By: Lisa Harper
This year has seen a steady rise in the cost of petrol and diesel with the current average price in the UK around £1.27 for a gallon of petrol and £1.32 for diesel. Therefore knowing how to get the most from your engine has never been more important.
Our simple fuel saving steps will help you to maximise your fuel efficiency to get the most for your money.
Keep Consistent – One of the best ways to reduce your fuel bill is to maintain a consistent speed. Constantly slowing down and speeding up can increase your fuel consumption. If your car comes with cruise control this can be a great way to maintain a set speed, particularly on motorways and dual carriageways.
Observe the road – Watching the road ahead and anticipating how road users in front are going to react can allow you to keep a more consistent speed, remember smooth driving is a key factor in improving fuel economy.
Use the right gear – Many modern cars now come with a gear-shift indicator to indicate the optimal point at which to switch gears. However if you don’t have this handy feature it is worth noting that for a petrol engine generally the ideal revs are between 1,500-2,000rpm and for a diesel engine between 1,200-2,000rpm, once the rev counter goes beyond this it is time to switch up a gear. Get used to listening to your car and knowing the optimum point at which to switch gears.
Short-shifting – Involves changing gear before reaching optimum rpm, with people often skipping out gears i.e. going directly from first to third. Effectively this technique minimises the rpm you reach and therefore reduces fuel consumption.
Slow down – Studies have found that slowing down by 10% uses 27% less power from the engine, so easing off the gas really can help preserve your fuel. In fact the Department for Transport figures state you use up to 9% more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph.
Top up little and often – Essentially by only topping up small amounts you can keep the laden-weight of the vehicle to a minimum. However you really need to work out whether this is something that works for your lifestyle as it will result in regular stops at the fuel station.
Air con vs windows open – At slower speeds it is less detrimental to fuel economy to open your windows to keep cool. However once you increase speed the extra drag created from having the windows open means air-con is more efficient.
Avoid Idling – At idle you go nowhere but your car is still burning fuel. Therefore it is important you turn off your engine if you’re stopped for more than a minute. Many modern cars come with Star/Stop engines that cut off the engine for you.
Plan the best route – Use a Satnav to get you from a-to-b via the most direct route. Map systems or Apps with live traffic updates can be particularly useful as it is possible to avoid areas with known traffic jams, blockages and road works. This not only saves you considerable time it also prevents you wasting fuel sat idling in traffic.
Check tyre pressures – Poorly inflated tyres can reduce your fuel efficiency; making time to regularly check that your tyres are inflated to the figure stated in your handbook, will be well worth it in the long run.
Reduce Drag – remove any unnecessary accessories, such as a roof or cycle rack, when they are not in use. This will help reduce drag and ensure your car is more aerodynamic for better fuel economy.
Remove unnecessary weight – having a clear out and removing unnecessary items from your car will reduce your cars weight. Studies have found that an extra 45kg can reduce fuel consumption by 1-2%.
Shop Around – There are loads of websites dedicated to publishing the best fuel prices in your area. There are also many vouchers and money-off coupons out there so shopping around definitely helps you make the most of your fuel.
Regular Servicing – Remember a well-tuned engine performs better so making sure you stick to your manufacturer’s service schedule can help to maintain your cars optimum mile per gallon capability. If your car is due a service why not book now.
Get the right car for your lifestyle – If you’re looking for a new car then you have a great opportunity to choose a more efficient vehicle. A good place to start is to think about your lifestyle and choose a car that will offer the best fit. If you mainly use your vehicle for a short commute then it might be worth considering an electric caror a hybrid car. However for those with a longer commute sticking with tradition petrol or diesel fuel vehicles may be more cost-effective.
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