After the parking sensors which have broken a rather too regular habit of reversing into things, my favourite gadget is the trip computer. One of its functions gives average fuel consumption on a journey and on my 13 mile journey to work I try and break my record for the most economical fuel consumptions ever. Here are a few things I've noticed from doing this that have a big effect on fuel economy.
- I get a better average MPG in summer. It seems that in cold weather fuel is used up to heat up the mechanical gubbins to work properly. Perhaps, I need to rustle up a really toasty sleeping bag for the car to wear on chilly winter nights! A wet road surface makes fuel consumption worse too so sticking to the surface must use up energy too.
- It normally makes sense to get up to the highest gear as soon as possible unless the car is labouring up a hill.
- Stopping at all will lower my overall fuel consummption. The beautiful Staverton bridge over the River Dart is a particular bugbear. It's single track roadway is controlled by lights. Perhaps I'm showing my ignorance about the science of traffic flow but I reckon I should get a 50% chance of a green light but this is rarely the case. I reckon I go through unhindered about once every 10 days.
- Accelerating should be avoided if at all possible. Beware this manoeuvre gobbles fuel!
- Getting stuck behind a slow moving vehicle can be a blessing if it maintains a steady speed but not if, like the ever present tractors which understandably are a feature of country lanes, it is so tardy that I'm forced to overtake it (see point above for reason why).
- Air conditioning use seems to make little difference to fuel economy even though expert opinion suggests otherwise.
Some websites suggest that the extra-urban fuel consumption for my car is 68.9 mpg. My best yet is 69.9 and so I think averaging 70 mpg is eminently possible. But all the conditions have to be right and in two years this hasn't happenened yet. So until it does I'll continue to be careful with my gear changing and not let my accelerator foot get carried away too oftern. I'll also have fun swearing at tractors, red lights and all the other things that get in the way of my hallowed and as yet unattainable average!