First Group run a driver programme called Drive Green of which there are two main principles behind the fuel efficiency elements.
- Turning the vehicle’s engine off when it is safe to do so rather than leaving it idling of long periods also will help save fuel, a common myth is that an engine uses more fuel to restart than it does when idling – this is simply not true. Although unless the vehicle is specifically designed with stop/start technology turning the engine at every junction or set of traffic lights would not be recommended as would likely lead to premature wear of certain components.
- Good anticipation which involves reading what is happening on the road ahead. If a hazard or obstacle arises on the road ahead then coming off the accelerator pedal early results in less fuel being consumed by the engine and also often results in avoiding the need of coming to a complete stop. By retaining this forward momentum more fuel is then saved in getting the vehicle back up to speed than if you were setting of from stationary and the larger the vehicle is the greater the benefit will be.
Due to the positive effect of the Drive Green programme First Group have saved an estimated 22,000 tonnes of CO2 over the last twelve months.
Here are some top tips on fuel efficiency from First Group’s experience:
- Ensure the vehicle is well maintained, tyres are the correct pressure and correctly aligned. Oil should be changed in line with manufacturer recommendations and oil levels should be set correctly.
- The use of air conditioning and other electrical items also contributes to fuel consumption, minimising usage will save fuel, but when using heater or air conditioners ensure all windows are closed in order to get the most benefit to avoid losing the warm or cool air.
- Weight is a key contributing factor to fuel consumption therefore it is best to avoid carrying unnecessary cargo.
Some general advice
- Ensure you are utilising the correct gear for the speed you are traveling, generally the higher the gear the lower the engine revs and the better the fuel economy.
- Travelling at excessive speed particularly on motorways or dual carriage ways further increases the negative effect of wind resistance which in turn leads to increase fuel consumption.