Are you a fuel-efficient driver?

Buteman editor Craig Borland awaits tips on fuel efficient driving from Dugald Campbell of the Energy Saving Trust.
Buteman editor Craig Borland awaits tips on fuel efficient driving from Dugald Campbell of the Energy Saving Trust.

Filling up your car with fuel isn’t exactly the cheapest thing in the world - but thanks to Fyne Futures, we’ve picked up some tips this week on how to be as fuel-efficient a driver as possible.

The Rothesay-based social enterprise, which has been charged with delivering the Zero Waste Bute project on the island over the next two years, put its staff through a short training course this week aimed at showing how not to waste the petrol or diesel they put in their vehicles - and we were invited to join in.

Dugald Campbell from the Energy Saving Trust passed on those fuel-saving tips after watching me on a short drive from Fyne Futures’ base in Rothesay’s Colbeck Lane to Ardbeg and back - and on a repeat of the same journey, watched as I put those tips into action.

And according to Dugald there are two things which are especially important while you’re driving if you want to waste as little fuel as possible.

“The first is to watch your rev counter a wee bit more,” he said. “In this vehicle [a 2014 Mini Clubman] if you change gear when your rev counter is somewhere between 1.5 and 2, you’ll eventually end up in as high a gear as you can be for the particular road traffic situation.

“If you’re not over-revving you’re not throwing a load of exhaust fumes out.

“The other thing you can try and do, as much as you can, is not to come to a complete halt. Every time you do that you use much more energy to push off again.

“If you can give yourself more time to look around and assess the traffic situation, you can possibly keep moving - and give yourself more time to listen to sat-nav instructions, for example, because if you listen to your sat-nav, you don’t miss your turning and you save fuel that way.”

At the end of my brief return trip, following Dugald’s instructions, he revealed that I’d saved the equivalent of around three miles per gallon - maybe not a huge amount on a short run from Rothesay to Ardbeg and back, but over time it all mounts up.

“In this car that’s an improvement of between six and eight per cent,” he added.

“And that’s you having to think about it and listen to me. But the more you do it, and the more it becomes your natural style, the more that will improve.”