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With fuel prices skyrocketing, here’s how you can save money on your car journeys

With fuel prices skyrocketing, here’s how you can save money on your car journeys
Image source: Getty Images

Fuel prices have hit an all-time high after rising for a tenth week in a row. A litre of petrol now costs 146.89p, higher than the all-time record set in April 2012. And according to The Daily Mail, the average 55-litre car now costs £19 more to fill than it did a year ago.

And the fuel crisis isn’t just affecting your bank account. The long queues at petrol stations and delays in fuel deliveries are a sign that the recovery of the economy is slowing down as well. 

To help you conserve fuel and reduce costs, car insurance experts at Swinton Insurance have put together a list of seven tips to help you save money.

1. Check your tyres

“If you’re driving around with tyres that are not inflated to the right pressure, you’re using more fuel than you need to,” says Sam Dawson from Swinton Insurance. Underinflated tyres make your engine work harder and will wear out faster. This will force you to spend more on fuel and replacement tyres.

2. Lighten up the load

“Driving around with a boot full of things you don’t need adds extra weight to your car, meaning it has to work harder to drive and consequently uses more fuel,” Dawson explains. You should also remove roof racks or roof boxes, which cause drag when you drive, increasing fuel consumption.

3. Maintain your car properly

Keeping your car is in good shape will ensure it runs efficiently. According to Dawson, keeping on top of your car’s service requirements and using the right type of oil will help it run properly and save you money.

4. Plan your route before you leave home

“Planning your route via a route planner or sat nav minimises the risk of getting lost, making it less likely you’ll use any extra fuel,” Dawson says. At a minimum, check the traffic news before you leave home so you can avoid traffic jams or roads where there’s been an accident.

5. Avoid premium unleaded

Unless you have a high-performance car or sports car, premium fuel usually offers no benefit and it certainly costs more. When in doubt, check your car manufacturer’s handbook to see what it says about fuel. Some cars might run more efficiently on higher octane fuels, but for most cars, it’s an unnecessary expense. 

6. Drive smoothly

Accelerating abruptly, braking harshly and speeding all increase fuel consumption. You can avoid this by keeping an eye on the road ahead and coasting to a stop (rather than hitting the breaks) when necessary. When braking and accelerating, do it gently.

7. Take advantage of discounts

Many petrol stations offer loyalty cards. Use them every time you fill up and you’ll accrue points you can then exchange for discounts. While the discounts might seem small, you’re getting the points for something you would be doing anyway. Even a few pennies here and there still add up.

You can also go to the site and enter your postcode to find the cheapest fuel in your area. According to the website, you could save over £220 a year by just switching to a cheaper petrol station. 

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