Reducing your carbon footprint when driving. Saving fuel

Business Insights

We have witnessed huge prices increases in petrol and diesel in recent months. These prices are driving many motorists off the road. It’s more important than ever to now look at ways to reduce your fuel consumption, become a greener driver, save money, and help lower your carbon footprint.

There are a lot of elements that can impact how much fuel your vehicle uses. There are inherent things you can’t change, excluding replacing your vehicle, such as engine size, performance characteristics, aerodynamics, if it’s 4wd or 2wd etc.

Whatever vehicle you drive, you need to make sure you give it the best opportunity to maximise its fuel range. Below are some elements you as a driver can consider to reduce your fuel usage.

Setting the vehicle up:

Weight – While you can’t control the design weight of a vehicle, there are lots of things you can do to save additional, unnecessary weight. It’s surprising how much people carry around in their vehicle, which they simply don’t need. It may only be small, but every kilo of additional weight you have in your vehicle will impact how much fuel it uses.

Tyres – Underinflated tyres are not only dangerous, they do also contribute to reduced efficiency. Refer to your vehicle manufacturer handbook to know what pressure your tyres should be. If you need to carry increased weight – make sure you adjust the pressures accordingly.

Aerodynamics – Poor aerodynamics have a dramatic impact on fuel economy and performance. While you can’t change the shape of your vehicle, you can do things to help improve how it slips through the air. Make sure you remove roof boxes when they are not in use. The same goes for roof bars. If they are not needed, take them off.

Servicing – A poorly serviced vehicle overtime will not perform as well as it should. It won’t be as efficient as it can be, and it will not return optimum fuel economy. A poor service history will reduce the value of a vehicle when you decide to sell it and increases the chances of a breakdown. Make sure your vehicle is serviced in accordance with manufactures service intervals.

Eco Mode – Many vehicles have an eco-mode to help you save fuel. It will advise when to change gear; it will switch the engine off in traffic plus a range of other things depending on the vehicles make and model. Taking note of eco-mode is quick and easy and is great if you want to save fuel.

Setting the driver up:

You can have a perfectly set up vehicle, but you will be wasting fuel if you’re not that aware as a driver. The driver has a significant impact on the vehicle's fuel economy. These points below will help you save fuel.

Speed - Probably the most obvious one. Lowering your speed will save you fuel. This is especially true on motorways. The faster you go, the thicker the air becomes. More resistance means your vehicle has to work harder. This increases fuel. Lowering your speed by just a few mph can make a difference. Its easy for speed to creep up on the motorway. If you have a speed alert or limiter fitted, then set it at the maximum speed you wish to travel minus a few mph! This way, you won't inadvertently drive faster than needed.

Forward planning – By looking further ahead, much further ahead and planning, you will become much more proactive in your driving style. A proactive driving style helps you observe hazards and plan more effectively instead of reacting to them at the last minute. As a result, you will less likely be making sudden unplanned jabs of the brakes and using excessive acceleration. An advanced driving course will help you develop your forward planning and observation skills. A smoother, more proactive driving style will save fuel.

Travel Times and Routes – Do you really need to drive at rush hour? If not, leave at a different time. The less time you spend sitting in traffic, the better your fuel economy will be. Also, have you selected the best route? Avoiding town centres will not only help reduce congestion, but it will also help you get from A to B with as little fuel as possible.

Alternatives – Do you even need to drive? Since Covid, we have lived in a world of Zoom and Teams meetings. It’s no longer necessary to drive to see someone, especially if it’s a business meeting.

By setting up your vehicle and looking at your driving styles and habits, you can make significant cost savings and reduce your carbon footprint.

Produced by Drivers Domain UK, which offers a range of bespoke driving courses for UK motorists. Visit