Find great tips on cutting your motoring costs and using less fuel from the experts at Admiral car insurance
The cost of fuel has been stable for a while, but it can still be a worry for some motorists. Stick to these tips and you'll maximise your fuel and minimise your panic next time you're at the pumps.
It seems obvious, but reducing your speed by just a few mph will also reduce engine revs, and use less fuel. Cutting your speed by 5mph won't add much to your journey time but it will leave more in your wallet. If you're stuck in traffic for at least 60 seconds, turn off the engine; even when idle it's burning fuel.
Anticipating traffic flow and keeping your car moving in traffic can help you save money on fuel - stop/start traffic is not good for fuel consumption. When you're slowing make sure you decelerate gently - take your foot off the accelerator in plenty of time. And don't be tempted to put the car into neutral and coast - you won't save that much and it's not safe.
Keep your car in tune
Regular servicing is far more fuel-efficient than a car with a congested air filter, worn-out spark plugs, clogged fuel injectors and bad oil. Modern cars have diagnostic systems which quickly pinpoint the cause of poor running so it shouldn't take long to highlight any faults. You'll soon start to recoup the cost of the service by saving on fuel.
Check tyre pressure
Surveys regularly show a large percentage of us frequently drive with incorrect tyre pressures; not only are under-inflated tyres unsafe, they also increase rolling resistance and fuel consumption by up to 5%. Over-inflated tyres reduce the area of tyre contact with the road, so you lose vital grip.
On a hot day it's very tempting to blast the air con in your car but these units use a lot of fuel. If you do want to use it keep it for when you are driving at higher speeds - having the windows open at higher speeds will increase wind resistance and consequently raise your fuel consumption. When driving at lower speeds, make sure you turn off the air con and put those windows down.
Have you fitted fat alloys and wide tyres to your ride? They may look good, but larger tyres inevitably have more rolling resistance, which adds to your fuel consumption. Alloy wheels are often not much lighter than ordinary steel wheels meaning any weight-saving tends to be minimal and is then negated by the larger tyres. Standard spec might not be so cool, but it could use less fuel.
The less you carry, the less fuel you'll use so while it's tempting to leave items in your car this extra weight will reduce your car's fuel economy and increase CO2 emissions. If you have a roof rack, roof box or bike carrier attached to your car make sure you take it off when you no longer need it. While these space-saving items are handy you are carrying unnecessary extra weight and they spoil the carefully designed aerodynamics of your car, therefore increasing your fuel use.
Plan your route
It's obvious that you're going to use a lot of unnecessary fuel if you're lost and driving around aimlessly, so before setting off make sure you plan your route. If using a Sat Nav, the 'shortest route' option might not always be beneficial - it could send you down narrow country lanes where you stand a good chance of getting stuck or blocked causing you to waste fuel while you wait for the path to clear. You're better off sticking to major roads and turning on traffic alerts.
Use fuel saving apps
There are a number of apps available for your handheld that will not only plan your journey but will also guide you to drive at an optimal speed, and measure the braking distance between you and the car ahead. Some examples are FuelGood, which is free, and iOnRoad - both available on Android and iOS.