WITH petrol and diesel prices soaring it is becoming more and more expensive to drive these days.
There has been much talk about the need for a cheaper more eco-friendly alternative to fuel and the demand for electric cars in recent years.
However, scientists do not seem to be any closer to finding an environmentally-friendly replacement for fuel and critics say it will be many years until electric-powered vehicles become more affordable and mainstream.
Therefore, it might be useful to know that there is already one simple way of reducing your fuel consumption.
Jeff Lucas, who runs local driving school Go Driving Academy, has launched a two-hour course for qualified drivers to help them cut their fuel costs by up to 30 per cent.
Jeff teaches all his learner drivers how to drive in an eco-friendly manner but after the recent rise in fuel costs he thought it would be a good idea to offer a course that can help qualified drivers lower their fuel consumption.
As well as teaching drivers to be more fuel efficient, the Go Fuel Saver course aims to reduce repair and maintenance costs which have also increased with the 2.5 per cent rise in VAT.
It does this by teaching you to drive smoothly with gentle acceleration and breaking, where possible, which will put less stress on the engine and brakes and help prolong tyre life.
Jeff said: “Eco-driving for learners was introduced by the DSA a few years ago so newly qualified drivers are already benefiting from lower driving costs.
“But, based on my own research and backed by findings from the AA and other driving authorities, most people who have been driving for 5 or more years will be spending between 10 per cent and 30 per cent more each year than they need to.
“This means that if you drive a standard family car travelling 12,000 miles a year at an average of 45mpg you could be saving of up to £390, and that’s just on fuel. When you add in reduced maintenance costs as well you could potentially be saving in excess of £500 a year on every car in the household.”
The Go Save course is split into two one-hour sessions. The first part involves assessing a person’s style of driving in-line with eco-driving guidelines and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
You will be given a sheet showing your eco-driver rating, which is either red, amber or green, for different areas of driving such as awareness and anticipation, acceleration and breaking, gear selection, use of mirrors and use of speed.
Red means you are poor or not fuel efficient at a particular area, amber means you are average and green signifies your are good or fuel efficient at that area of driving.
After this Jeff will teach you some techniques to make you a better eco-driver.
Between the first and second sessions you will get the chance to practice these techniques in your own vehicle.
During the second session Jeff will assess your driving style again and provide you with another sheet showing what progress you have made as an eco-driver.
After having a go at the course myself I thought it was easy to learn and hopefully beneficial in the long run.
After the first part of the course I was told my driving style was similar to most drivers. Apart from my use of mirrors which was graded as poor and my use of speed, which was marked down as good, I was scored as average for every other area. ....continued on page 19
Jeff then taught me different techniques to make me a better eco-driver such as checking for situations ahead of me so I could adjust my driving accordingly.
For example, if there was a car a hundred or so meters in front of me, rather than carrying on at the same speed and breaking sharply, I learnt to let off the accelerator slightly and gradually brake. By doing this you burn less fuel.
Other techniques I learnt include changing gears at around 2500 revs and driving in the highest gear for the conditions which again help burn less fuel and give you more miles per gallon.
I also learnt to keep the car moving where possible. So if I was approaching a junction, rather than coming to a stop, I would keep the car rolling in first gear and pull out if it was safe to do so. That way you do not lose the energy the car has built up to get it moving.
By the end of the course my eco-driver rating had improved significantly and I was marked down in the green for every area.
Overall, I believe the course was easy to learn and hopefully beneficial in the long run.
Jeff insists eco-driving can be easily learnt by everyone regardless of their age, ability or experience.
He said: “It’s not about teaching someone how to drive because they are already experienced drivers. It’s about giving them updated coaching, tips and helpful techniques that probably weren’t around when they learnt which can make a considerable difference to running costs as well as road safety and driver stress.
“After taking the course, drivers will feel more in control of their cars and the situations around them, they will be more relaxed and get greater enjoyment from their driving, their journey times will be no longer than before and crucially they will be saving money every time they get behind the wheel.”
The Go Fuel Saver course costs £55 when given on a one to one basis or £35 when shared with another driver.
For further information and booking call Jeff on 07500 500 420.
Pocklington Post readers can get a £5 discount off the course if they quote this article.