Wednesday 14th January 2015
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How to keep fuel costs down is a big concern for many motorists and in this blog we can offer some helpful advice. A few simple changes to how you drive and look after your car can make a big difference to your outgoings.   You could save up to 30% off your petrol or diesel costs.

Change your driving style

Slowly accelerate – the harder you press on the pedal the more fuel flows.  Reduce the number of revs and try to keep to between 2,000 and 2,500 RPM before moving up a gear.  Drive in the correct gear, change up the gears a little earlier but not too soon to avoid over working the engine.  Over revving and driving in too low a gear is not fuel economically friendly.  Avoid braking often, slow the car down and let it use its own momentum.  Sharp braking wastes fuel so try to drive as smoothly  as possible. The more you brake and press the accelerator the more money you burn. If you stop even briefly turn off the engine to save fuel.  The faster you drive the higher your fuel consumption so keep to the speed limits.  In fact, the Department for Transport state that if you drive at 70 mph up to 9% more fuel is used than driving at 60 mph.

When traffic is moving slowly, rather than stop and start, keep the car rolling if possible.  It is better than coming to a stand still and moving off.  Some people might advise coasting (which is letting the car role in neutral) as a cost effective measure. However, this isn’t a good idea as it doesn’t give you full control of the car and that could be dangerous.  Modern injector cars contain ECUs which cut fuel supply when the foot is taken off the accelerator so coasting won’t make any difference in these cars. Lifting off the throttle instead of putting the car in neutral is more economical and safer. Going over speed bumps can involve braking hard then accelerating until the next bump and repeating the process, instead drive at a steady 15-20 mph.

Prepare before you set out

Make sure you have a good route planned so that you can keep your fuel usage down.  A sat nav may not always offer the most economical route so have a look at Google Maps as well.  Think about where you buy your fuel from.  The AA has some good advice on fuel prices.

How to avoid doing this too much

How you use your car makes a difference

Surprisingly, having the windows open or not can make a difference.  For instance, when driving at low speed have the windows open. At 60 mph or more, close the windows and use the air con as at higher speeds it won’t make too much difference.  Electrical items such as radios, heated rear windscreens and demisters can use up more fuel, so bear that in mind.

Lighten the load, don’t fill up and use roof racks and boxes as weight bearing loads create more wind drag which makes the engine consume extra fuel. Also, don’t forget the inside of the car and the boot, don’t fill up with junk you don’t need that will create extra weight.

Look after your car

Making sure your car is well maintained will clearly help to avoid some unnecessary visits to the garage.  Check your tyres are inflated correctly as under inflated tyres increase fuel consumption.  If tyres are under-inflated they create more rolling resistance and friction putting more pressure on the engine.  Pump your tyres regularly and change the engine oil to keep your car healthy. Replace parts as soon as they begin to wear out so that you don't get caught out being stranded or having to pay out huge sums to get something fixed very quickly.