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Boosting fuel economy

It is possible to save fuel in our everyday lives by following a few practical tips that ensure efficient driving.

“The amount of savings could reach 20 per cent,” Ángel Suárez, an engineer at the Seat Technical Centre, said.

This expert pointed out that the guidelines are very easy to apply, but require that people change their daily driving habits. The most common driving mistakes that directly affect fuel consumption are hard braking in the city and driving in low gears on the motorway. He said that in the city, people tend to “accelerate and brake too suddenly, and that compromises consumption”. To avoid this, “it’s important to anticipate what’s ahead”, for example, when you approach a red light you should let the car slow itself down by using the engine brake and remove your foot from the accelerator.

When it comes to using the right gears, the Technical Centre engineer recommended driving in the highest gear possible. Once in second, his advice is to move up the gear range quickly. To illustrate this, at 40km/h you can already be driving in fourth gear, and in sixth gear at 60km/h.

However, you have to keep in mind that after reaching 80km/h, even though you are driving in sixth gear, “you have to press down on the accelerator, which means injecting more fuel into the engine” and therefore, greater consumption.

There are also a few guidelines for when you first set out. “You don’t have to warm up or rev up the engine. You just step on the clutch, start the ignition and pull away in first gear, and quickly engage second gear after travelling just a car length,” Suárez explained.

Before getting into the car it is important to perform a number of checks. The tyres have to be in the best possible condition, so you should verify their inflation pressure and avoid driving if they have insufficient tread depth. In addition, you should not over-load the vehicle. “You should always distribute the load evenly in the luggage compartment, and if you install a roof mount cargo box, remember that this will also compromise fuel consumption,” said the engineer.

Finally, another important point to consider is putting the car in neutral. “A lot of times we find that people slip the car into neutral when driving downhill. This is a mistake, as the motor is disconnected from the gearbox and it still generates consumption. The right thing to do is to use the engine brake, so, with the car in gear, you remove your foot from the accelerator and there won’t be any fuel consumption,” concluded Suárez.

By following these practical tips you will save money on fuel and furthermore, drive more safely and contribute towards safeguarding the environment.

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