Lowering Your Fuel Consumption

With pump prices at an all time high, you may find that after depreciation, fuel costs are your biggest motoring expense. Unfortunately, the number of miles to the gallon your car can achieve is unlikely to be as high as that quoted by the car manufacturer; when driving in real-life conditions, you can generally expect 10% to 15% less mileage than the figures quoted.

However, if you follow these tips, you should be able to reduce your car's fuel consumption, save money and do your bit to help the environment.

  • Try to consider fuel economy when choosing your car. By selecting a fuel efficient vehicle, you could save over £600 a year.
  • Take a look at the routes that you frequently take, such as your drive to work or the school run. Although a less congested route may add miles to your journey, it will cut pounds of your fuel bill by reducing the amount of stop-start driving.
  • Avoid leaving your engine running when you first start up. Drive away as soon as you can, taking things gently until the engine has reached its normal operating temperature.
  • Stick to the speed limit and drive as smoothly as you can, avoiding heavy braking and sharp acceleration. Not only will this reduce wear and tear on your car, but it could save you up to 30% on your fuel costs.
  • Always ensure that your tyres are at the correct pressure; driving with under-inflated tyres can add up to 2% to your fuel costs.
  • Accelerate smoothly through the gears to your desired speed and then stick to the highest gear possible without labouring the engine. You should aim to keep the engine speed to between 2,000 rpm and 3,000 rpm. It is estimated that a car travelling at a speed of 37 mph in 3rd gear uses 25% more fuel than when at the same speed in 5th gear.
  • Keep your car well maintained. Blocked and dirty air filters can seriously reduce your fuel economy, as can a dirty engine, so it's worth checking and changing your air filters and oil regularly.
  • Turn off any unnecessary equipment, such as the stereo, rear demisters and air-conditioning. Using the air vents instead of the air-conditioning could reduce your consumption by about 10%.
  • Do not carry anything in your car that you don't need, such as unnecessary items in your boot; the lighter the load, the lower the fuel consumption and emissions.
  • If your car has a roof rack, bike rack or roof box, make sure that you remove it when it's not in use. This will improve your car's aerodynamics and fuel economy, as will shutting your windows and sunroof.
  • Using your car's cruise control on long journeys will help to reduce stress and fatigue, and will also help you to save on fuel.
  • If you're stuck in traffic for more than a minute, switch off your engine if it is safe to do so.