Tips for driving efficiently:
1. Turn off your electrics.
Having any electrics in the car running while you’re driving have an effect on fuel efficiency. Even little things like having the defroster on, the radio playing, and charging phones can make a difference. Air conditioning takes a lot more fuel than you might think, so turn that and your posh seat warmers off if you don’t need them.
2. Avoid frequent stops.
Remember, your turbo diesel isn’t like a hybrid Toyota Prius where it’s beneficial to stop often to recharge the electric battery. Braking requires you to build up your speed again, making you stress the engine more, which leads to less fuel economy. Traffic jams and frequent stops can kill your fuel efficiency, so in some situations, driving by a less direct or slower route with less traffic on it might be a better choice if you want to save money at the pump.
3. Drive at efficient speeds.
Try to use the highway as much as possible. Your car has an efficiency “sweet spot” that depends on the vehicle you’re driving, but mostly you can only get your best efficiency while on the highway. Going too fast or too slow can lead to inefficient driving. Also, avoid driving in the right lane as much as possible, because you’ll be tempted to drive at faster-than-efficient speeds, unless staying in the slow lane is causing you to brake too frequently.
4. Pay attention to gear changes.
If you drive a manual transmission car, you should try to always be in the highest gear possible and be careful to not switch gears at high revs. You don’t really need the power you get from lower gears unless you’re passing someone. Most people miss an efficient gear change by a couple hundred RPMs each gear change, which can add up over periods of time to a lot of lost fuel. If you have an automatic transmission, you should use cruise control as much as possible because the computers in your car are much more diligent about keeping your RPMs in check than you are.
5. Make sure your glow plug is ready.
If you turn on the car while your glow plug light is still on in your dash, it can waste fuel, and if you do this frequently, it adds up.
The more fuel you save using these techniques means you don’t have to consume as much fuel or spit out as much CO2 as a petrol car will. Diesels, when used as designed, get much better mileage than petrol cars and give off less CO2 emissions. The Ford Focus TDCi only gives off 120g/km of CO2 and there are some cars that give off even less g/km of CO2. The more diesels, the more polar bears, it seems. So if you’re looking to save money at the pump and do some good for the planet as a whole while still having a great driving experience, look no further than a turbo diesel!