Motoring – Driving Tips

Saving Fuel

With fuel prices escalating, it makes sense to use your fuel more efficiently. The following tips will help you save money by saving fuel.

Short journeys

Save fuel by walking, cycling or using public transport for short journeys.

Combine several short trips to avoid multiple cold starts. Fuel consumption is much higher when the engine is cold.

Saving fuel with good car maintenance

Service regularly. A badly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 15%.

Change engine oil once a year or every 7500 miles for a petrol car, and every six months or 3000 miles for a diesel.

Check your tyres. RAC research shows that 20% under–inflation (typically 6psi) can increase fuel consumption by 3 %. Check tyres regularly when they are cold, since driving the car warms up the tyres and gives a falsely high reading. Bald tyres also reduce fuel economy. Check your wheel alignment if tyres appear to be unevenly worn to improve car handling and thus fuel consumption.

Chipping, or reprogramming your engine’s software, traditionally used to increase a car’s performance, is increasingly seen as a way to boost fuel economy, but keep the speed down for optimum savings.

Saving fuel by cutting the clutter

Clear your car of unnecessary clutter to minimise weight and never drive with unused roof racks or boxes on your car.

Saving fuel by changing your driving style

Keep your speed down. The average car consumes 38% more fuel at 70mph than at 50mph.

Drive smoothly, with no heavy acceleration or braking, and make sure you are in the right gear.

As soon as you’re aware that you have to slow down or stop, take your foot off the accelerator, but stay in gear.

It’s more fuel efficient to keep the car in gear when slowing for the lights. In neutral the engine uses a small amount of petrol to stop it from stalling.

Aim to maintain low revs whilst driving (between 1500 and 2500 rpm) by changing gear as soon as is practical.

In a long, stationery queue, turn off your engine.

Saving fuel while keeping cool

Air conditioning increases your petrol consumption by up to 10%. Save fuel by using your fans on cool or open the windows slightly. At speeds above 50mph air conditioning is more fuel–efficient than driving with the windows open.

Saving fuel with your Sat–Nav

Use your satellite navigation system to chose the shortest route or divert you around jams, thus avoiding fuel–guzzling stop–start traffic.

Saving fuel when filling up

To calculate how much fuel your car uses, fill your tank to the brim, drive a set number of miles to a filling station, then see how much fuel it takes to fill the tank again. Use as a basis for testing the effectiveness of any steps you take to improve economy.

Fuel prices vary so shop around. Save fuel by visiting

Petrol becomes denser at colder temperatures, so fill up in the morning or evening for better petrol price economy.

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