Costessey couple's fuel-saving drive

Tara GreavesA couple from Costessey, near Norwich have been going head to head with 10 other families from across the country in a battle to see who are the most fuel efficient drivers.Tara Greaves

A couple from Costessey, near Norwich have been going head to head with 10 other families from across the country in a battle to see who are the most fuel efficient drivers.

Satpal and Jasvinder Matharoo will find out next month if they have been successful following a six week Shell Smarter Drivers competition.

The couple, who live in Poethlyn Drive, and have a one-year-old daughter, Alisha, have been putting tips for smarter driving into practise during the experiment.

By making simple changes to day-to-day driving habits families could save 10pc or more on the fuel they use.

Mr Matharoo, 35, a telecomms consultant, said: 'The last six weeks have really opened our eyes as to how we can become a fuel efficient family. We've been putting into practice all the top tips we've learned.'

Tips include checking their cars to help achieve efficient performance every day and the family has even met with transport experts from Norfolk County Council to discuss how to get from A to B without having to drive.

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'Whether stuck in traffic or cruising down the motorway, there are steps every family can take to become more fuel efficient and we are hoping that we can encourage our friends and family to follow our lead,' added Mr Matharoo.

Melanie Lane, Shell UK retail general manager, said: 'Our top fuel efficiency tips will help families explore the small improvements that can make a real difference to their fuel efficiency and subsequently their pockets. With another long weekend just around the corner, there is no better time to put these tips into action.'

Top tips from the Matharoo family.

Car maintenance:

Keep your tyres at the right pressure: if your tyres are underinflated by just 1ips, your fuel efficiency can be reduced by up to 3pc.

Take the roof rack off: A roof rack can affect the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle, creating drag which can result in your car using up to 5pc more fuel.

Service your engine: a poorly maintained engine can increase your fuel consumption by up to 50pc.

Check the seal on your fuel cap: Fuel evaporates every time you open the fuel cap. Make sure your cap is properly screwed on after every fill up.

Avoid carrying excess weight: For every extra 100 lbs (45 kg) you carry, your fuel efficiency can drop by 1-2pc.

Driving technique:

Use air-conditioning sparingly: Sometimes it is hard to avoid using your air-conditioning, but remember that it does put added strain on your engine on hot or cold days.

Keep a constant speed: Instead of coasting when you reach a downward slope, maintain steady engine revs. This will help you to maintain a constant speed rather than picking up speed and is likely to have a positive effect on your fuel consumption.

Use higher gears: When you drive in a higher gear, you will use less fuel, so change up a gear whenever you can.

Keep the windows closed: Wind blowing through an open window can slow you down and, to compensate, you are likely to speed up. Instead of opening windows why not use your car's internal ventilation system.

Drive smoothly: If you drive aggressively, you can burn up to a third more fuel than if you drive smoothly. Avoid accelerating or braking too hard and try to keep your steering as even as possible