Driving lesson

Is it possible to reduce the cost of driving?

Yes, gasoline and diesel prices are skyrocketing, but there are plenty of ways to help reduce the cost of filling the tank, writes John Hearne

Last July, the national average petrol price was 153.9c. Cost of diesel 143.5c. Last month the equivalent figures were 213.2c and 205c respectively. This is an increase of 75% in the price of gasoline and 70% in the price of diesel.

The thing about driving is that it’s hard to cut back. You cannot change the distance
between home and work or home and school. Carpooling has never really taken off in this country and public transport? If it was an option, we would already do it.

But there are still plenty of free and inexpensive ways to reduce the amount of fuel you use.

SEAI’s Tom Halpin says that with just a little care, we can all reduce our fuel consumption when driving.

“A less aggressive, fuel-efficient driving style could save you up to 10% on your fuel costs,” he says. “If you think that doesn’t sound like much, then just ask yourself: if you could buy a liter of
gasoline for €1.89 rather than paying €2.10 would you? As fuel costs rise, reducing speed and acceleration can make the difference. Try to drive between 65 km/h and 80 km/h when safe and feasible — or 100 km/h on a
highway. In addition, you will have a less stressful life
journey.”

How many people are traveling with a full set of golf clubs in the trunk? Or a toolbox? According to the US Department of Energy, an extra 100 pounds in the car will reduce miles per gallon by up to 2%. While you’re at it, remove any unused roof racks or roof boxes. They create additional wind resistance and thus increase fuel
consumption. Travel light.

Failure to maintain tire pressure is one of the most common causes of poor fuel economy. Under-inflated tires create rolling resistance as the car moves, causing the engine to work harder. The correct tire pressure is also important for safety.

Anyone who has passed their driving test in the
recent past will know that you may now be asked about tire pressure as part of the process. The maid
levels will be listed in the manual, and a decent gauge will tell you when you’re right. In the United States, they are called jack-rabbit start. A hallmark of aggressive driving is when you rush forward sharply. Closely
related is the hard brake, when you decelerate suddenly and quickly. These
are surefire ways to waste substantial amounts of
essence.

You’ll be much more fuel efficient if you drive smoothly, read the road ahead, and eliminate sudden jerks or sudden drops in speed. Also tailgating is always a bad idea. It’s not safe, and all that sudden braking eats fuel.

The more dash gadgets you have lit, the more fuel you will burn. Air conditioning at this time of year, especially at low speeds, can consume gas faster than you might think. Instead, open the window. Don’t completely ignore air conditioning; you should run it at least once a week throughout the year to keep the system in good shape.

Any other electrical load should be kept to a minimum. Switch off your heated rear window and
demisting blowers when you don’t need them.

Cabotage involves disengaging the car and letting it roll downhill. The logic is that you allow the momentum and/or gravity of the car to keep moving and keep your fuel in the tank. Contrary to what one might think, this is not a good idea. For one, you lose the ability to suddenly accelerate out of sticky situations. For another, you lose engine braking, which takes some of the load off the brakes as you move downhill.

Because cabotage involves giving up some control over the car, experts say it’s inadvisable. And it probably won’t save you fuel. In a modern car with electronic engine management, the fuel and ignition systems are efficiently combined and controlled by the electronic control unit. Release the throttle and the unit cuts fuel to the injectors anyway, so there’s nothing to be gained by coasting. And with modern diesel engines, the story is the same. They also cut fuel when you take your foot off the accelerator.

Once you have started the engine, start gently without waiting. This will reduce excessive fuel consumption and pollution. Even if you only wait 30 seconds, it is more economical to shut down the engine and restart it if necessary.
Incidentally, many newer cars have an auto stop/start feature, which means you don’t have to think
about that, just make sure it’s enabled on your car.

In these troubled times, it’s easy to convince yourself that reducing your car’s maintenance is a good way to save money. Don’t; it’s a false economy. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. He keeps the
engine efficiency and a full service record will help sell the car if and when it does. And also make sure you are using the correct specification of engine oil. Consult the manual for more details. A little planning should also allow you to combine short trips and reduce daily mileage. Is it possible to drop off the kids and shop in the same race?

While prices at the pump are exorbitant everywhere, there is always value to buy. Check out pumps.ie to find the cheapest fuel in your area. It’s amazing the price differences you’ll find between gas stations that may be hundreds of meters apart. Also, break the euro habit. Don’t buy for €20 or €50. It desensitizes you to price changes.
Instead, buy in liters. This way you will have a much better idea of ​​the true cost of fuel going into the car.

Of course, you can stop driving altogether. If walking isn’t an option, cycling just might be. Besides the health benefits, the taxpayer will even contribute to the cost of the bike. Under the bike-to-work program, you save on the costs of cycling to work because your reimbursements are deducted from your salary
before tax, USC and PRSI are deducted. This means that someone with the highest tax rate will save almost half the cost of a new bike and its equipment.

The scheme applies to bicycles and equipment up to a value of €1,250 and to pedelecs or electric bicycles and
associated safety equipment up to €1,500.

Best way to save gas? Leave the car at home.