Last updated September 02, 2022
In recent times, it seems like the price of fuel can’t stay still. With figures at the pump constantly going up and with drivers everywhere searching tirelessly for the cheapest petrol prices in their area. Some drivers are becoming so frustrated that they are even considering selling their cars and purchasing either electric vehicles or more fuel efficient cars.
To lend a helping hand, we’ve created this piece to assist you with pinching your valuable pennies when it comes to fuel, enabling you to increase the all-important MPG (Miles per Gallon) figure.
Driving economically involves so much more than just your speed - there are plenty of ways to change your driving habits that will save you money at the pump.
Here are some tips on how you can reduce your fuel consumption.
Your car will use the most fuel when it's at its heaviest. Take everything you don’t need out of the car in order to reduce the weight and ultimately, your fuel consumption. Whilst keeping heavy items in your boot that are occasionally used can be convenient, it is costing you money. If you’re not using things often, the excess weight will increase your fuel consumption and where possible, you should reduce it.
Driving style is one of the biggest factors in fuel consumption. Gentle acceleration and using the highest appropriate gear should use the least fuel, helping the engine run more efficiently and also making your driving a lot smoother. Additionally, when you approach traffic lights, ease off the accelerator early if the lights are red. By doing this, you should use less fuel, whilst also driving more safely.
When you keep your vehicle in tip-top shape, you’ll generally use fuel more efficiently, as it won’t be wasted moving broken parts (or leak out of your car). It is important to have your vehicle serviced on a regular basis to ensure everything is working correctly and to detect any developing faults. So, don’t neglect your car’s service schedule and make sure any issues are rectified by a professional.
Air conditioning and heaters use your car fuel. Unless you really must, avoid using the heating and cooling features in your car as this will use engine power and subsequently, fuel.
If you find yourself running a lot of errands, it might be sensible to plan ahead and combine all your trips into one larger one. Once the engine is warm, it will operate at optimal efficiency, whereas several cold starts will increase your fuel consumption, despite the mileage being the same.
Try to maintain a constant speed for as long as possible; when you’re driving stay within driving laws and adapt to traffic conditions. Stop-and-go situations require more fuel, so if you can maintain a constant speed, you should save on fuel. Accelerating should be done gently - try to anticipate what will come next on the road and you’ll find yourself speeding up and braking far less.
Keeping your car engine running when you’re stationary is known as idling. In addition to being illegal, idling for a prolonged period Idling can consume roughly between half a gallon and a full gallon of fuel every hour, and you’re pumping the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide, which is bad for the environment.
So, turn the engine off and restart it to move again, as this will use less fuel than leaving it running at a stop. Start-stop technology was developed to lessen the environmental impact a vehicle has on the environment while saving you fuel.
Avoid having a full tank if possible, as fuel is really heavy. For instance, if you’re carrying 90 litres in a full tankthis is essentially excess weight. If you top up as needed (keeping a small emergency reserve in the tank) then you’ll be carrying less fuel weight around.
Making sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure will help you to use less fuel. When a tyre is under-inflated, the surface area in contact with the road increases. The more greater the surface area, the more drag on the wheels. This makes them less efficient and increases fuel consumption.
Cruise control automatically controls your driving speed. So, whenever you’re driving on the motorway or any other long, flat road, activate it. This should help to reduce your fuel consumption. Avoid using cruise control on roads with a gradient, as this isn’t what the feature is designed for and can use more power (and subsequently more fuel).
Fuel consumption is at its highest when you are accelerating. The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you will burn. When you are driving, accelerate as gently as possible to allow your car to gently gradually pick up speed rather than going in for a short, aggressive burst of acceleration.
Driving more efficiently, reducing weight and planning ahead will help you to reduce your fuel consumption.
Hypermiling is a term referring to driving efficiently. Its main focus is ensuring that momentum is maintained, as braking and acceleration on hills tends to make driving less efficient. A hypermiling car will be optimised for these factors.
Fuel prices are determined by a number of factors, such as the price of crude oil, which is the substance used to make petrol and diesel, supply levels - and the tax imposed on fuel. When crude oil consumption goes up or supply decreases, its value increases, as it is a finite resource.