How To Save Fuel: 6 Top Tips
With the price of fuel rising and the cost of living crisis set to bite for some time to come, how we most efficiently drive our vehicles is both a hot topic of debate and a potentially huge money saver. Coupled with the fact prices at the pumps rarely go down, there has never been a more important time to keep an eye on what you pay for fuel and how you drive your vehicle. With that in mind, here are our top 6 tips for how to save fuel when driving.
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1. How better driving habits help with fuel consumption
It is no surprise that driving faster uses more fuel. Going at 70mph will use up to 30% more fuel than if you were to drive at 50mph. But speed is not the only factor, it is more important to be at the right biting point where speed meets fuel efficiency. This might sound obvious, but driving at high revs, straining the engine, or generally driving everywhere at 20, 30 or 40mph is not the best way to save fuel, so don’t think reducing your speed (or getting somewhere faster) alone will optimise fuel levels.
There are indeed many conflicting view points about speed and fuel consumption, and it does differ markedly depending on different car models and driving conditions too. So, instead of looking at your speed and what gear you are in, look at your miles per gallon (MPG). Modern cars display the information on the dash, in real-time. This is a good barometer for how efficiently you are driving. Your car’s MPG should be as high as possible to optimise fuel consumption.
A word of caution on monitoring your MPG levels, do not let this number distract you or cause you to drive erratically. Maintain safe driving habits, gradually changing them over time to meet optimum MPG levels.
Check your car manufacturers user handbook to know what your highest MPG number is and adapt your driving style to meet that.
2. How shopping around helps with fuel consumption
This will come as no surprise but the cost of fuel varies markedly depending on where you fill up. So it absolutely makes sense to keep tabs on what the petrol stations near you are selling fuel at. The same applies on regular commutes or when planning longer trips. Knowing the cost of fuel at different service stations will save you considerable money.
If you have a favourite local fuel station, or one that is conveniently located on your drive to work, check out how it compares to others nearby. You may be surprised, by driving an extra mile or so to get cheaper fuel can save as much as 5p per litre, which all adds up when it is only an extra few minutes drive. And remember, fuel prices are not regulated nationwide so shop around. In general, fuel prices at supermarket service stations tend to be the cheapest.
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3. How keeping your car in good condition helps with fuel consumption
Whilst the smoother you drive the more fuel you will save, the same is true for how smoothly your car actually runs itself. This is a hugely important factor in optimising fuel consumption. An inefficient car is going to burn more fuel. So ensure it is maintained properly with a full service and has the right tyre pressures.
The biggest waste here comes from having the wrong tyre pressures. Ensuring the air in your tyres is topped up not only prolongs the life of the tread, but also improves fuel efficiency as there will be less rolling resistance with the road. The more damaged or deflated your tyres are, the harder it will be to drive, thus the more fuel will be needed to move the vehicle. Always keep on top of your tyre pressures for optimum fuel consumption.
Check your car manufacturers user handbook to know what tyre pressures your vehicle requires. They will be different for front vs. back tyres.
4. How turning off your engine helps with fuel consumption
An excellent technological advancement in many modern cars is a ‘city mode’ that automatically switches off the engine when stood still. If your car doesn’t have this feature, it is highly advisable to do so manually. Now, switching off your engine clearly needs to be done in the safest and most obvious of situations, but turning your engine off can save a lot of fuel if for example you are sitting for a while in traffic, waiting for someone to get in your car, or sat chatting to someone while sat in your car and stationary.
Also, when it is cold outside (and especially when it is freezing) do not run the engine to heat your car up before leaving your home. Not only is this unsafe (ripe for vehicle theft if you leave it running while you pop back in the house) it also is a huge waste of fuel as the car is working overtime to quickly heat up, remove ice from windscreen, etc.
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5. How removing roof boxes and bike racks helps with fuel consumption
An obvious point, but the heavier the load of your vehicle and the less aerodynamic it is, the less efficiently it will drive. Therefore, if you have a roof box or bike rack only have them attached to your car when you truly need them. A roof box shouldn’t be used as a general storage unit where you are carrying things around on journeys when they are not needed. Stats show that drivers with a roof box use between 10 and 25% more on fuel because of the heavier weight and as increasing the ‘frontal area’ of the vehicle destroys the vehicles aerodynamics. Even an empty roof box can add up to 15% to your fuel bill.
Bike and roof racks are the same, they add weight, even if empty, and have a negative impact on the cars aerodynamics. They are easy to remove too, so unless in use don’t have them on your vehicle.
And while we are on the subject of unnecessary weight in your car, check your boot and footwells. If you have boots or shoes, bottles of anti-freeze or bags just sat there, take them out. The weight is an unnecessary extra and it all adds up in terms of fuel consumption. This is one of the quickest, easiest and most efficient ways to save fuel.
6. How using less air conditioning helps with fuel consumption
This one has long been debated but despite many people believing it to be a common misconception, having the air conditioning on in your car does use fuel. Stats suggest it increases consumption by 5 to 10%.
But if this is often a misconception, how does your air conditioning unit use fuel? The short answer is the compressor that produces the cool air is designed to run off your fuel tank, and while excessive air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by around 10% the average is much closer to 5% (unless you want your car to feel like the Arctic and maintain that chill for a sustained period of time).
Either way, the simple maths say that at £80 for a tank of fuel, even a 5% decrease in consumption can add up when the alternative is often opening the window. After all, it’s not like we live in a country with incessant heat for several months of the year.
To conclude… One of the biggest expenses and therefore biggest concerns for people in the current financial climate is that of running their cars, especially with fuel prices rising weekly. Whether you have a long commute, only drive locally, or very little at all other than on weekends, consider the above tips. They are proven ways of saving you money.
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Need Gap Insurance?
There are a few different types of policy you can choose from when taking out your Gap Insurance cover with Click4Gap. These depend largely on how you intend to fund the purchase of your vehicle. So what car Gap Insurance is right for you?
If you paid cash for your vehicle, or paid a sizeable deposit, or if you financed it, Combined RTI Gap cover will pay out the shortfall between the cost of your vehicle and the market value at the point of claim, which is the amount your motor insurer will cover. This is cover that will protect you no matter if you use your vehicle for private use or for business.
If you leased your vehicle or it is under a contract hire agreement, Lease/Contract Hire Gap Insurance will cover you for the shortfall on your lease agreement, after your motor insurer settlement. If, for any reason, you change your vehicle within the first 90 days from the start date, we will also arrange to transfer your cover to your new vehicle without hassle or charge.