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Eco Driving - How to Save Money, Improve Your Driving and Be Kind to The Environment

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Eco Driving - How to Save Money, Improve Your Driving and Be Kind to The Environment

Sally Driver
November 18, 2012

Eco driving is the term that is used to describe a fuel efficient style of driving. The aim of Eco driving is to use less fuel whilst travelling the same distance. Eco driving has many benefits including reduced costs, lowering, harmful emissions into the atmosphere as well as a more relaxing, comfortable and often a safer drive.driving style, for most, has remained relatively unchanged for a number of years whilst, in the same period, vehicles have developed significantly. Modern engines and gearboxes have resulted in vehicles that can be considerably more efficient than in the past if driven appropriately.

There are a number of basic driving techniques that can be adopted in order to improve fuel efficiency, however it is important to realise that these techniques can only truly be learned and permanently embedded into a driving style through driving lessons with an approved driving instructor (ADI). The driving instructor who undertakes this training should have received additional training, or approved Continuous Professional Development in Eco driving techniques. All Eco driving techniques are underpinned by the 'Safety First' rule and it is important to realise that safety should never be compromised in order to save fuel. Notwithstanding, following the Eco driving techniques outlined in this article will not only improve fuel efficiency, but will also contribute to a safer, more comfortable and relaxed drive.

The first rule of Eco driving is anticipation. It is important to look well ahead whilst driving and to predict the traffic flowahead. Periods of acceleration and high engine revs followed by heavy braking will increase fuel usage. If ample space is kept in front whilst driving there is more time to respond to the traffic flow and even out the 'on / off' style of driving. Maintaining a constant and even speed where possible will reduce the need to accelerate after braking and therefore cut the amount of fuel that is used. Keeping space ahead and anticipating the actions of other road users also enables the driver to use the momentum of the vehicle to keep with the flow of traffic.

A good example of this would be looking well ahead to see a very slow moving queue of traffic; rather than driving under power up to the queue and then braking, coming off the gas early, and using the momentum that the vehicle has, will reduce the amount of fuel that is used. Many modern engine management systems cut the supply of fuel to the engine completely in this set of circumstances. There is also a chance that the queue will be moving again by the time it is reached, meaning that only gentle acceleration is required to maintain speed with that of the traffic.

The next technique that your driving instructor will develop with you during any Eco driving lesson is to ensure that, as much as possible a constant and steady speed is kept throughout the journey and that the correct gear is used. Hard acceleration and high revs have a huge negative impact on fuel consumption. Smooth driving at a steady speed will increase mpg and will also make for a much less stressful drive and therefore a safer drive too In terms of gear selection; it goes without saying that high revs will lead to drastically increased fuel consumption, it is therefore more desirable to change up the gearbox early. Obviously the type of vehicle and the road layout will have an impact on this, but as a general rule the higher the gear the lower the revs and therefore the less fuel used. It is important when considering this that safety is never compromised, there are times when a low gear, hard acceleration, and heavy revs are appropriate, overtaking may be an example of this. Your Eco driving lessons will ensure that your safety and that of other road users is never compromised.

There are other techniques that can be employed as part of the Eco driving culture. Ensuring the correct tyre pressure for the vehicles loading is important, low tyre pressure will lead to an increase in fuel consumption as well as other 'common sense' practices such as not carrying excess or unnecessary weight and not overusing the vehicles electrical systems such as air conditioning.

Have you already passed your driving test? Then we recommend that you strongly consider taking Eco driving lessons. By taking Eco driving lessons you will not only save money on fuel; the wear and tear and running costs of your vehicle will improve greatly too saving you lots more money over the years, plus you will be kind to the environment and have a more comfortable and safer drive.

For more information on learning to drive, or Eco Driving Lessons visit our driving school website: http://www.acclaimdriving.com/learn-to-drive/the-company/

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