With the price of fuel at the highest levels ever and still rising, it is so important to make the most of every drop. There are a number of ways we can do this. We can broadly categorise this in two ways.
1) The car we drive and how efficient it is.
2) The way in which we drive the car.
So lets firstly talk about the car. We can buy a car that is already proven to be economical. The manufacturers give specific information about their cars fuel efficiency, so you need to buy a car the right size for your needs, you then need to maintain that car to achieve maximum efficiency, so how can we do that:
1) Have the car serviced in accordance with the manufacturers service schedule.
2) Check tyre pressures regularly, once a week is favourite and check them when they are cold (a hot tyre will give a false reading).
3) Do not carry any unnecessary weight in the car, so remove any clutter.
4) Remove roof racks if not being used as this will effect the cars aerodynamic effeciency.
5) When starting off from cold, turn the heater off until the car has warmed up, normally several minutes depending on the outside temperature, so use your temperature guage (if fitted).
6) Dont use air conditioning if unecessary, this greatly increases fuel consumption. Although driving at speed with the windows down can also increase fuel consumption, it is often a good balance to open the windows a little and leave the air con off.
So thats the vehicle sorted, so how about the way we drive it? The driver can make the most difference and it is possible to achieve phenomenal results if we try, you could make savings of up to 20%.
1) Park in a way that enables you to drive off forwards when you start your journey, manoeuvering with a cold engine can be thirsty.
2) Smooth gentle acceleration.
3) Read the road well ahead and back off early to allow the car to slow down naturally, saving both fuel and brakes. In particular, look in to junctions and roundabouts as soon as possible to allow perfect regulation of speed to arrive just in time to go and not, just in time to stop. Reduce your speed on faster roads, say 60mph instead of 70mph can save 10%.
4) Switch the engine off at traffic lights (if several cars back from the front), switch off also at road works, level crossings, sitting in traffic jams or just pulled up by the side of the road dropping off passengers etc.
5) Plan your route to avoid the regular traffic hold ups, its some times better to take a slightly longer route and allow the car to run at optimum efficiency.
6) And finally this is one of common sense, Buy your fuel at the best prices. It is amazing how much the cost of fuel can vary, so be frugal and fill up at the garages offering the best price, there can be as much as 5 pence a litre difference or 22p a gallon in old money, manage your journey and fuel reserves so you can fill up at those cheaper garages and if you are able, dont fill the tank to capacity as you will be carrying a lot of extra weight in the form of fuel. Some garage chains offer loyalty cards and some banks offer money back on fuel purchases when you use their cards, so use both to optimize your savings.
If you put all or even some of these ideas in to practice, you may as already mentioned make total savings of up to 20% or in other words, maybe one less visit to the petrol station per week or nearly 2 months off per year!