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post #14 of (permalink) Old 10th July 2006
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The trick is to use the brakes as little as possible, within the bounds of safety of course.

Basic physics is to blame. When you accelerate, you use fuel to add to the car's kinetic energy. When maintaining speed, you use fuel to maintain that kinetic energy against the drag of mechanical and wind resistance. When you brake, you convert that kinetic energy into heat in the brake components, which is then 'thrown away' into the atmosphere.

If you pace yourself to minimise braking, then you'll find yourself decelerating more before braking and anticipating the need to slow down so that in some instances you might not need to brake at all.

At its worst, you see some people on the motorway, obviously unhappy with the speed of the traffic, constantly edging up to the car in front then braking slightly. If they left a bit more of a gap, they wouldn't have to brake at all unless the car in front did. In fact, if you're driving at a sensible distance behind, you shouldn't have to 'reflex brake' every time you see the brake lights on the car in front.

Apologies if I'm stating the bleeding obvious, but I see far too many people driving like that, and I bet half of them wonder why they're getting such lousy fuel economy.
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