By Matt Robinson
With the cost of petrol and diesel rising, it’s only natural that people are concerned about how much they’ll be spending on driving their cars in the coming weeks and months. But we’ve got 5 great fuel saving tips that will help every last litre of your petrol and diesel go that bit further, saving you money in the process – read on to find out what they are!
1. Save Weight
If you’ve got junk in the trunk (and we’re not talking about your personal weight, here), get rid of it! The heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it will use in relative terms. So if you’ve permanently got your golf clubs in the boot or roof box, for example, yet you only play every other Sunday, take the clubs out of the car until you need them – otherwise you’re needlessly wasting fuel to lug them about. This goes for anything heavy and unnecessary you might be carrying around in the car; if it's running at its lightest possible load level, you’ll get better mpg from it.
2. Check Tyres And Vehicle Condition
Tyres are a key aspect of fuel economy and one of the easiest things you can do to make your petrol or diesel go further is to keep a keen eye on them. Are they under-inflated compared to the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure? Then they are creating extra rolling resistance and therefore drag, and that means increased fuel consumption – not good. Are they unevenly worn across their tread surfaces? Then that suggests your tracking and balancing is out of true, which means the 4 wheels aren’t pointing exactly the way they should be as the car is rolling along – yep, that means you’re using more fuel unnecessarily.
There’s a wider consideration that the better condition a car is in overall, the more fuel economical it will be. So service your car regularly and do plenty of maintenance on it – worn or clogged air filters increase fuel consumption, for instance, while older and thicker oil in the vehicle’s lubrication system will also see your petrol and diesel bills creeping up.
3. Consider Aerodynamics
It’s not just flat tyres which increase drag, but increased aerodynamic resistance too. What does that mean? Well, aerodynamics is your vehicle’s ability to cut cleanly through the air at speed. So if you’ve got a roof rack fitted to the top of the car but you’re not actually carrying anything on said roof rack, you’re increasing the aerodynamic drag of the vehicle for no good reason – and pushing your fuel consumption up in the process. Same goes for open windows, which increase the wind resistance over the car’s body. Unless you really, really need the windows open for some reason, have them shut and use the vehicle’s air conditioning instead, as that is comparatively easier on fuel. However, related to that…
4. Reduce Electrical Drains
If you’re in an electric car and you turn on the climate control, you’ll notice the vehicle’s overall range suddenly drops by quite a few miles in the instrument display. Well, the same is true to an extent of petrol and diesel cars. This is because, in internal-combustion vehicles, anything which places an electrical drain on the car’s alternator will increase its fuel consumption – so don’t have the air con needlessly functioning if you’re comfortable in the cabin and you don’t need it. Similarly, watch for heated seats left on in vacant passenger positions, or running around during good visibility in daylight hours with your headlights needlessly blazing away. If you don’t absolutely need an electrical system in the car, switch it off and you’ll save fuel.
5. Adapt Your Driving Style
Perhaps the single biggest way you can make your fuel go further. Those of you who accelerate aggressively and then have to brake sharply on a regular basis will be using more fuel than those of you who are smooth and consistent behind the wheel. Therefore, try and anticipate traffic flow, read junctions, traffic lights and roundabouts better as you’re approaching them so you can glide out in a gap instead of having to come to a complete halt, and just generally take more care in the car.
Top Fuel Efficient Driving Tips
If you can avoid heavily congested traffic areas by rerouting to other roads, do so – even if your new journey is slightly longer by miles – because stop-start traffic is the killer for good fuel economy, whereas cruising serenely along in a high gear is the best for high mpg.
Try using the vehicle’s ‘Eco’ setting if you can, which is easily accessed by using an in-car ‘Drive Mode’ or ‘Drive Select’ switch (or similar); it limits throttle response and the power drain of air conditioning (if you have it) to save yet more fuel.
Try and make sure your vehicle’s auto stop-start system is working as much as it can on a journey by following the procedures needed to make it activate – usually, by taking the car out of gear if it’s a manual or simply keeping your foot on the brake if it’s an auto.
If you’re in a car with a manual gearbox, try and get into as high a gear as possible as soon as you can, without making the car’s engine labour, or alternatively in an auto use moderate throttle openings to allow the gearbox to shuffle up into top gear sooner rather than later.
Use all of the tips above and we can guarantee you that you’ll start to see your fuel going further to each tank of petrol or diesel you put into it. If you're looking to save money on more than just fuel, take a look at our top car leasing deals and electric lease offers.