Hacks to cut your petrol bills 

Faith Archer
Insurance expert
4
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 26 October 2021

While it’s obvious that driving less will reduce your spending on fuel, you don’t need to ditch your car completely to cut consumption. Changing your driving habits can make substantial savings. 

Reducing your petrol use also has environmental benefits, reducing carbon emissions and pollution. 

Discover how to get fired up about cutting your fuel bills: 

Get app happy 

Want to find the cheapest fuel prices in your area? There’s a free app for that. 

Check out PetrolPrices.com to compare petrol, diesel and premium fuel prices. 

Generally, fuel from supermarket forecourts is likely to be cheaper than at motorway service stations, so try to fill your tank before setting off on a long journey. 

Accelerating at mach speed and slamming on the brakes drains fuel like there’s no tomorrow. Driving smoothly can actually save you money

Shed weight 

The heavier your car, the more fuel it will use while driving. 

So clear the boot of anything that isn’t essential. 

Removing any roof rack or roof box will also reduce wind resistance, and hence fuel consumption, too. 

Drive smoothly 

Accelerating at mach speed and slamming on the brakes drains fuel like there’s no tomorrow. Driving smoothly, instead, can actually save you money. 

Try to look ahead and anticipate what’s going to happen without unnecessary acceleration or braking. 

For example, when approaching roundabouts, corners and red traffic lights, aim to slow down naturally and potentially avoid coming to a complete halt. 

Imagine driving with a full glass of water on top of your dashboard, and try to avoid spilling a drop. 

Blasting the air con will inflate your petrol bills. 

Gear up 

Driving in low gears at high revs increases your fuel consumption. So when pulling away or accelerating, aim to change up a gear early, usually by around 2,000 rpm. 

Steer clear of the air con 

Blasting the air con will inflate your petrol bills. 

So if the car feels hot and stuffy, crack open a window, and if the weather is chilly, pop on another jumper. 

If the refrigerant in your air conditioning system drops, the air con will also have to work harder. 

Cut fuel consumption by making sure your car’s air con is serviced every couple of years. 

Keep the pressure on 

If your tyre pressure isn’t right, it will not only push up your petrol costs but also affect how your car brakes, how it takes corners, and how long your tyres last. 

Find the recommended tyre pressure for your car in the owner’s manual, or by looking for a manufacturer’s 

Then take advantage of self-service air pressure pumps at petrol stations to check your tyre pressure and adjust as needed. 

Driving at slow speeds over short distances is the most inefficient way to use your car

Consider a car share 

Car sharing can help cut fuel costs, carbon emissions, and congestion in one fell swoop. 

If you make regular trips, such as commuting to work, taking the kids to school, or chauffeuring them to football matches, see if you can find someone who lives nearby to share the journeys. 

Either designate one person as the driver, and split fuel costs, or take it in turns to drive. 

Walk instead 

Surprise, surprise, the easiest way to cut fuel costs is to drive less. 

Nipping out for a pint of milk? Rather than grabbing your car keys to head to the corner shop, walk instead. 

Driving at slow speeds over short distances is the most inefficient way to use your car. 

For any journey of less than a mile or two, such as quick shopping trips or the school run, invest in a pair of comfortable shoes and walk. 

If you have a bike, head out on two wheels instead. 

Switch your car 

When replacing your car, consider switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle. 

The purchase cost may be steeper, but you will save on your fuel bills, in addition to any vehicle tax savings and environmental benefits. 

The cost of running an electric car for a year is 47% cheaper than the cost of running a petrol car, according to research from comparethemarket.com.

3 things to do right now...

Pay less for petrol by finding the cheapest places to refuel. Check out websites such as PetrolPrices.com. 

Prep your car to use less petrol. Check your tyre pressure, clear the boot, remove roof racks or roof boxes, and get your air con system serviced. 

Change your driving habits to cut fuel consumption. Switch to walking for short journeys, and otherwise aim to drive smoothly, without aggressive speeding, braking or accelerating. 

Please share this with someone who'd benefit from it.

Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.