Ever get the feeling you should be getting more out of your tank of fuel? Having a car with a fuel efficient engine, like Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost range, is a great start, but how you drive it makes a big difference.

Poor driving habits are just like pouring money down the drain. As consumers buy fuel efficient vehicles in record numbers to save money and benefit the environment, few know that smart driving habits are really the best way to economise.

Ford studies have investigated the influence of driving style on fuel consumption and CO2 per kilometre driven and found that by adopting an eco-driving style, drivers can slash both their fuel bill and their emissions by as much as 25 per cent compared with normal-average driving behaviour.

Small changes to the way you drive can have a big impact on fuel economy and improve road safety at the same time.

“People go to extraordinary lengths to save money but then they jump in their cars and waste fuel,” said Andy Taylor, director, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford Middle East and Africa.

“Eco-driving not only saves you fuel and money, it also benefits the environment, reduces driving stress and can make our roads safer for everyone.”

Here are some simple tips that can help you be a greener, more fuel efficient and relaxed driver.

Drive smoothly

Look far ahead and anticipate road situations to smoothly adjust your speed, accelerating and braking. Aggressive driving such as rapid acceleration, speeding and braking can lower your fuel mileage significantly.

So keep constant speed, accelerate smoothly, brake softer and earlier, and stay in one lane while it’s safe to do so. Not only do these anticipatory driving techniques save fuel, they enable more relaxed and safer driving and can prolong the life of your brakes and tyres.

Use cruise control

Using cruise control on long stretches of highway helps maintain speed and conserve fuel. Activating your cruise control keeps you from unthinkingly driving faster and with lower fuel efficiency, maintains a constant speed, and avoids using additional fuel while accelerating.

Try to set your cruise control at your vehicle’s most fuel-efficient speed, as long as it’s at or below the legal limit and safe to do so.

Lighten the load

Reducing the amount of cargo you keep in your boot or back seat can improve your fuel efficiency as less energy is needed for acceleration. Try to travel as light as possible, keep only the most important items in the vehicle.

Slow down

Speeding wastes lots of fuel. By driving 90km/h instead of 100km/h you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 10-15 per cent. Also, aim for a constant speed. Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine, emptying the tank faster.

Reduce aerodynamic drag

Your vehicle is designed for good aerodynamics – but attaching a carrier or bike to the roof adds more wind resistance. If you spend lots of time on the highway or are planning a long trip, try to transport extra items inside the vehicle or attached to the rear.

Keeping your windows and sunroof closed can lower wind resistance too. You will have less drag, and better fuel economy.

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