Five tips to keep your car fuel consumption down

Fuel Pumps1. Keep your tyres fully inflated and cut down air-conditioning usage

There are a significant number of people that drive their cars with under-inflated tyres. Doing so increases the resistance and therefore increases fuel consumption, therefore saving money. Studies show that fuel bills will go up by around to 2% if your tyres are not inflated to the recommended pressure.

To avoid this, ensure your tyres pressure is kept at the correct level by checking them once a week. You can find out the recommended pressure readings for your tyres in your car manual.

According to the National Energy Foundation, putting your air conditioning on increases fuel consumption by up to 25%, so only use it when absolutely necessary. An alternative method to stay cool is opening the air vents, or even simply opening a window. However, something else you may not have heard is that if you’re travelling over 100km/h, an open window will increase drag which can end up costing more in fuel than having your air-con on.

2. Service your vehicle

If you don’t service your vehicle regularly enough you could be reducing fuel economy by more than 10%. The key areas that should be covered when carrying out a regular service include changing the air filters, as dirty filters can seriously increase fuel usage; and regular oil changes, as clean oil will reduce the wear caused from friction of all the moving engine components, thus helping to improve fuel economy.

Both of the tasks mentioned above are inexpensive and can help to drive your fuel costs down…excuse the pun!

3. Change your driving habits

Changing the way you drive can have a positive impact on fuel economy, which goes further than simply refraining yourself from putting your foot down.

Keeping you gears higher can help to keep your revs down, which in turn will reduce the amount of fuel required. When using this technique ensure you are in a safe environment to do so, as using higher gears gives you less control over the car.

Avoid braking sharply then accelerating, as studies show that this could save you up to 30% on fuel costs. When starting from a stopped position, accelerate slowly as this will keep your revs down.

If you drive at 135 km/h you will use approximately 25% more fuel than at 110km/h, so keep to the speed limit, especially on long journeys.

4. Lose unnecessary weight and reduce the drag

Don’t carry excess weight that you don’t require for your journey such as removable seats, roof racks, and boot luggage. Think twice about installing accessories that will add significant weight to your car and avoid choosing wide tyres that will add rolling resistance. According to research, each additional 50kg in weight will increase your petrol consumption by 2%.

Novelty flags and sun roofs can also effect the aerodynamic drag of your car, thus increasing fuel consumption. Another interesting fact is that the weight of the fuel in your tank also effect how much fuel is required, so filling your tank up to the top will add significant weight.

5. Helping the environment will help your wallet

Try to get into the habit of using other means of transport where possible, especially when making small journeys as these can be the least fuel efficient of all, particularly in towns as drivers are constantly stopping and starting.

Cars also use more fuel when cold, so a car that would usually do 65km to the gallon when motorway driving, may fall as down below 25km per gallon on a short journey. If you are able to  walk or cycle these short journeys you will notice the difference, doing your bit for your health, wallet and the environment.

Those that require a car to commute to work should consider car sharing with colleagues, as this can cut your fuel bills in half, or even further depending on the number sharing. Alternatively, look into park-and-ride schemes. If you are unable to do either of the above, try planning your journey to ensure you are taking the most cost effective route, and get into the routine of monitoring traffic reports to avoid hold-ups.

Something also worth noting it that a small car will consume a litre of fuel every hour when the engine is running but the car is not moving, so sitting in traffic can waste more than just time. A larger car can guzzle double this amount.

Always check out the competition for fuel to find the best prices, you will be amazed at the difference in prices between cities and suburbs. But don’t burn your savings by driving a long distance to find the best fuel prices, as this will cancel out your savings and increase your carbon footprint. Try to tie your trip to the fuel station in with a regular trip, such as your weekly supermarket shop.

When looking to buy a new car, consider dipping further into your savings accounts by going for the greenest in your price range as this will not only give you major savings in fuel costs, but also give out lower CO2 emissions which helps you to stay green.

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