5 min read
Whether you’re a commuter, student or a parent rushing after your kids, running a car can be pretty expensive. Many of us begrudge spending money on our vehicles, especially on fuel but do you know how you can be more efficient to save those pennies?
Plus becoming more fuel effective also benefits the environment, win-win! Think of yourself as an everyday superhero - with great power comes great responsibility!
According to the AA, petrol prices hit a three-year high in 2018. You can’t change the price of fuel, but you can make a few smart moves to make it last longer. A UK-wide mystery shop in 2017 found that drivers can save by simply avoiding motorway service stations and driving to the nearest supermarket instead. With the average driver filling up their tank on the motorway 11 times a year, car owners could make significant annual savings.
If you want to go a step further, you can do a little homework and find the cheapest garage in your area by entering your postcode on petrolprices.com and comparing fuel prices.
Some of us tend to use our cars as an extra place for storage but by removing unnecessary weight, you can become more fuel efficient. According to the RAC, every 50KG will increase your fuel consumption by 2%, on average - think two large suitcases in the boot!
So, basically the lighter your car is, the less effort it needs to work. This can also be said for roof bars and bike racks. By leaving them on, it can use more fuel as it creates wind resistance. The RAC state that an empty bike rack can affect fuel consumption by a whopping 10%.
...with an express route to savings. Various petrol stations will offer reward schemes which can help towards the cost of filling up. If there is a petrol station that you always visit, it makes sense to join up to their loyalty scheme and cash in. Most of the big supermarket chains like Tesco and Sainsbury’s have fuel reward schemes.
Another way to get more miles for your money is to regularly top up your fuel – annoying as it is. By filling your tank, you’re adding quite a bit of weight to your car. Next time you’re at a pump, look at the litres you put in and equate it to water. Would you put 40 litres of bottled water in your boot? You can imagine how heavy your car will become.
Sticking to the speed limit isn’t just beneficial for our safety but it can also save you more fuel. According to the AA, by increasing your speed to 80mph you use up to 25% MORE fuel than 70mph. So next time you’re on the motorway think about road safety and your wallet too! If you are a commuter, cruise control can aid fuel economy when driving on a constant flat surface like the motorway.
Your driving style can have a huge impact on fuel economy. The IAM suggests that the key is to drive smoothly - be gentle with your accelerator, gear changes and braking. If you press harder on the accelerator pedal, more fuel will flow but you can reach the same speed using less power.
In addition, braking harder uses more energy. Slowing down naturally, is much more efficient. This type of driving is also known as “eco-safe driving”, as it benefits the environment.
Before a long journey, it’s always good practice to check tyre pressure. Tyres will naturally leak a bit of air over time and under inflated tyres will use more fuel. Under-inflated tyres can also be extremely dangerous, especially on high speed limit roads.
Surprisingly, air conditioning can be the worst offender for fuel consumption – so make sure it’s turned off unless you really need it. Generally, it’s more efficient to drive with the windows down and keep the air con off at lower speeds. But at higher speeds, it’s better to keep the windows up and air con on.
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