There are a number of ways to keep driving costs down. Before you even take to the road, you want to ensure that your tyre pressure is correct, that you’re carrying as little weight as possible, and that your vehicle is up to date with any servicing.
But if you feel that you’ve done all you can to save money before you’re even behind the wheel, then it’s wise to also know how to save money on fuel once you’re driving. We’ve put together our top tips for keeping motoring costs low.
How to save money on fuel – 7 tips
Get to know the fuel stations in your local area. Saving a few pennies per litre may seem pointless at first, but it all adds up to save you cash in the long run.
It’s not worth taking a serious diversion to fill up, but staying on top of any changes to fuel prices for stations nearby can help you to choose wisely.
Traditionally, fuel is cheaper at supermarkets. Try to make use of any fuel retailer loyalty cards, and steer clear of motorway service stations.
Choose fuel wisely
Once you’ve established the best fuel station for your budget and location, choose your fuel type sensibly.
Many retailers offer ‘premium’ fuels promising everything from better performance to engine protection. These premium fuels are more expensive, often costing anything from 10 to 15 pence more than normal fuels.
But unless you’re driving a top-of-the-range performance vehicle, you’re unlikely to notice these benefits.
Avoid excessive speed
If you drive at speed, you’ll use more fuel.
Remember that the faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses. Stick to the speed limit and drive in the highest possible gear to ensure that you have the lowest revs. Try and keep your revs between 1500 and 2500RPM for a petrol engine, and 1200 and 2000RPM for a diesel engine.
Drive smoothly and watch for hazards
Avoid intense acceleration and throttling the engine if you can. You may have to brake harshly at times in order to avoid hazards, but it’s ideally best avoided.
Try and read the road in front of you and be aware of any upcoming hazards at all times. Remember to use ‘LADA’ (look, assess, decide and act) when assessing the road. When you’re facing junctions and crossings, you can judge how best to approach in order to minimise any sudden braking or acceleration.
Maintaining momentum is key if you want to save money on fuel. Your engine is least efficient when pulling away, so if you can keep the car rolling safely, this is preferable. For example, if you’re approaching traffic lights, try to leave the car in gear so that it coasts to a stop, rather than braking.
Use gears sensibly
As well as using your gears to maintain momentum and reduce the need for sudden acceleration or braking, you can also strategically use them to improve fuel efficiency.
If your car has a manual gearbox, you don’t need to use each gear when accelerating. You can ‘short shift’, meaning that you skip between first to third or second to fourth and so on. This can help to reduce fuel consumption.
Alternatively, many new models have a gear-shift indicator or ‘eco’ driving mode. This helps you to change gear at the most economical time, and is worth paying attention to when you’re on the road.
If you can find a parking spot that you can drive forwards out of, this can help you to save fuel. Reversing manoeuvres are less fuel efficient, so taking the time to find a good parking spot makes a difference.
Drive gently in the cold
In the colder months, you want to be driving as carefully as possible. Engines are significantly less efficient when they’re cold.
That said, leaving your car to warm up will burn up excess fuel, and may increase risk of engine wear over time. Most modern cars are designed to operate from the moment the key is turned, so you shouldn’t need this ‘warm up’ period. Drive slowly when you first start the car up, too.
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