It is scary to switch off the car engine when sitting at traffic lights. But that’s what I was advised to do this week. If I did that at those lights where I know it will take ages for them to change and adopted a few other tips from professional driving instructor Denise Shepherd, then she calculated I’d save £250 a year off my fuel bills.
Drive With Confidence tutor Denise is one of the people involved in bringing home to drivers not only ways to save money by saving fuel, but also how this helps the planet by cutting carbon emissions.
In Denise’s own vehicle, which has duel control; I drove round the same circuit of city roads, twice.
My first foray showed on the monitor on her dashboard that I’d consumed fuel at a rate of 43.4 miles per gallon. On the second round that has improved to 45.2 miles per gallon.
‘Slow down when approaching lights,’ was the main message from Denise who operates generally around the Falkirk, Cumbernauld, Airdrie areas.
This was a preview for those people who’ve signed up for a similar Fuel Efficient Driving (FED) experience tomorrow and Sunday (22 and 23 October 2011) at the Glasgow Science Centre.
Over the next two months teams of people with similar professional background to Denise, will be explaining this to individual drivers in a personal training session. Most sessions cost £40, but early birds can save some money on this too if they get one of the £12 sessions of 50 minutes.
Said Energy Saving Trust transport manager Ian Murdoch: ‘Fuel Efficient Driving not only leaves you with more cash in your pocket but also a smaller carbon footprint. I urge anyone living in Glasgow to pop along this weekend to Glasgow Science Centre to find out a bit more. For anyone who can’t make it, give us a ring and we can book you onto a Fuel Efficient Driver Training Session. It’s amazing how people can save fuel and money by adopting a slightly different driving technique.’
Sign up on Saturday or Sunday or contact Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012 to book a session.
By approaching traffic lights more slowly you are in a lower gear and so saving fuel. It also means the traffic behind has to slow down too which is an unexpected safety bonus. Anticipating road conditions and other road users’ moves, allows you to drive more smoothly. Rather than last minute braking, decelerate smoothly by easing off on the accelerator as early as possible. This allows the car to decelerate using engine braking. With the car in gear and the accelerator released, a modern car uses virtually no fuel at all. This form of braking is also gentler on the car and its occupants.
The Energy Saving Scotland advice network aims to reach 250,000 people every year and can be contacted for free impartial advice on: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland