the vehicle, but also means that fuel is still being delivered to the engine.

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“If you remain in gear but take your foot off the accelerator, the fuel supply is cut off, reducing fuel consumption. 

“It’s no surprise that ‘good’ drivers who plan ahead, closely monitor the road ahead to assess any developing situation and are progressive with their use of controls, are also fuel-efficient drivers.

“When these tips are combined and actioned correctly, drivers can improve their fuel efficiency with a five to 20 percent improvement very possible across the board.”

Mr Fido suggested that drivers should look at other fuel-saving or “hypermiling” techniques to save fuel, including driving carefully.

He advised drivers to use the accelerator and the brake minimally, maximise speed and momentum gained rather than wasting it and select the appropriate gear for whatever situation they’re in. 

Considering decisions on the road with this in mind should be done whenever possible, but ensuring they still drive as safely as they can.

Even something as simple as air conditioning can sap up to 10 percent of engine power.

Motorists should turn the air con off when it’s not needed, instead being told to roll down the windows when driving at speeds under 40mph.

As with any fuel-saving advice, drivers should always remove any unnecessary weight as it can have an enormous toll on fuel consumption.

Removing roof racks or bike racks improves the aerodynamics of the car and can help save a substantial amount of fuel.

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