Petrol prices are always in the news, a few pence difference on your gallon of fuel can make a big difference to your motoring budget over a year. In the last decade prices have hit lows of 90p a litre in December 2008 to highs of £1.42 in April 2012. In recent years the price has been falling but is now creeping back up again -sitting at around £1.02-£1.20 depending on where you buy your diesel or petrol.
The chancellor George Osbourne announced in his latest budget that fuel duty tax will be frozen for the sixth year in a row, fuel prices are as unpredictable as the oil market – here’s 5 top tips for you to get the most for your money!
Wind resistance results in higher fuel consumption by creating drag, meaning the car has to use more power to move – there are simple ways to make your car more aerodynamic:
- Keep your windows and sunroof closed when you’re on fast roads (air conditioning is also a criminal fuel consumer, on hot days keep the windows open instead whilst on slower roads).
- Remove roof racks or any other attachments that aren’t in use.
- Reducing the weight of your car is a great way to save fuel – empty your boot of golf clubs, caddies and other common offenders.
- Fuel itself similarly adds weight to your car, filling your tank only half way helps reduces this extra weight.
Anticipate Your Journey
Route planning plays a big part in fuel consumption, by trying out new routes you can establish the fastest route with the lowest volume of traffic
- If you can avoid it – don’t drive during rush hour, as lots of starting and stopping uses more fuel than a constant low speed.
- Plan out your route before you travel, there may be less congested routes that you have overlooked.
- Ensure to use the ‘traffic updates’ feature on your cars radio or Sat Nav.
- Take note of the cheaper petrol stations in your area – try to avoid topping up on the motorway where petrol and diesel can be up to 12p more expensive per litre.
- Try to combine numerous small trips into fewer bigger ones.
The AA estimates that travelling at 80mph, (whilst also illegal) uses up to 25% more fuel than travelling at 70mph
- Accelerate smoothly and try to avoid over revving – it’s recommended you change gear at 2,500 revs for a petrol engine and 3,000 for a diesel.
- Use a suitable gear, try to get into a higher gear as soon as you can – being in a low gear at a high speed causes high revs and could cause damage to your engine.
- Be wise when overtaking – sometimes its unavoidable but try not to speed past somebody just to meet them at the next set of lights.
- Braking hard increases fuel consumption, anticipate traffic ahead and slow down smoothly.
- Many people revert to ‘coasting’ in a car to save fuel – this is effectively placing the car in neutral and letting the vehicle roll. This however is ill advised as it reduced the control you have over the car.
Keep Your Car Well Maintained
Keeping your vehicle in tip top condition improves fuel economy by maintaining engine efficiency and can also prevent you from forking out lots of money on problems that emerge from a poorly serviced vehicle
- Take your car for a service, most professionals recommend to do so at least once a year or every set amount of miles as per your vehicles handbook.
- Check your tyre pressure regularly, especially before and after long journeys.
- Keeping your tyres in good condition can reduce fuel consumption by 2%.
Ditch the Car!
The unrivalled champion of fuel saving tips is to stretch those legs and enjoy the unpredictable British weather – if your destination is far away you can use other alternatives:
- Car sharing effectively halves the amount of fuel you use – and gives you the chance to sit back and relax on your journey to work.
- Using public transport can be a viable option for any commute, investing in a railcard or bus pass will save you money if you’re a frequent traveller.
- Park and ride schemes incorporate both public transport and driving, usually costing less than fuel and reducing congestion elsewhere.
These tips don’t need to be followed religiously to make a difference, try to incorporate a few in your driving style and see how much fuel you save – the AA predict it can be up to 35% depending on how you drove before.
The Myths About Saving Fuel
Here are a few common misconceptions and myths around fuel economy that won’t make a difference to your fuel saving efforts:
- Does having the radio on consume fuel?
In a BP study 10% of drivers thought this was true – it’s not.
- Do cars with larger engines use more fuel?
No, generally cars with smaller engines use more fuel as the smaller engine needs to work harder to get the car moving
- Does a car use more fuel as it gets older?
Not necessarily, whilst a cars fuel economy may decrease slightly with age – if it’s properly maintained you will see little difference over time.
- A manual car is more economical than an automatic
No this is not true as modern automatics can often be more economical than the manual transmission vehicle.
Does your vehicle need a Service?
If you think it’s about time your car had a service contact us today on 01291 627137 to find out more about our servicing and MOT testing.