In May 2021, the RAC Foundation predicted that June would see fuel prices rise for the seventh consecutive month. With this in mind, saving money at the forecourt remains a top priority for British motorists. Tracking down the cheapest fuel prices in your local area is one way to save on petrol. But did you know there are also some easy tips and tricks you can utilise to minimise your fuel consumption? Here’s how.
1. Stop idling
Do you tend to keep the motor running while you’re waiting for the kids to come out of the school gate? Maybe you don’t bother to switch off the engine while your partner pops into the shop for milk?
Whilst this can seem harmless, idling can waste up to two litres of fuel per hour. What’s more, idling can release more than 5kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. Saying no to idling can also save lives, with the Royal College of Physicians warning air pollution claims around 40,000 British lives every year, with idling a key contributor.
“Whether it is outside schools, picking up relatives from stations, or in a car park, we can all do our bit by switching off our engines and reducing our emissions,” says RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes.
2. Inflate your tyres
The firmness of your tyres can have an enormous impact on your fuel consumption. For example, Michelin warn that British motorists waste a huge £246 million a year driving on underinflated tyres. Not only does this result in your engine guzzling fuel, but it also increases your emissions.
Be sure to check your tyre pressure regularly and head straight to the forecourt if something looks off. Wheel alignment can also play a role in increasing fuel consumption. This can have the effect of compromising the smoothness of the ride, and forcing the engine to work overtime.
3. Don’t overaccelerate
While it’s tempting to speed up when taking off from a traffic light or give the speedometer a workout on the motorway, overaccelerating is one of the fastest ways to burn fuel. Smoother accelerations will keep your petrol consumption down. What’s more, your passengers will have a far more comfortable ride.
4. Carrying unnecessary weight
Do you wait a week before unpacking your car from a camping trip? Maybe you have a bad habit of carting around your golf clubs. Perhaps you continually forget to drop off that bag of books at the charity shop. Whatever your vice, extra weight translates to increased fuel consumption. Your engine has to work harder to move extra weight. As such, if your car is packed with unnecessary items it could be time for a cleanout.
5. Roof racks in the city
While roof racks can be incredibly useful on road trips, they do compromise the aerodynamism of your car. The extra bulk increases drag and forces the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. Furthermore, even empty roof racks can result in a 15% increase in fuel consumption. If your roof racks are easy enough to remove while not in use it could be worth putting them in storage.
Roof boxes are also something to watch, with data suggesting even when empty they can increase fuel consumption by up to 25%. Again, they’re great when you’re travelling long distances and need extra storage space. Conversely, for everyday journeys, they’re obsolete and should be removed if possible.
6. Upgrade to an eco-friendly vehicle
Cutting down on idling, checking your tyre pressure, avoiding over acceleration, clearing out your car and taking off your roof racks can all help to save petrol. But nothing compares to the benefits of a fuel-efficient car. For example, the Peugeot 208 is one of the most efficient internal combustion powered vehicles available in the UK, offering impressive fuel economy of 73.6mpg.
Of course, EVs are the ultimate petrol saving solution. With an electric engine you’ll eliminate the need to fill up at the forecourt entirely. Instead, models like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3 plug into power outlets and take you from A to B with zero fossil fuels.
Make the switch a little easier
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