Eco driving techniques | Oxfordshire County Council

Eco driving techniques

Fuel-efficient driving techniques.

There are 9 simple techniques to make you a safer driver, save fuel and money, and reduce wear and tear on your car.

How much you save depends on how much you drive and your current driving style, but for average drivers it can be hundreds of pounds a year. Most people save around 10 to 15 per cent on their car’s fuel bills by eco-driving.

Drive smoothly

  • Anticipate situations and other road users as far ahead as possible to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration.
  • Maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front so that you can regulate your speed when necessary without using the brakes.

Step off the accelerator

When slowing down or driving downhill, remain in gear but take your foot off of the accelerator as early as possible. In most situations and for most vehicles this will activate the fuel cut-off switch, reducing fuel flow to virtually zero.

Shift up early

  • When accelerating, shift to a higher gear early, usually at 2,000 – 2,500 RPM.
  • Skip gears, e.g. 3rd to 5th, or 4th to 6th, when appropriate.

Avoid excessive speed

High speeds greatly increase fuel consumption.

Keep tyres correctly inflated

Underinflated tyres are not only dangerous but they also increase fuel consumption.

Use air conditioning sparingly

All ancillary loads, particularly air conditioning, add to fuel consumption.

Turn off

Turn off your engine if you expect to be stationary for more than a minute or so.

Reduce drag

  • Remove racks, roof boxes and bike carriers when not in use, as they significantly increase air resistance and fuel consumption at higher speeds.
  • Keep windows shut at high speeds.

Lose weight

Avoid carrying dead weight, as anything that adds to the weight of a vehicle will increase fuel consumption.

Further information

For more information, please visit

Last reviewed
20 November 2015

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