Rising fuel prices should be factored into a vehicle’s motoring costs and to help you minimise your fuel bill we have put together a list of tips for you to try out.
1) Remove heavy items from your car
Think about if you need to carry some of the heavy non-essential items every day in your car, as the more unnecessary weight your vehicle contains the more fuel it will consume at the pumps.
2) Open the window
Having open windows is a cheaper way to cool down your car than having the air conditioning on. Air conditioning will use more power and if you have a small engine it may increase the fuel consumption by up to 10%. However, to keep your air-con in working order you’ll need to run the air conditioning at least once a week.
3) Choose the right gear
As soon as you can, accelerate smoothly and gently up to a safe, appropriate (and legal) speed and select as high a gear as possible, keeping the revs down to minimise fuel use without labouring the engine. Between short fuel burns to maintain momentum, lift off the accelerator completely, which shuts off the fuel supply. Never coast in neutral; idling uses more fuel than running in gear on a closed throttle. If you’re not moving at all, switch off.
4) Approach traffic lights at a slower speed
Try to use your brakes only when they are really needed as they turn fuel into waste heat. Instead of just driving up to obstructions such as traffic lights on red and braking, firstly lift off the accelerator to reduce your speed and then try to gently roll into the accurate position for your vehicle to come to a halt.
5) Review your current car’s fuel consumption
Unless you plan to downsize to a smaller car you may be able to run your current vehicle more efficiently or for as long as possible using these fuel-saving tips.
6) Get your car regularly serviced and maintain it
Check the vehicle’s manufacturing schedule to determine how often you should get your car serviced. Use the correct engine oil for your car’s make and model and make regular checks on the tyres’ pressure and increase if necessary, especially before any long journeys as they can consume more fuel if under-inflated.
7) Don’t use high-performance fuel (if you don’t need to)
You can save money by not choosing to fill up your vehicle with a high-performance fuel. There is usually no performance difference unless you have a sports car that recommends you use that type of fuel.
8) Walk rather than drive
Think about if you really need to use your car or can walk instead for any short journeys such as going to the newsagents or other nearby places as more fuel is used in a cold start.
9) Keep your speed down
The faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and pollution. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.
10) Don’t idle
Idling the engine wastes fuel and increases the temperature of the engine. To prevent this only start the engine when you are ready to go. In icy weather scrape the ice off before you start the engine.
11) Turn off electrical items
Turn off any electrical items such as headlights, rear windscreen heaters and demisters when you don’t need them. This will help decrease your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
12) Look for offers
Supermarkets often run petrol promotions. As their forecourts are usually cheap for fuel (always check), these schemes mean you can make some decent savings such as “spend £50 and get a 5p off/litre voucher”.
For more helpful articles on car maintenance then visit our Guides section ‘Pitstop’.