Petrol and diesel prices increase steadily in the UK every year, and that means the cost of motoring is just as steadily on the rise. There’s not a lot the average driver can do to affect the world oil markets, but there’s a handful of measures you can take to ensure you get the most out of your motor.
With these five easy steps, you’ll be able to squeeze every last inch of mileage out of every spare drop of juice in your tank. And your eco-conscience, not to mention your bank balance, will be all the better off for it.
1) Plan your route
If you don’t drive directly to your chosen destination, the chances are you’ll have burned a whole lot of petrol that you needn’t have done. If you’re not exactly sure where you’re going, there’s a lot to be said for sitting down beforehand and planning out the best route. Sometimes, the shortest trip isn’t always the best one for saving fuel.
Using motorways and long A-roads where possible is often better than trying to drive through heavy traffic in an urban area, so don’t always assume that shortest is the most economical.
It might be worth investing in a GPS or sat-nav device in order to help you plan ahead, or even change your route along the way.
2) Drive more carefully
It’s surprising just how much fuel you can save just by driving more carefully. First of all, drive more slowly. In the average car, driving at 85mph can use as much as 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph, so sticking to the speed limits could mean substantial savings.
Also, look further ahead down the road. If you have to keep braking and then accelerating again, you’re burning more fuel than is necessary. Watch for traffic, junctions and cars changing lanes to ensure you don’t need to cut the speed you’ve built up. Make sure you use as high a gear as possible and drive as smoothly as you can.
3) Remove excess weight
If you’re one of those people who can’t be bothered taking the roof box or roof bars off after every family camping trip then think again. Or if your pram or golf clubs just live in the boot unnecessarily, then consider removing them until you actually need them. It sounds obvious, but the more weight there is in, or on, a car, the more fuel it will need to burn in order to carry it all around.
Obstacles on the roof, open windows, flags, and other unusual trimmings will also increase drag and wind resistance, meaning your car also has to work harder to maintain the same speed. Get rid of it all and make those small but noticeable savings count.
A well-maintained car is usually a fuel efficient one. Make sure you keep your vehicle serviced according to the manufacturers’ specification and if your car is over three years old, ensure it has an MOT every year. These intensive checks ensure things like your engine and air filter are working as efficiently as possible, and thus your car is performing to the best of its ability.
Also, remember your air conditioning can reduce your fuel efficiency drastically, so if you don’t need it, switch it off!
5) Tyre pressures
The pressure of your tyres is vital when it comes to maximising fuel efficiency. Tyre pressures drop naturally through everyday use and due to the weather conditions. When the pressure is too low, they absorb energy that should be used to power your car; so if you check them regularly, before every trip if possible, you can be sure that there’s no wastage.
So there you have it. Keep your car well-maintained and think about the way you drive it, and there are substantial savings to be made on your petrol or diesel costs. Fuel efficiency will continue to dominate the headlines as far as drivers are concerned, but with these few tips it’s clear that you don’t need to change your car to slash your fuel bills.
Written by James Sheehan, a blogger with past legal experience.