Petrol and diesel prices show no signs of falling in the UK, with two in five drivers admitting to making fewer journeys due to cost. With that in mind, car market CarShop has shared 12 driving and car maintenance hacks that increase fuel efficiency, which could save hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
1. Make sure the tire pressure is correct
Under-inflated and over-inflated tires are not only dangerous, they also waste fuel. Tires typically lose up to two pounds of air per month, so check their pressure every two weeks.
Research shows that if tires are underinflated by 20% – or around 6psi – up to 10% more fuel is used, costing £1.05 for every 80km travelled. So just by checking them regularly drivers can save almost £200 over the year based on average UK mileage.
2. Reduce electricity
If the air conditioning, rear window heater, defogger fan and headlights are not needed, turn them off.
On-board air conditioning uses up to 1 liter of fuel for every 60 miles driven and costs £1.80 for an average diesel car and £1.67 for a petrol car. Making this small change can save over £200 a year.
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3. Maintain the vehicle
Regular maintenance and servicing improves a vehicle’s efficiency and significantly improves its fuel mileage.
Statistics show that fuel savings of up to 10% can be achieved by replacing a clogged air filter, worn spark plugs or old engine oil and will also help retain its value when selling.
Up to 63p on every 30 miles driven could be saved – £147 per year based on average UK annual mileage.
4. Don’t start the engine until you’re ready to go
Motors run better and warm up faster when moving. Idling can use up to two liters of fuel per hour, emitting over 5.26 kg of CO2. It costs around £3.20 an hour, on average, for petrol cars and a bit more – £3.40 – for diesel.
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5. Brake and accelerate less
Both burn fuel, so try to drive smoothly. Accelerate gently and read the traffic situation in front of you to avoid unnecessary braking. Drive slowly at traffic lights or queues to avoid having to come to a complete stop and coast to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes.
Aggressive acceleration and braking can consume up to 60% more fuel, quickly making every trip that much more expensive.
6. Plan the trip
Getting lost wastes fuel, so enter the address details into your GPS and check the route and traffic information before setting off.
Sitting in traffic is also expensive; an average car burns two liters of fuel per hour in traffic jams, costing around £3.25 on average for unleaded cars and £3.60 for diesel.
7. Keep the car streamlined
Roof racks and trunks all increase fuel consumption – as do open windows and sunroofs – so pack them carefully and remove them when not in use.
Driving with a roof box consumes up to 25% more fuel than without by affecting its aerodynamics, costing £3.15 more over a 100 mile journey. Even an empty roof rack consumes up to 15% more fuel.
8. Declutter the car
Less weight means less fuel, so empty the trunk of anything unnecessary. Remember to leave in any safety gear.
9. Use the correct specification of engine oil to improve efficiency
Check the vehicle manual to see what it is. Modern engines are built to finer tolerances and therefore require low viscosity oils which can also improve fuel economy by around 3%. That’s over 26p per 50 mile journey in an average diesel car.
10. Enable Eco Mode
It reduces throttle responsiveness and engine power, which consumes less fuel.
On automatic cars it will also shift earlier to keep the vehicle in the most economical gear which is calculated from the engine load.
Around 5 per cent fuel can be saved by doing this – that’s 52p for an average diesel car on a 50 mile journey, and slightly less for a petrol engine.
11. Combine Short Trips
Cold starts use more fuel, so combine commuting and racing. Whenever possible, go one round trip rather than several short ones to avoid starting the engine cold too often. Cold engines generally consume twice as much fuel as a warm engine.
12. Walk or ride a bike
If you are only traveling a mile or more, a car may not be necessary at all. Leave some extra time and walk or cycle to reap the benefits of exercise.