Over the last year, and especially in the last month, the cost of fuel has gone up and up. Along with rising energy bills and food costs, filling the tank is one of the main worries for households when it comes to day-to-day living expenses.
While we can’t help with the price of fuel, there are a few ways to help reduce how much petrol or diesel your car burns through. Here are some of our favourites:
Drive more slowly and smoothly
Did you know that the speed you drive has one of the greatest impacts on how much fuel your car burns through?
Choosing the highest gear possible, accelerating slowly and braking smoothly will use less fuel. Consider leaving a little earlier on routine journeys to allow yourself time to drive a little slower.
Check your tyre pressure and keep your car well maintained
If you’re driving around with tyres that are too soft and not at the correct pressure, you will almost certainly be getting through more fuel than you need to.
The lower the pressure, the more friction with the road and the greater the amount of energy an engine needs to move a car forward. Your car’s manual will tell you what the optimal tyre pressure is.
And it’s not just the tyres which can affect fuel efficiency.
Replacing old air filters, changing the oil, making sure the battery is fully charged and ensuring your spark plugs aren’t worn out will all also help improve the number of miles you get per litre.
Don’t forget that the heavier the load in your car, the more fuel you’ll use. Have a look at what you’re keeping in the boot and remove roof boxes and bike racks if you have them on your car but aren’t using them.
The lighter the load, the more efficient your car will be!
Find the cheapest providers
It seems obvious but think carefully about where you’re getting your fuel. A litre of fuel on garage forecourts can vary by as much as 10% – motorway service stations, for example, are nearly always more expensive than supermarket garages.
There are some great online tools to help you find your nearest cheapest provider – a quick Google should give you plenty of ways to do so.
Only fill up to halfway
While not that convenient, remember that a full tank of fuel weighs a lot. Filling only half of your tank does require more trips to the fuel station, but it does weigh less. A lighter tank reduces the drag on your engine, making driving around more fuel-efficient.
When you’re in stationary traffic or waiting outside a shop while your partner pops in for something, it’s all too easy to leave the engine running.
Try to avoid idling to save fuel – switch off your engine and only restart when necessary.
Keep the air-con off
Not many motorists realise that switching a car’s air-conditioning system on burns more fuel – it’s to do with the car’s compressor.
Of course, sometimes it’s not practical to drive without it, but do ask yourself if you always need it on, or at a high level.