At Lightfoot, we really understand the importance of efficient driving: it’s kind of our thing. Driving more efficiently can improve safety, reduce emissions and of course, save fuel. You might already be familiar with some of the hacks to reduce fuel consumption, but there’s a less well-known method to improve your driving efficiency: how missing out gears can help you to save fuel.
When Should You Miss Out Gears?
Firstly, let’s get something clear: this technique involves missing out intermediate gears, and only when it’s safe and appropriate to do so. While you might want to move off from stationary in second gear in certain situations (e.g. on low-grip surfaces such as ice), that isn’t what we’re talking about here.
However, by skipping a single gear while shifting up, or by missing out gears when changing down, you could save a significant amount of fuel. Traditionally, using a strict sequence of gears was often necessary due to less powerful acceleration and braking in older vehicles. However, in the days of modern engineering this conventional approach isn’t always required. The result? Block gear changing, a method taught by advanced drivers such as Police driving instructors, which can be used instead.
If you accelerate gradually to a suitable cruising speed, it might not be necessary to change up by one gear and then into the next, and the next- you can simply skip a gear instead. Driving in a higher gear than necessary can also improve fuel economy, as long as the engine isn’t struggling. When slowing down, there’s no need to change down the gears in sequence- brake until you reach your desired speed, and then select the correct gear.
It should go without saying that you should only be skipping gears when it’s suitable for both the engine, your speed and the road conditions. So, in that respect, this is a fairly advanced driving technique that relies on good anticipation and control of your vehicle- even if the actual process of skipping gears is pretty simple!
So, How Does It Save Fuel?
If done effectively, this technique can reduce the amount of time you spend accelerating and decelerating, which is when your vehicle’s fuel consumption is at its highest. Even more so if you have a tendency to accelerate or brake more harshly than is necessary. If you need some help with that you know where we are.
By reaching a state of steady cruising more gently, you can reduce the amount of fuel needed to reach your chosen speed.
So, next time you’re driving, why not try out the block gear changing technique?
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