Six tips to keep your car fuel consumption down

Jul 8, 2009   //   by sam   //   Money Saving Tips  //  Comments Off on Six tips to keep your car fuel consumption down

Fuel Prices

1. Keep your tyres fully pumped-up and cut your air-conditioning usage

It is estimated that half of all drivers in the UK are driving with under-inflated tyres. This increases the resistance and therefore raises the amount of fuel used. The RAC advises that your fuel bills will increase by up to 2% if your tyres are not fully inflated to the recommended pressure.

Ensure your tyres pressure is kept at the correct level by checking them once a week. You can find out the recommended pressure readings for your tyres by consulting your car manual.

According to the National Energy Foundation, using air conditioning will increase your fuel consumption by up to 25%, so only use it when absolutely necessary. An alternative method to stay cool is opening the air vents, or even simply opening the windows. However, if you’re travelling over 60mph an open window will increase drag which can end up costing more than having your air-con on.

See also: Hard-Up Drivers Desperate to Save – Could New Tyre Labels Help?

2. Service your vehicle

If you fail to service your vehicle regularly you could be reducing fuel economy by over 10%. Some of the key areas that must be covered are changing the air filters, as according to the RAC, dirty filters can seriously increase fuel usage; and regular oil changes, as clean oil will reduce the wear caused from friction of all the moving engine components, thus improving fuel economy.

Both of the tasks mentioned above are inexpensive and can help to drive your fuel costs down.

3. Change your driving habits

Changing the way you drive can drastically reduce fuel consumption, and this isn’t just about refraining yourself from putting your foot down.

Try to keep you gears higher. This will allow the engine to not have to work as hard and thus reduce the amount of fuel required. When using this technique ensure you are in a safe environment to do so, as using higher gears gives you less control over the car.

The RAC claims that if you avoid braking sharply then accelerating, you could save you up to 30% on fuel costs. The National Energy Foundation recommends that those driving a petrol car should change up a gear at 2,500rpm and at 2,000rpm for diesel cars to get the best fuel-efficiency. When starting from a stopped position, accelerate slowly as this will keep your revs down.

If you drive at 85mph you will use approximately 25% more fuel than at 70mph, so keep to the speed limit, especially on long motorway journeys.

4. Lose unnecessary weight and reduce the drag

Remove things from your car that you don’t require for your journey, such as removable seats, roof racks, and boot luggage such as sports equipment. Reconsider installing accessories that will add significant weight to your car and wide tyres that will add rolling resistance. According to the website, on average, each additional 50kg in weight will increase your petrol consumption by 2%.

Novelty flags and fancy sun roofs will also effect the aerodynamic drag of your car, thus increasing how much fuel your car will guzzle. Another interesting fact is that the weight of the fuel you carry will also effect how much fuel is required to move your car, so never fill your tank up to the top.

Always shop around for your fuel to find the best prices, you will be amazed at the difference in prices between cities and suburbs. But don’t defeat the object of cutting your   costs by driving too far out of your way to find the best fuel prices, as this will cancel out your savings. Try to tie your trip to the petrol station in with a regular trip, such as your weekly supermarket shop.

5. Helping the environment will help your wallet

Try to get into the habit of using other means of transport when making small journeys as these can be the least fuel efficient of all, especially in towns where you are constantly stopping and starting. Cars also use more fuel when cold, so a car that would usually do 40 miles to the gallon when motorway driving, may fall as down below 15 miles per gallon on a short journey. If you could walk or even cycle these short journeys you will notice the difference.

If you have to use your car to commute to work, if possible it is definitely worth considering car sharing with a colleague, as this can cut your fuel bills in half. Alternatively, look into park-and-ride schemes. If you can’t do either of the above, plan your journey to make sure you are taking the most cost effective route, and keep an eye on traffic reports to avoid hold-ups.

Something also worth noting it that a small car will consume a litre of fuel every hour when stuck in a traffic jam, but larger cars guzzle double this amount

One moneysaving website said when looking to buy a new car, look around for the greenest in your price range as this will not only give you major savings in fuel costs, but also give out lower CO2 emissions which directly effects how much your car will cost to tax.

6. Clubcard points on your fuel

Supermarkets tend to offer the most competitive fuel prices, and they are very conveniently placed allowing you to kill two birds with one stone by doing your grocery shopping and filling up in one journey.

As well as offering good rates, some supermarkets also offer clubcard points for every pound spend, on petrol as well as in store. This means that if you stick to the same filling station, you can accumulate points later used to purchase goods that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

To increase your reward points you could take out a Tesco Clubcard credit card, offering 5 points for every £4 spent. At the end of each month you receive clubcard vouchers based on the amount of points you’ve earned, which can be spent in-store on your petrol or at Tesco Direct. You can even turn Points into Airmiles!

The Tesco Credit Card also comes with a range of other attractive features and discounts, so it might be time to switch your card and make the most of your savings.

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