Fuel prices are a constant source of tension for motorists and recently they’ve been increasing. Although manufacturers are doing their best to optimise the efficiency of their vehicles, a tank of fuel can still prove expensive, especially if you find yourself doing more than the average number of miles. Here, we outline the main causes of poor fuel economy and suggest how you can improve it.
Most of us know to keep an eye on our tyre tread depth, but many motorists neglect to check their tyre pressure on a regular basis. If your tyres are underinflated, it will reduce your car’s efficiency, meaning you spend more time at the pumps. Remember that, if you’re loading the car up for a long trip or holiday, you’ll need to inflate your tyres a little extra – otherwise you could find your vehicle is thirstier than it should be.
One of the main factors affecting fuel consumption is a car’s weight. Of course, no-one wants to get caught out if their vehicle breaks down, but removing unnecessary weight can make a difference to economy. Ditch the beach toys, deck chairs or extra tools during the week if you’re using your car for both commuting and family outings, and remove roof or bike racks between weekend trips.
The above tips alone can save you money, but what will improve fuel consumption further? Planning ahead can have a significant impact on fuel expenses. It’s no secret that two fuel stations not three miles from each other can have a difference of several pence per litre on their prices. If you’re out and about in an area you know, plan to fill up at a cheaper station and, wherever possible, avoid filling up at motorway services as they tend to be the most expensive.
You can also combine several errands into one trip to save on fuel. If certain things on your to-do list can wait, make one journey to cover all of them rather than nipping out three of four times.
Aggressive drivers usually annoy other motorists, but this isn’t the only reason to be more considerate on the road. Driving style is one of the main causes of poor fuel economy, with harsh acceleration and heavy braking contributing to increased consumption. Using gears efficiently also helps to improve efficiency – many more recent models even have a dash icon that suggests when to change gear so you can get the most from your tank.
Finally, regular supermarket shoppers should keep an eye out for discount vouchers on fuel. This can help you save money on the direct price each time you fill up. It’s a simple yet fool-proof way of ensuring you’re not paying over the odds at the pumps.