Motoring

How To Save Fuel While Driving

save fuelSaving fuel is a topic that is of interest to nearly every adult individual in the UK. The large majority of us are drivers ourselves or use public transport to get around. Either way the cost of fuel directly impacts our wellbeing and personal finances.

This post will go over ways in which you can conserve your fuel consumption in order to reduce expenditure on motoring. With a little care, consideration and preparation you can take quite a chunk off of your fuel costs. Read on to find out how…

Take The Pedal Off The Metal

This one may seem obvious, but the nature in which you drive directly impacts the amount of fuel consumed. By sticking to some key rules you can reduce your expenditure on petrol/diesel by up to 25%, the average driver could save around £300-£350 per year by smarter driving. Here are some notable speed statics in relation to the amount of fuel you’ll use up:

  • The most fuel efficient speed to drive at is between 45-55mph
  • Driving at 75mph compared to 60mph will cost you 18% more on fuel consumption.
  • Driving at 85mph compared to 70mph will cost you 25% more fuel consumption.

You should also try and avoid sharp acceleration or deceleration (unless absolutely necessary). Sharp jumps in speed will increase the rpm of the engine causing it to use more fuel to fulfil the required rotations. As for sharp decelerations in speed you will have wasted fuel which could have been saved by engaging in a more gradual decline/stop.

Keep On Top Of Your Maintenance

Some simple maintenance techniques will allow you to save on fuel and keep your car in good condition at the same time. Some of them should be undertaken as a safety measure anyway; whilst others are more of a secondary concern.

Tyre pressure is a big one, both when it comes to safety and fuel conservation. If you’re tyres are under inflated by 1 bar (a unit of air pressure) it can lead to increased resistance causing the engine to use 6% more fuel. Under inflated tyres are also more susceptible to blowouts and so it’s essential not optional to keep them at the right levels.

Cleaning out air filters in the engine can also help it run smoother. If the engine can run more cleanly with less effort/strain then the fuel will be burned more efficiently which saves you money.

Plan Ahead

The old motto from your school days of “fail to prepare then prepare to fail” holds true when it comes to travelling. You should plan out both your route and car setup carefully before setting off to keep costs down.

Start-stop traffic will cause you to use up a lot of fuel, so planning a route that will allow for continuous driving is always a better option. In some cases it can be better to take a physically longer route that allows for smooth continual driving than a shorter route with lots of stops from traffic.

Try and travel as light as possible at all times. This means emptying your boot and back seats of any unnecessary clutter that may be weighing you down. Another big saver is to only use modifications such as a roof rack when it’s in use. Keeping such attachments on permanently will cause unnecessary air drag which uses up fuel.

Other Factors

This section will list some other factors that you should take into consideration when trying to lower your car fuel bills.

  • Don’t overfill – we often forget that petrol itself is a heavy substance, and we put a lot of it into our vehicles. By only filling up half a tank at a time you can reduce the amount of weight that the engine has to pull at any one time.
  • Use Autogas or vegetable oil – There are cheaper alternative sources of fuel out there such as Autogas (hydrogen based fuel) which is sold at most Shell garages. If you’re feeling a little brave or wacky you can even fuel your car on vegetable oil. Obviously engines need to be professionally converted to run on these types of fuel so you need to take into consideration the cost of this as well.
  • Don’t sit with an idling engine – If you’re engine is going to be sitting idle for any longer than 60 seconds then turn it off. Otherwise you will use up more fuel than it would take to turn the engine off and on again.
  • Use air condition in moderation – Air conditioning is one of the most fuel hungry functions of any vehicle (apart from driving it of course). Keep your use of air conditioning in moderation and only use it when necessary. A lot of people advocate rolling down the windows to cool down the car, but remember this is only efficient up to 40mph.

This fuel saving article was brought to you by Intelligent Car leasing, a UK vehicle leasing company. ICL strives to help customers save money on their monthly car payments by negotiating the best deals on their behalf.

Image Source: Peter Grundy

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