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8 tips to help cut your car’s fuel costs

8 tips to help cut your car’s fuel costs
Image source: Getty Images


If you’re looking to cut fuel costs, you’re in good company. According to Nimblefins, British households spend an average of £22.30 per week (or over £1,000 a year) on petrol, diesel and other motor oils.

Leasing firm Car Lease Special Offers recently shared some easy driving and car care tips to help drivers reduce fuel consumption and money spent on driving. “We know a lot of people are looking to save money right now and these simple hacks are a great way to cut costs at the petrol pump,” says marketing manager Will Bullen. 

Let’s take a look at their recommendations.

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1. Avoid idling

Perhaps the easiest thing you can do to cut fuel costs is to turn the engine off when you’ll be stationary for a long time. This includes times when you’re stuck in traffic, waiting to pick somebody up or warming up your engine before a winter drive.

Between 5% and 8% of fuel use occurs while idling. It can also cost you money in penalties, as UK drivers can be fined for stationary idling.

2. Check your tyre pressure every month

Underinflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to 5%. And the more you drive, the more often you should check tyre pressure. As a rule, you should check tyre pressures about once a month. 

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3. Respect the speed limit

Not only is this safer for you and other drivers on the road, but maintaining a steady speed also saves fuel. In fact, fuel efficiency is at its best when you’re driving at around 50mph. Go faster than that and your engine has to work harder, using up more fuel. On long roads and motorways, use cruise control if you can to avoid acceleration.

4. Unload your car

Don’t use your car as a storage unit. The heavier your car is, the more fuel it uses every time it moves. You can cut fuel costs by lightening your load. That means removing roof racks or roof boxes and any other non-essential equipment you might be carrying around.

5. Drive smoothly

Accelerating and braking constantly uses a lot of fuel. This means not only braking for traffic lights but also slowing down to go over speed bumps. If you anticipate a stop-start journey in heavy traffic, slow down and drive at a steady 15 to 20mph to keep the vehicle rolling.

6. Pick open windows or air conditioning carefully

It’s hard to win this one. Open windows cause vehicle drag (and higher fuel consumption) when you’re driving at fast speeds (over 40mph). But running your air conditioning also increases fuel consumption significantly.

The compromise? You can cut fuel costs by opening the window if you’re driving slowly but using the air con on journeys when you’re driving faster.

7. Service your vehicle regularly

Learning to conduct your own regular car checks will alert you to problems and help you keep your car in good condition. You should also service your car regularly to make sure there are no hidden issues. This includes making sure your air filters aren’t dirty, as this makes the engine work harder and uses more fuel. 

Well-maintained vehicles are also less likely to experience mechanical failure and, potentially, accidents. This means you won’t have to put claims through your car insurance and you’ll end up saving more (no excesses, no increased premiums).

8. Drive less

If you have no choice but to drive, combine trips. Once you’re out and the engine is warm, run several errands at once.

When possible, choose public transportation, walk or ride your bike. Cutting down even one trip per week can save you a significant amount of fuel over a period of months.

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