The cost of living crisis has led to many drivers using their car less. For drivers worried about the amount they have to spend keeping their car running, there are plenty of changes to make that can help their car run more efficiently and save fuel and money.
The way that you drive and the condition of your car will play a huge role in the amount of fuel you use on a daily basis, and these unnecessary costs can really add up over time.
Earlier this year, the RAC called it a ‘dark day’ when the average cost to fill a family car went over the £100 mark. At those prices, if you are doing this once a week, your annual fuel bill will be around £5,200 a year.
There are many ways you can save on ever-more expensive petrol or diesel bills, as our top ten tips below show.
1. Engine: Keep your car well maintained by making sure the recommended service schedule is followed either by taking it to a reputable garage, or servicing it yourself. A well-tuned engine with fresh, clean oil and new air filters will run more efficiently than an engine that has been neglected.
2. Tyres: Tyres are important for saving fuel as a tyre which is under-inflated by 10% can reduce fuel economy as it increases rolling resistance. As well as helping you to save fuel, correctly inflated tyres are much safer and last longer, as if they are either under or over inflated they become more susceptible to failing.
3. Windows: When you have your windows open it increases aerodynamic drag, causing you to put your foot down harder and using more fuel to maintain the same speed. Air-conditioning also uses fuel to operate, so limit this use as much as possible to save fuel.
4. Petrol station: Many drivers spend hours shopping around to find the best deal at the pumps, checking pump prices on-line such as at petrolprices.com. But make sure you weigh up the cheaper fuel prices to any distance you need to travel to the petrol station.
5. Gears: When driving use as high a gear as possible. The higher the gear, the lower the engine speed, which can improve fuel efficiency, so change up a gear whenever you can without labouring the engine. Using cruise control on major roads will help you to stay at a consistent speed which will help to improve fuel consumption as well.
6. Smooth driving: Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel than smooth driving. Avoid accelerating or braking too hard, and also keep your steering as smooth as possible. Keep looking ahead for traffic lights and slower traffic, and coast up to them rather than accelerating and then braking to a stop.
7. Excess weight: It’s amazing how many people carry around huge amounts of unnecessary stuff in the boot or on the back seat of their cars, or have roof racks mounted despite never using them. Lose the deck chairs, picnic table and tool box until you really need them and you will definitely save fuel.
8. Bulbs: Having the correct bulbs fitted to your vehicle can help save emissions and money. Philips EcoVision bulbs, for example, have been specifically designed to produce 20% less energy than a standard car lamp and also give four times the lifetime. They are the world’s most environmentally-friendly bulb and can save you an average of 14 litres of fuel per pair of headlight bulbs.
9. Following lorries: Following (but not too closely) a lorry on the motorway can help to improve fuel consumption even up to 200 metres behind them. A lorry will create less air resistance for your vehicle because they have already passed through the air creating a tunnel or ‘slipstream’ behind it.
10. Don’t drive in neutral: For most modern cars leaving your car in neutral when coasting downhill or up to a red light can actually waste fuel. If you are coasting, your engine is idling and actually still using fuel. Leave it in a high gear or use lower gears for engine braking and you will save your brake pads as well as fuel.