1. Maintain your car
One of the best ways to save fuel is to keep your car well maintained. Fix minor faults as soon as they come up and have the car serviced regularly to help it drive as efficiently as possible. It’s also important to ensure your tyres are properly inflated and make checking their pressure levels a habit.
2. Keep a steady speed
Cranking up the accelerator can burn through more fuel than maintaining a steady speed. Accelerate gently and try to drive in the highest possible gear for your vehicle while remaining within the speed limit.
3. Drive smoothly
It’s not just about hard acceleration, smooth driving can help you save fuel. Keep your steering, braking, and accelerating as smooth and gentle as possible. Anticipating the road ahead can make it easier to start slowing down naturally (remaining in gear) when approaching stationary traffic and maybe even keep moving at a low speed rather than stopping and starting.
4. Don’t forget about drag
Cars are designed to be aerodynamic, but some things can increase the amount of wind resistance and cause fuel-draining drag. External additions to your car can increase drag, including roof bars, roof boxes and even flags in support of your favourite football team! Driving with your windows open can also produce the same effect.
5. Cut-down on air conditioning
If you’re keeping your windows closed on a warm day to avoid drag, you might also be tempted to blast the air conditioning to stay cool. Unfortunately, both AC and the heater use unnecessary fuel so it’s best to avoid using them whenever possible.
6. Combine journeys
Your car engine works best when it’s already warm, so it makes sense to combine journeys rather than make several short trips when you’re trying to save petrol. Plan your route ahead of time to avoid hills and rough roads that could also drain your tank faster. And, of course, the best way to save fuel is not drive at all – consider walking or cycling short distances instead of jumping in the car.
7. Lighten the load
Heavy vehicles use more fuel so keep your load as light as possible to cut down on petrol. Do an inventory and take out all those things that you carry in your boot out of habit or cut down on the amount of luggage you’re planning to take on that weekend road trip and you could find that your full tank lasts a lot longer.
8. Top up your tank
While it’s tempting to fill up your tank every time you head to the petrol station, only topping it up with the fuel you need can help you save petrol and money as you won’t be adding any unnecessary weight to your car.
9. Shop around
Fuel prices aren’t fixed, and some petrol stations are more expensive than others. Typically, the priciest petrol is sold at motorway service stations while your local supermarket might not only be cheaper but also have special offers or loyalty rewards for its customers. Make sure you shop around to find the best price.
10. Replace dirty air filters
As well as keeping up with standard car maintenance, pay special attention to your air filters. Dirty air filters can cause the car’s engine to work harder than it needs to, so changing them out regularly can help you save fuel over time.
11. Use the right fuel
Avoid using fuel that could damage your engine. Be mindful not to accidentally fill a petrol car with diesel and vice versa. You should also double-check that your car’s compatible with the new E10 petrol and consider investing in premium fuel from time to time; it’ll cost more to fill up but could be more efficient on long journeys.
12. Use cruise control
Not all cars come equipped with cruise control but if yours does have that function available, it can provide a more relaxed driving experience, make your engine more efficient, and help you save fuel. It’s even worthwhile when used over just a few hundred metres.
What is hypermiling?
Hypermiling is a trend that became popular in the US in the early 2000s and sees drivers going to extreme lengths to improve their number of miles per gallon. Popular hypermiling practices include only driving when necessary, travelling at quiet times to avoid stop/start driving in traffic, parking in direct sun on cold days and in shade during the summer to avoid having to use the heater or air conditioning, and always driving slowly and steadily.
Why is fuel so expensive?
Petrol prices are based on the cost of crude oil and this can fluctuate depending on supply and demand. When there is less oil available and demand is high, prices can rise rapidly. But oil prices aren’t the only thing that influence the cost of fuel; in the UK, fuel duty tax and VAT are added, and oil is imported from abroad so exchange rates can also make it more expensive.