Drivers told they should accelerate HARDER to save fuel and travel further on a tank – here’s why and how

THE cost of fuel has been slowly returning to normal following the recent spikes, but it remains a major cost for all motorists.

Saving fuel and money is usually associated with driving slowly and smoothly, but some university research suggests otherwise.


University research suggests that getting up to speed more quickly will save you fuelCredit: Getty Images

When getting up to speed most people assume that accelerating gently over a longer period is the most fuel-efficient way.

However, research by various universities and researchers all suggests accelerating harder is better.

The research was analysed by Select Car Leasing and Graham Conway, the firm’s managing director said:  “When you look at the science behind fuel economy, it runs contrary to what the vast majority of people might expect. 

“As a rough rule of thumb, taking longer to get up to speed does not use less fuel, because your engine is having to use fuel for a longer period of time than if you get up to speed with traffic more briskly.”

However, he pointed out: “Going hell for leather off the lights with your foot to the floor won’t help fuel economy.

“Aiming for two-thirds of maximum throttle while getting up through the gears as quickly as you can is recommended by many.”

All the research suggests that the end goal is cruising in the highest gear with the lowest revs to save the most on fuel when you’re at your desired speed. 

But experts suggest that the sooner you get to that cruising speed, the better, keeping the revs as low as possible while doing so.

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In 2015, experts from Cairo University looked at fuel consumption when a Kia hatchback with a 1.6-litre petrol engine was driven in three different ways – ‘aggressive’, ‘normal’ and ‘mild’.

They found that ‘the fuel consumed decreased as the degree of aggressiveness increased due to the fact that the vehicle time spent during acceleration was less.’

Last year, experts from two Polish universities – Opole University of Technology and Wrocław University of Science and Technology – came to the same conclusions.

The research looked at the ‘acceleration intensity on energy consumption and drive efficiency for a passenger vehicle,’ using a Toyota C-HR with a 1.2-litre petrol engine. 

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The car was accelerated from 20mph to 75mph and, again, the academics found that going easy on the accelerator was not the best way to maximise fuel efficiency.

Speaking in 2005, Mark Dougherty, a professor at Dalarna University, said: “It’s not commonly understood by people who drive.

“They think that the way to get the best fuel economy is to accelerate very gently, but that proves not to be the case.

“The best thing is to accelerate briskly and shift.

“Don’t give it everything the car has, but push down when you’re going to shift, using maybe two-thirds of the available power, and change through the gears relatively quickly.”

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