Here, Mark Barclay, from trade specialists GSF Car Parts, shares his top tips for saving fuel and money when you’re out on the road.
Did you know that motorists were paying an average of 10p more per litre in May 2019 than they were in February last year (the AA)?Nobody knows what the future will hold, especially with Brexit negotiations taking place, so if you’re feeling the pinch then it’s a good idea to start picking up some fuel-saving habits in case prices continue to rise.
Below are just some of the ways you can reduce your vehicle’s fuel consumption and save yourself some money.
Understand your engine
In general, the faster an engine spins the more fuel it uses, so try to avoid any driving that may cause excessive revolutions per minute (RPM). Each car has its own optimum fuel economy speed, which is where the engine is doing the least amount of work, so it’s the ideal speed to drive at to get the most out of your fuel. This is usually about 50-55 miles per hour, but it can be more or less depending on various factors like the size, weight and shape of your car.
Reduce the weight
Heavy cars need more power to get going, so it might be worth clearing out your boot and back seats to get rid of any extra weight — and don’t forget your roof rack!If you need to carry a heavier load in your car, make sure your tyres are inflated enough to accommodate it, as this can help reduce the miles per gallon (MPG) that your car goes through.You should always inflate your tyres to the correct pressure level, as both over and under inflated tyres can cost you fuel.
Accelerate and brake gently
It’s better to accelerate gently rather being’heavy-footed’to reduce your engine’s RPM. So, try not to tear out of the gate if you have the option. Once you’re in motion, drive in the highest gear the traffic around you will allow while staying within the speed limit and avoid braking sharply or unnecessarily.For even further fuel saving, go tightly around corners as well.
Use momentum to get up hills
If you can, it’s better to amend your journeys to avoid driving up steep slopes, but that can be complicated and not always possible. So, instead of revving your way to the top and burning through fuel, accelerate on the approach and use the momentum to help carry you up the hill.
Sometimes, friction can cause engines and other parts of your car to work more than they need to. Avoid this by keeping on top of emptying or replacing your filters and oils, and make sure you keep everything well lubricated. This will allow all the parts of your vehicle to move easily and your fuel will go further as a result.
Turn off the AC and heat
Using the temperature systems in your car affects your MPG, so only turn on the heating if it’s really necessary and try winding down the windows rather than switching on your air conditioning. Don’t worry about turning off the radio, though — the amount of power it uses is only very small, so you don’t have to drive in silence to save fuel.
Take longer journeys
This may seem obvious, but if you find yourself jumping in and out of your car multiple times a day in order to run errands, you should consider consolidating all your journeys into as few as possible.Not only can you work out how to travel less miles this way, but not stopping and starting your car as much can save you fuel as momentum can help do most of the work. Plus, a warm engine is more efficient so try not to stop for more than 20 minutes at a time to keep it going.
Look after your car
A healthy car is an efficient one, so make sure you keep up with your MOT check-ups and get any problems repaired no matter how small they may seem. Spark plugs, high-tension leads, and oxygen sensors can all show signs of wear over time, which can reduce the efficiency of your vehicle, so it’s important to have them regularly checked. Skipping services may seem like you’re saving money at first, but you’ll end up paying more in fuel (and DVLA fines) if your car isn’t up to scratch.
The tips in this guide can help you reduce the amount of fuel you use when you drive, hopefully saving you some money in the process.