Even if an electric car is out of reach, you can still say no to wasted (petrol) energy when you drive, saving money at the pump and emissions from the atmosphere.

Heading off on holiday? Take it easy

Whether you're hitting the road to enjoy our beautiful country this summer, or staying close to home, you can make some big fuel savings by ditching some bad driving habits.

The AA has found that poor driving style can use almost 20% more fuel1 – that's a fifth extra on your fuel bill. Fuel-efficient driving these holidays will also keep you safe, as the best way to avoid wasting fuel is to drive at, or a little below, the speed limit; maintaining safe following distances so you can slow down early and brake smoothly; and slowing and accelerating gently.

After your driving style, one of the biggest fuel wasters is having an overweight car - it can use around 11% more fuel. Don't carry more than you have to. Unpack the tent, the bikes, and the prezzies when you arrive, so you're not still carrying anything when you nip to the dairy for more milk. 

Speaking of which, the most fuel-efficient form of driving is not driving, so think about planning your errands so you don’t make multiple trips where you could make one. If it’s a short trip, could you enjoy the sun and walk or bike?

Regular maintenance will ensure your car is running as efficiently as possible, and make sure you check your tyre pressure is correct before you set off. The AA study found that incorrect pressure could use 7.76% more fuel.

Switching the air con off can save you around 8% of your fuel, but it's still best to use it when driving above 50km/h, as opening the windows creates drag when you're driving faster.

When you're driving, think about the following

  • Vehicle maintenance - really important, as it ensures your vehicle is running as efficiently as possible.
  • Tyres - make sure you’re using the right tyres and check your tyre pressure monthly. Low tyre pressure can make your car work harder. As well as improving your fuel efficiency, this also keeps you safer.
  • Drive safe - many of the general efficient driving tips are also about safer driving:
    • Don’t speed - keep at or under the speed limit.
    • Look ahead - slow down early and maintain a safe following distance.
    • Corner smoothly - don't brake hard for corners and accelerate out of them. Instead, slow down gently, negotiate and exit corners on a light foot.
  • Stay cool - use air conditioning and close the windows when you’re on the highway or travelling over 50 km/h. Open windows and turn off the air conditioning when driving below 50 km/h.
  • Don’t idle - turn your car off if you're going to stop for more than 30 seconds. (Unless you drive an EV or your car is fitted with stop-start technology).
  • Reduce your load - take unnecessary items out of the car, remove roof racks/boxes and cycle racks if you’re not using them.

Get the full low-down on low-carbon ways to get around

AA test result findings

  • Poor driving style - used almost 20% more
  • Added weight and drag - used 11.11% more
  • Incorrect tyre pressures - used 7.76% more
  • Air conditioning off - saved 8.68%
  • Using fuel-efficient tyres - saved 4.71%

Source: AA(external link)