Motorists across the country are paying higher fuel prices than ever.
Latest data shows that the average UK price of petrol is now above £1.56 per litre, while diesel has exceeded £1.62 on the back of the war in Ukraine and oil surging to $125-a-barrel in recent days.
Experts and bookmakers says the possibility of motorists paying over £1.70 for a litre of fuel is now odds-on to happen, with no respite from rising costs for Britons already facing a cost of living crisis.
You can extend the interval between forecourt visits by changing your driving habits and preparing your vehicle so it is as efficient as possible.
These are 10 tips to help you drive more efficiently, and avoid high fuel costs.
The AA says that currently the average family car with a typical 55-litre tank will cost an extra £18 to fill with unleaded than it did a year ago, going up from £67.62 to £86.
With no signs of the conflict in Ukraine easing, more price hikes are expected on our forecourts, with bookmakers last week placing 2/5 odds on petrol prices breaking £1.70-a-litre in 2022, while £2 per litre was at 9/4.
There are many ways to drive more efficiently, save fuel and avoid replacing your car.
We have compiled the top 10 most efficient driving tips for motorists who want to make the most of their expensive fuel.
1. Check that the car is running in top condition
You might want to book an appointment if you have an older vehicle that hasn’t had service in a while to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible.
Bad engine maintenance and sticking brakes can have a negative impact on your vehicle’s mileage per gallon.
One of the best ways to make sure your car doesn’t burn too much fuel is by inflating your tyres correctly.
2. Make sure your tires are properly inflated
Checking the pressure of your tires regularly is an easy way to keep your vehicle running efficiently.
A car’s fuel efficiency can be affected by tyres that are too low.
To find the recommended pressures, consult the owner’s manual. Many models have the information on the tyre pressure on their driver’s side door sill. However, modern cars can also show the pressure in the cluster of the instruments or alert you when it is inaccurate.
Modern cars come with adjustable acceleration settings. You should make use of the ECO mode on your car, such as this one.
3. Use the eco mode if your car is equipped with it
Modern motors can now be fitted with variable driving modes.
If it does, your car likely has an eco setting. These settings will reduce the car’s acceleration.
A slower and more smoother acceleration can help to reduce your fuel consumption.
4. You can be gentle with the throttle if you don’t have an auto setting.
Try to mimic what your car does using your right foot if it doesn’t offer adjustable driving modes. It means that you should be gentle with the accelerator pedal.
Driving at excessive speeds is one of fuel’s biggest problems. It is essential to maintain a low right foot, and ensure that acceleration is smooth.
Try not to act like you’re starting at Silverstone when you start your journey from a stop, for example at junctions and traffic lights.
According to the RAC a higher gear is better for the engine, as it will not be overworked and reduce the fuel demand.
5. The highest gear is best
According to the RAC, the key to achieving high mpg in your car is keeping it within the limit of speed while driving at the maximum gear.
It states that the best way to move in cities is to shift through gears quickly with as low a rev as possible (probably at 2000rpm).
6. To preserve your fuel, plan ahead
The acceleration of a vehicle too quickly will reduce its fuel economy. But, braking too often can also have an adverse effect on fuel economy. You can save fuel by slowing down and coming to a halt more slowly.
It requires drivers to be able to see ahead of traffic, but it is an excellent way to limit fuel consumption.
It might not be a good idea to use cruise control if you are a long-distance driver and rely on it. However, petrol and diesel prices have been rising rapidly.
7. If you’re looking to reduce fuel consumption, cruise control won’t be your friend
Many people believe using cruise control will result in the lowest fuel consumption. However, it is not always true.
The most probable benefit of cruise control on motorways that have a steady speed and an even surface is mpg.
If you used your cruise control more often and drove on roads that were flat, fuel consumption would increase.
‘This is because your cruise control would be slower to react to gradient changes, meaning when reaching the brow of a hill – at which point you would normally take your foot off the accelerator to maintain more of a constant speed when descending – your cruise control will keep the power on for a little longer as it’s unable to see the gradient change in front of you.
The RAC states that driving in such a way often would cause worse fuel consumption.
Air conditioning should not be used unless absolutely necessary. It increases engine power, which in turn can increase fuel consumption.
8. The heater and air-con should be avoided
Avoid using your air conditioner unless absolutely necessary. It uses engine power, which can increase fuel consumption up to 10% on short journeys.
In the winter, this shouldn’t cause any problems, but a car heater could have an impact on your fuel economy, since it runs off your engine’s power.
It is a good idea to dress appropriately for the weather.
9. Warm engines are more efficient so you can run several errands on one trip.
Warm engines will work best when they are warm, while cold start can increase fuel consumption.
Try to accomplish all your errands and trips within a single day.
A car with a roofbox that is empty will be less drag-efficient. This means your engine will work harder and consume more fuel to offset this.
10. Lighten your car’s load
This won’t have a significant impact on your mileage, but it will make your car run more efficiently.
You can also remove roof boxes and roof bars if they are not necessary. This will make the motor more efficient.
Energy Saving Trust says that an empty roof rack can add 16 percent drag to a vehicle traveling at 75 mph. The same speed, a roofbox adds 39% drag to the vehicle making it less efficient in terms of fuel consumption.
Similar results can also be obtained by using an open window.
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