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Auto advice: Feeling the pinch at the fuel pump? These driving tips will help you save on petrol and diesel

Our motoring editor answers your questions to help your tank of fuel go that little bit further

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"Yes, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan was correct when he pointed out that going faster uses more fuel."

"Yes, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan was correct when he pointed out that going faster uses more fuel."

"Yes, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan was correct when he pointed out that going faster uses more fuel."

Does my driving style have much of an impact on fuel efficiency? Easing gently on and off the accelerator can have a big impact on the amount of fuel you consume — but also remember, aggressive driving not only uses more fuel but can hasten the wear and tear on your car, too. Avoid sudden increases and decreases in your speed and use cruise control when on long, straight stretches like a motorway. Cruise control ensures the engine and transmission are operating in the most efficient modes. The more often a car changes speeds, the more that will have an impact on your fuel and your wallet. Don’t linger in low gears — getting into the highest gear you can, at the lowest-possible speed, will save you fuel.

What about speed?
Yes, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan was correct when he pointed out that going faster uses more fuel. Reducing your speed from 120km per hour to 100km/h will result in a decrease of more than 20pc in your fuel consumption, but crucially will add very little to your journey time.

Does using air conditioning really make a difference?
Yes, it does, so it is best to use air conditioning sparingly if you are trying to conserve your fuel. If you are travelling at low speeds, it is better to open a window, but once driving over 50km/h, air conditioning is the better option. Also it’s not simply what you use in the car that impacts your fuel consumption — so, too, does what is in the car. Clearing out unnecessary items from your vehicle can lessen the load and reduce your fuel consumption, so remove all non-essential items — including roof racks, all car clutter, and don’t forget to include the boot!

Should I switch my engine off when stopped in traffic or at the lights?
Most modern cars have stop-start technology so the system automatically shuts off the engine when the car is stationary — but if you don’t have a car with this feature, avoid idling your engine for more than 10 seconds, as this emits more CO2 and uses more fuel than restarting your engine. So for short stops, it makes sense to turn the car off in order to minimise fuel use and emissions.

Top Tip
Keeping your car regularly serviced will save you money in the long run. Check tyre pressures regularly — any imbalance in the tyre pressure can affect your fuel efficiency — and ensure your tyres are properly inflated.

Email sundaymotors@independent.ie

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