Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel
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Drivers have been warned against using a popular fuel-saving trick as it can lead to huge fines and could be potentially dangerous. Coasting is covered under Rule 122 of the Highway Code and is defined as a vehicle travelling in neutral or with the clutch pressed down.
Motorists are often warned against using this method because it can reduce driver control.
Engine braking is eliminated when coasting and can lead to the speed increasing quickly when travelling downhill.
As a result, drivers may see a reduction in the effectiveness of the footbrake given the increased use.
Steering response will be affected too, with drivers seeing a notable difference, particularly on bends and corners.
It may also be more difficult to select the appropriate gear when needed.
Failure to have proper control of a vehicle can result in a potential fine of £1,000 or even discretionary disqualification.
This fine can be raised to £2,500 if driving a larger vehicle such as a bus, coach or HGV.
John Wilmot, chief executive of LeaseLoco, explained coasting may be affected by new technology in cars.
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He explained: “Coasting is no longer beneficial to energy efficiency due to the fuel system in the majority of modern cars.
“When we drive downhill in gear, our engine ECU detects that the accelerator isn’t engaged and cuts fuel from going into the fuel injectors.
“We use no fuel or very little when driving downhill in gear.
“However, when we drive downhill in neutral, our engine and wheels become disconnected.
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“This forces a small amount of fuel to be sent to the engine due to the car not receiving the rotational power it needs from the wheels, instead of drawing that power directly from the wheels.”
Motorists are also being warned about the potential damage it could cause to a vehicle.
When drivers coast on a consistent basis, their brakes will become worn out quickly.
If driving in neutral, people become more reliant on the mechanical brakes due to the engine brakes disengaging.
This can wear out the mechanical brakes much quicker.
Because they are likely to be going faster than usual, more force is required to brake over the same journey.
This means the brake discs and pads wear out at a quicker rate.
According to Fixter, the average cost to replace the front brake discs and pads is £224, with prices ranging between £140 and £400.
The back brake discs and pads will also set drivers back quite heavily, with an average price of £249.
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