Cars can be expensive and thirsty things, from car tax to fuel it helps to be able to save a few quid on its liquid refreshment, is a bonus, with the added benefit of a frozen fuel duty. Plus, being thrifty on fuel makes for good bragging rights, after all, who actually wants to be seen spending money on something as mundane as petrol and diesel? And if you do have a diesel, then you might be feeling an extra pinch with the news that some areas are slapping on additional charges especially for you – aren’t you lucky. So, we thought we’d share some of our top tips for keeping down the cost of fuel – here goes:
1) Watch your weight – your car’s, that is. The heavier your car is, the harder it has to work to move, using more fuel as it does. So, travel light and only pack what you need.
2) Pump it up – under-inflated tyres means more resistance when your car’s moving, this puts a greater strain on your engine, which makes your car even thirstier. Keep tyres in tip top shape – filling up on air is free, filling up your tank, is not.
3) Be a smooth operator – cars are designed to be driven, not lurch awkwardly because you have no clutch control, brake too hard and accelerate aggressively. The smoother you drive, the better your fuel consumption will be.
4) Don’t be idle – a good all round motto but particularly for cars. Idling just means you’re burning fuel, so if you know you’ll be stuck in traffic for a while, then switch off the engine.
5) Take your top off – remove anything from the top of your car such as roof racks or boxes if you aren’t using them. They add more weight, create more resistance and therefore make your car burn more fuel. The same goes for bike racks too.
6) Stick to the speed limit – this one goes without saying. But did you know that driving at 70mph uses 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph? And if you drive at 50mph then you could use 15% less fuel. And let’s not forget that tougher new punishments have been brought in for anyone caught speeding.
7) Know how to stay cool – air con or open window? Using your air conditioning uses fuel, but at high speeds the consumption isn’t as noticeable. So, general rule of thumb – when you’re pootling around town at low speeds (say 30mph) then roll down the windows; keep the air con for motorway driving instead (and buy an ice-cream with the cash you save).
8) Don’t waste energy – don’t leave your lights or heaters on when you don’t need them, they use up fuel, and you end up wasting money.
9) Change gear – don’t put unnecessary strain on your engine, move up gears slightly earlier. It’s recommended you do so when you get to about 2,000 rpm on a diesel or 2,500 rpm on a petrol car.
10) Plan your journey – we know spontaneity is fun, but it can also be expensive. If you know where you’re going, you’ll be more fuel efficient. If you’re really organised, you could familiarise yourself with service stations so you only make calculated pit stops.