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Good advice on how to make your fuel go further

Motorists are being urged to squeeze as many miles out of their tanks as possible amid the fluctuating cost of fuel and our current cost-of-living crisis.

Experts at one of the UK’s leading insurance price comparison websites, has published some good car owners advice on how to make their fuel go further with simple adjustments to their driving habits.

With fuel prices and living costs at record highs, households are looking to cut their monthly expenses and improving fuel efficiency is a good way to help stretch the budget.

Photo: istock

Obviously, Motorists are advised to avoid expensive petrol stations and search for the cheapest prices, for example it may be more cost effective to fill the tank at an independent retailer – so best check online for the nearest locations before setting off and include them as part of an upcoming journey before the fuel level hits low.

One of the most crucial factors on fuel consumption is speed, as faster driving wastes more fuel – the optimal fuel-efficient speed for most cars between 72-80 km/h. However, on many journeys this can be very difficult to adhere to. It can be very frustrating for the traffic behind you too.

However, it is a fact that speed increases fuel consumption. The UK’s Department for Transport figures show that driving on the motorway at 80mph (129km/h) uses around 25 per cent more fuel than driving at 70mph (113km/h). Travelling at 70mph (113km/h) instead of 60mph (97km/h) will use nine per cent more fuel, and an additional five per cent more than driving at 50mph (80km/h).

Greg Wilson, founder of said: “Frugal drivers can get the maximum mileage from the fuel tank by incorporating money-saving driving techniques into their everyday journeys. Eco-driving can have a huge impact on how much money you spend at the petrol pump.

“Besides choosing the cheapest petrol station and the right speed, there are a number of other simple tricks that can help you make fuel go further, including decluttering the boot and checking tyre pressure.”

Here are their top eight fuel saving tips:

Remove excess weight
The heavier the car, the harder the engine has to work, resulting in higher fuel consumption. Make sure to declutter your car and clear out the boot to reduce some weight.

Regular maintenance
Keeping the car in good condition ensures that the vehicle runs efficiently which also helps fuel economy. It may be a bit costly to service the car, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Drive smoothly
Sudden braking and speeding up burns more fuel and that’s why it’s important to gauge the flow of traffic. Gentle acceleration and steady speed ensure the most economical use of fuel. Additionally, a note for electric car drivers, relying on regenerative braking will also help maximise your driving range and the lifespan of your mechanical brakes.

Change gears as early as possible
Switching into the highest possible gear keeps the revs low which saves petrol. For example, at a 40 mph speed the car will consume 25 per cent more fuel in third gear compared to fifth. Under normal conditions the gears should be changed when the revs are between 1,500-2,000 rpm.

Check tyre pressure
It’s important to make sure that the tyres are inflated to the right pressure, because underinflated tyres create more rolling resistance which means that the engine has to work harder. The car can consume 5 per cent more fuel for every 0.5 bar drop in pressure. Also, your tyres will last longer by keeping the correct tyre pressure in your tyres. The wrong tyre pressures can also affect your car’s braking performance.

Avoid idling
Drivers shouldn’t leave the engine running while they’ve stopped because it’s bad for the environment and wastes fuel. It’s worth switching off the engine when the car is stationary for even a few minutes.

Turn off additional functions
The vehicle’s add-on functions, like air conditioning and seat heaters, should only be used, when necessary. The same goes for the heated rear screen, de-misters and headlights – if you don’t need them, switch them off, as they drain the car’s battery as well as the petrol tank.

However, don’t neglect your air-conditioning, as systems sometimes have a tendency to develop mould or fail due to cracked seals if left unused for months on end.

Don’t fill the tank to the brim
Fuel is heavy, so if the tank is filled to the top, then there is more unnecessary weight that the car has to carry.

And here are some additional tips that come to mind:

  • Don’t leave roof-racks, roof-boxes etc. on after you have done using them for road trips etc. When they are in place, the extra wind drag will cost you kpl/mpg.
    Also, opening your car windows can also cause significant drag, so it could prove more economical to use the air conditioning to keep cool when driving at higher speeds.
  • Avoid buying more expensive premium/super unleaded petrols or more expensive super diesels. The promised higher octane rating or additives do little or nothing for the vast majority of cars. However, some high performance or imported sports cars may have a recommendation for higher octane fuel.
  • Also because of the higher ethanol content these days in regular petrol, drivers of many old car, you may need to opt for premium unleaded. Check with you car service outlet.
  • And finally, as we ease into the winter months, don’t turn on your engine at home in the mornings to de-ice and warm it up. It is better to drive your car gently immediately after turning it on, rather than leaving it to warm up. Not only will the engine warm up more quickly, reducing the potential for engine wear, you’ll use less fuel in the process.

If your car is iced over, use an ice scraper or de-icing spray rather than leaving your car running and relying on the heating. Don’t use very hot water to clear ice from your windscreen or back window, as it can damage your wipers.

I hope that you got some ideas and may make some simple adjustments to driving habits can save you more miles for your tank.