Soaring fuel costs make green driving essential

The Institute of Advanced Motorists is urging drivers to adopt fuel-saving techniques or pay the price at the pumps as the £6 gallon arrives.

Fuel sales dropped 3.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year earlier, which the IAM suggests means people are using their cars less, but further significant savings can be achieved simply by changing driving styles, the organisation says.

IAM chief executive Simon Best, writing in the members’ magazine, said: “Green driving techniques will improve fuel efficiency by up to ten per cent.

“In other words, if the monthly price of filling up is typically two tanks at £70 each, an advanced driver can save £14 a month, or £168 a year.

“Advanced driving courses can also lead to significant insurance discounts; an important factor with insurance premiums set to rise by 35 per cent this year.”

“Spain reduced its speed limit recently to save fuel but we don’t think such radical measures are necessary.

“The best fuel-saver is a light right foot and anticipation of the road ahead.”

The IAM has some easy tips to reduce fuel consumption:

* Read the road ahead – try to anticipate the traffic around you, for example at traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions to reduce the need for hard acceleration and braking and use cruise control for motorway driving.

* Stick to the speed limit – reducing speed from 85mph to 70mph can save up to a litre of petrol every 20 miles.

* Switch off the engine – if you are going to stop for some time at a level crossing or slow-changing lights. Small cars use 1.5p of petrol every minute and medium-sized cars lose petrol and money at double this rate.

* Lighten the load – excess baggage or an empty roof box will increase your fuel consumption. Check that the contents of your boot are essential, and remove the roof box while not in use.

* Check your tyres – under-inflated tyres will increase your fuel consumption by up to three per cent. Check tyre pressures when the tyres are cold, at least once a month.