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During Covid-19 National restrictions apply for guidance on travel and driving please go here. Current UK Govt advice is to avoid travelling within the UK or internationally and stay at home, unless you are travelling for work, education or for other legally permitted reasons, including by car or other vehicles.

You may continue to rent a car or other vehicle as long as you are renting to travel for a legally permitted reason.

Plan your route, including any breaks, before setting out. Routes may be different as local areas make changes to enable social distancing.  Download the NHS COVID-19 app, if possible.

People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.

What is smarter driving?

We all know that road vehicles burn fuel and money, but did you know that by making some simple changes to the way you drive you can reduce the amount of fuel your car consumes?

Road transport in the UK is the third largest source of greenhouse gases and accounts for 20% of the UK's total carbon emissions. Air pollution, climate change and acid rain are just some of the problems caused by carbon emissions. Avoiding the use of your car altogether is a big ask, but we can do our bit to limit the amount of carbon we emit.

Smarter driving is about reducing fuel use and thinking differently about how and when you use a car.  Becoming fuel efficient will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but will also save you money.

How much is your car really costing you?

Many people think about the cost of driving as the cost of fuel, but it’s really much more than that. In addition to the upfront cost of your car, you need to think about insurance, vehicle tax, servicing, general maintenance and parking charges. Every journey you make with your car costs you money – probably more than you think.

 

During Covid-19 National restrictions apply for guidance on travel and driving please go here. Current UK Govt advice is to avoid travelling within the UK or internationally and stay at home, unless you are travelling for work, education or for other legally permitted reasons, including by car or other vehicles.

You may continue to rent a car or other vehicle as long as you are renting to travel for a legally permitted reason.

Plan your route, including any breaks, before setting out. Routes may be different as local areas make changes to enable social distancing.  Download the NHS COVID-19 app, if possible.

People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.

Consider doing it differently

This video is helpful in demonstrating smarter driving [external link]. 

If you want to cut the cost of driving and become more fuel efficient then read our helpful tips below.

Replace some of your car journeys with a different method of transport:

  • Can you swap short car journeys with a walk instead? This is not only free, but good for your general health and fitness too.
  • Do you live close to a bus stop or train station? If so, then why not try replacing longer journeys with public transport? Seasonal tickets provide a cost effective method of transport for regular users.

Avoid short journeys

A cold engine uses twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take up to 5 miles to become effective. Our bodies take a lot less time to warm up. By replacing short trips with a walk instead you can get some of your recommended 30 minutes of activity a day and save some money on fuel.

Trip chaining

This is the most effective way of reducing your environmental impact without actually changing the way you drive. It’s simple: think ahead and combine several jobs into one trip. On your way to pick up the kids, you could stop off in town to pick up some food for dinner and pop to the hairdressers. By doing more in one trip you reduce the distance travelled, which saves you time, money and fuel.

Try different driving techniques

By adopting some simple driving techniques below, you can reduce your fuel consumption dramatically.

Here is another video that can save you money driving smarter [external link]

  • Drive smoothly – Heavy breaking and pulling away too fast uses up to 60% more fuel. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to conserve your fuel.
  • Anticipate traffic flow – Look ahead and keep sufficient distance from the vehicle in front to avoid sudden breaking.
  • Drive at an appropriate speed – Driving at 50 mph instead of 70 mph can improve fuel economy by 25% (directgov.uk).
  • Avoid overtaking – By accelerating quickly to overtake you often gain a little time, but you also use up more fuel in doing so.
  • Shift up as soon as possible – By avoiding high revs you can drive more economically. For petrol/LPG cars, change up a gear before 2,500 RPM and for diesel cars before 2000 RPM. Be prepared to skip gears to suit your speed and terrain.
  • Don’t idle – Switch off your engine if you’re stationary for more than a minute or two. Sitting idle with your engine burning wastes fuel, money and it pollutes the air.

Maintain the condition of your car

Have your vehicle serviced regularly; well-maintained cars tend to run more efficiently. Remember to check tyre pressure too as under inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by 40%.

Remove unnecessary baggage

Remove clutter from your boot; take the roof rack off and get rid of any other unnecessary items from your car. Extra weight on the car increases air resistance which increases the amount of fuel you consume.

For information on how to become an even smarter driver, read about the benefits of car sharing.

During Covid-19 national restrictions apply as of 5 Nov 2020.  Specific UK Gov guidelines around car sharing can be found here.

(5 Nov 2020 UK Gov National Restrictions) If you are car-sharing then you must not share the car with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. For example, if car sharing is reasonably necessary as part of your work.

It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys. Where it is essential to car share, you can reduce the risk of transmission by:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • minimise the group size at any one time
  • opening windows for ventilation
  • travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
    facing away from each other
  • considering seating arrangements to maximise the distance between people in the vehicle
  • cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products - make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering.

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