January 2022


The two driving forces behind motorists choosing fully electric or hybrid vehicles are; economy and environmental impact.

Although EV and hybrids are currently more expensive to purchase, their running costs can be significantly lower than traditional petrol or diesel cars.

Far fewer hydrocarbons and CO2 is emitted from electric and hybrid vehicles making them a better bet for the environment.

1.65 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2021 according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 11.6% of these were fully electric, 8.9% non-plug-in hybrids and 7% plug-in hybrids, with the remaining 72.5% petrol, diesel and their mild-hybrid counterparts

Read our recent blog all about Mild-Hybrids >

In fact, the number of fully electric vehicles sold in the UK in 2021 was greater than the total number sold in the previous 5 years!

But why is the vast majority of cars on our roads that are still fueled by petrol or diesel? How does an environmentally-conscious motorist reduce their impact without having to make the transition to hybrid or electric?

To answer that question is to answer the question ‘how can I reduce my fuel consumption?’.

The biggest influence on fuel consumption is the type of car you drive, as bigger and older vehicles with thirstier engines are going to take more fuel to power you for the same distance as a newer, lighter vehicle would.

But it turns out that even with these fixed variables there are a number of things we can do to improve fuel consumption and thus environmental impact.

Maintenance

No car is 100% efficient. A lot of the energy produced by the combustion of fuel in the engine gets lost as heat, noise, vibration and overcoming resistance and inertia. Only a small part of it gets to turn the wheels and move your car forwards.

Keeping your car well maintained minimises unnecessary losses in efficiency, meaning that it takes less energy (fuel) to generate the same amount of power at your wheels.

Engine oil, wheel alignment, even the electric systems can have a huge impact on efficiency, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of car service schedules.

Just because it’s still driving safely, doesn’t mean that it’s operating optimally.

Our recommendation is to have your car serviced annually, and book in for a mid-year check up to get ahead of any incoming issues that could be hampering your fuel economy.

We offer a FREE vehicle health check to all our customers. Click here to find out more and book in for one >

Keeping it light​

You've no doubt noticed how different a car feels to drive when it's just you on board compared with when you have multiple passengers. 

We know that extra weight takes more fuel to move from A to B and although we can't always get rid of our passengers, there may be another weight you're carrying that could be removed, such as equipment stashes in the boot. 

Don't be a drag

Permanently attached roof racks or boxes add an extra burden on fuel economy as the car has to overcome additional air resistance. 

Efficient aerodynamics are carefully designed into the shape of your car, and roof attachments severely disrupt the flow of air, taking up more fuel to cut through it.

If you’re not using your roof rack or box, remove it to cut down on the drag.

Don't be idle

Most modern vehicles have a stop / start system that reduces the amount of fuel burned when idling. 

Make sure that this is switched on and that if you are idling and notice that doesn't kick in after a few seconds, you manually turn odd the engine to prevent unnecessary CO2 emissions. 

Stay smooth

Smooth accelerating and braking makes a big difference to your fuel consumption. 

The energy required to accelerate hard is much more than when you gradually increase your speed, and heavy braking simply heats up the brakes and tyres which can also increase sear on those components.

If you drive a manual car keep an eye on your gear shift indicator which will tell you the most efficient time to change is. 

If you are in an automatic keep the selector in Drive rather than Sport mode if that’s an option, as this will give you better fuel economy.

Power drains

Modern cars come laden with electric and mechanical aids and devices; air con systems, demisters, heaters, multi-media… some of these will be essential to your driving experience and safety, but they can sometimes be left on when they could be switched off.

Check your rear windscreen heater isn’t permanently on and monitor you heater settings to make sure you’re not draining the power when you could be saving fuel.

Speed

The faster you drive the more fuel you consume, because the resistance the car has to overcome doesn’t increase proportionally. 

For example, increasing speed from 70mph to 80mph can increase fuel consumption by up to 25%.

Not only are these tips good for reducing the impact of CO2 emissions on the environment, they are also great ways to reduce the cost of driving.

If your car is due a service soon give us a call here at Thame Cars and find out about our services. We offer a range of plans to suit your budget and goals, and use a transparent traffic light system to help you understand maintenance issues that may be building up.

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