You don’t need to drive out of your way to that slightly cheaper station to save on petrol. Sometimes it’s as easy as winding up your window, watching your gears and planning your journeys.
These simple (and occasionally surprising) tips will have you saving fuel with an absolute minimum of effort. Which of them are you currently following?
1. Don’t be too eager to fill up
Many of us will want to squeeze that little bit extra out of the pump, filling as much as we can beyond the first click of the nozzle. However, anything added beyond this point could spill out as soon as you turn the next corner.
2. Choose your fuel carefully
If your car is designed to run on premium unleaded, you won’t be saving money by picking the cheaper regular fuel; the lower performance will, in most cases, lead to a small increase in fuel consumption.
Likewise, if your car is designed to run on regular unleaded fuel, you may get a little extra performance out of premium unleaded – but it will rarely be enough to offset the cost of the more expensive fuel.
By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
3. Don’t neglect your tyres
The lower your car’s tyre pressure, the more energy it needs to get moving. A quick check every 2-4 weeks will not only ensure your car is smoother to run, but also that little bit cheaper.
4. Alternate smartly between the windows and air conditioning
We all know the air conditioner wastes fuel (as much as 10% in some vehicles) but winding down the windows isn’t always your best alternative.
An open window is a great way to stay cool in slower traffic. However, cars are specifically shaped to cut through the air as efficiently as possible; beyond a certain speed, the wind resistance will start to drag it down.
If you’re hearing that wind noise, chances are your car is more expensive to run.
5. Drive smoothly (and patiently)
The most fuel-efficient way to drive is at a consistent speed in a higher gear. If you’re prone to overtaking, the tiny advantage of beating that car to the next set of lights will be offset by your next fuel bill.
6. Avoid frequent stops and idling
Your car will waste a huge amount of fuel slowing down to a stop and starting up again. This makes peak hour the least fuel-efficient time of day to travel – although for many of us, avoiding it is obviously easier said than done.
7. Don’t speed
Many drivers have the misconception that it’s more economical to drive slowly in a higher gear. On the contrary, it’s far more fuel efficient to switch back to a lower gear designed to properly handle that speed.
8. Empty your boot
Many of us have that one heavy item we can’t be bothered removing from the back. While we might be saving our bodies the effort of constant loading and unloading, the extra weight will ultimately be a burden on the car.
9. Remove your roof rack
Unless you have something strapped on top of your car, it’s creating unnecessary wind resistance. Not all cars will have the luxury of a removable rack, but if you do, your engine will thank you for it in the long run.
10. Combine your small trips into longer journeys
The start of any journey (as your engine warms up) will use up fuel more quickly than the rest of the trip. If possible, combine your car travel for the day into a single round trip to minimise your petrol use.
Are you a fuel-efficient driver? How many of these tips do you follow? And are there any tips you would add?