Sunday, April 11

Beating the petrol price

With the petrol prices are at a record high in the UK (and elsewhere), there are many ways for drivers to save more;

Before you go:

Pump up your tyres – Under-inflated tyres mean your car has to work harder, using more fuel. Be careful though, as over-inflated tyres can be dangerous, so check your manual to find the right pressure.

Empty the boot – Carrying unnecessary weight adds to the work your car needs to do, increasing the amount of fuel it burns.

Remove the roof racks – When you're not using roof racks, take them off – they just increase your drag factor unnecessarily.

Get your car serviced – If your car's engine hasn't been serviced when it should have, it's less likely to be operating at its most efficient. Check your manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for servicing.

Plan your journey – Getting lost isn't just frustrating, it's a waste of fuel. Plan in advance and if you don't have a SatNav, use Google Maps or similar to find the fastest route.

As you drive – Stick to the speed limit. Driving at 70mph on the motorway can result in savings of as much as 10% compared to driving at 80mph, so not only is speeding illegal, it's expensive. Of course, getting a ticket means a fine and even higher car insurance premiums, so the cost of speeding can be much more than you expect.

Be a smooth driver – Try to speed up and slow down more smoothly as this uses less fuel than speeding up only to slam on the breaks. Watch the traffic ahead and slow down early when you can by gently lifting your foot off the accelerator while the car's in gear.

Don't be too cool – Air conditioning really burns fuel, so avoid turning it on unless you really need it – wind the window down instead. Interestingly, ACT ON CO2 reports that if you're driving at speeds of 50-60mph then opening the windows is more inefficient as it increases drag, meaning you'd be better turning on the air con if the heat really is too much.

Don't be idle – If you're stuck in traffic for several minutes at a time, get in the habit of switching the engine off rather than sitting there idling. You'll burn less fuel.

Cut costs elsewhere

However efficiently you drive and wherever you shop for fuel, you're likely to pay more for your fuel – especially as the staggered fuel duty rise is introduced (it rose by 1p at the start of April and will now go up by a further 1p a litre in September and then again in January).

So, if you can bring down your motoring costs elsewhere, you could take some of the sting out of the hike.


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