Motoring Tips

All of the actions listed below can reduce the energy consumption of your motoring. With rising fuels costs, this could save you significant amounts of money.

What Car?

If you’re buying a new car, check the Energy and Emissions Label, (pdf, 11kb) which by law must be displayed on the windscreen. And ask the dealer for a copy of the Guide to Passenger Vehicles Fuel Economy & CO2Emissions which is also available from The Society of the Irish Motoring Industry . Buy the most efficient car that meets your needs and matches your budget.


  • One litre of petrol used results in 2.36 kg of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere.
  • One litre of diesel used results in 2.68 kg of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere.
  • One litre of E85 blend bioethanol used results in approx. 1.04kg of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere (feedstock dependent). 

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When (Not) to Use the Car

  • Avoid using your car for short or unnecessary journeys.  You could try walking or cycling short journeys, which is great for your health.
  • Check if public transport can get you there.
  • Plan your journey, try phoning ahead to make sure the journey is worthwhile / essential
  • Try combining trips (such as shopping and the school run) to avoid taking the car out several times.
  • Or see if you can share the car journey with someone else, at least taking one car off the road.
  • Try to use less congested routes and avoid rush hours if possible.

Get into the habit of asking yourself these questions

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When Driving Your Car

Driving at high speed (over 80 km and especially over 100 km) uses more fuel and causes more pollution. Try to keep to lower speeds.

An aggressive driving style can lead to an increase in fuel consumption of 10-12% above average. In contrast, an energy aware driving style can save up to 13% on fuel consumption and is better for the environment and for your wallet.

There are some simple steps you can take when driving to reduce fuel consumption and improve efficiency:

  • Starting the Car
    Turn the engine on then drive off gently and without delay.  This will reduce excessive fuel consumption and pollution.
  • What affects fuel consumption most?
    Driving style, unnecessary short trips, cold engine, poor car maintenance, rapid acceleration and incorrect tyre pressure all affect fuel consumption adversely.
  • Maintain your car regularly
    A properly maintained car will have good engine lubrication, wheel alignment and well adjusted brakes reducing your fuel consumption.
  • Reading the road
    By watching the roads ahead and anticipating any likely problems, your driving style will become smoother, better controlled and be safer for you and other road users. 
  • Maintaining your distance
    Safe and economical driving requires you to maintain a sufficient distance behind the car in front - a minimum of 10m for every 15km/h speed.  This way you can brake and accelerate more smoothly.
  • Saving fuel in town
    Avoid over-revving the engine and drive in as high a gear as is suitable to road conditions.
  • Reduce unnecessary drag
    Take off unused bike racks or roof boxes and save 15-40%.  Use the car’s vents rather than leaving the windows or sun roof open, saving you a further 3-5%.

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Did you know?

  • Even if you only have to wait 30 seconds, it is more economical to switch the engine off and start it again when necessary.
  • A less aggressive, energy conscious driving style could reduce your fuel consumption by 10% and reduce harmful emissions by 30-40%.
  • Tyres 0.5 bar below manufacturers recommended pressure increase wear and fuel consumption by 2-3%.
  • At bends, reducing speed gently and in time and accelerating smoothly when you are halfway through will reduce excessive fuel consumption.
  • Lower speeds are safer, but driving at high speed (over 80km/h and especially over 100km/h) also uses more fuel and causes more pollution.
  • A cold engine uses significantly more fuel than a warm engine – try avoiding your car for very short journeys.
  • The rear window demister being on uses 3-5% more fuel.  Remember to switch it off when the window is clear.

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