‘Consider how you drive’ Tips to make a tank of fuel go further: save 25 percent on petrol

BBC Breakfast compare petrol and diesel prices

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Petrol and diesel prices don’t show any signs of dropping in the UK, with two in five drivers admitting they are making fewer journeys due to the cost. With this in mind, motoring marketplace 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 tyre pressures are correct
Under-inflated and over-inflated tyres are not only dangerous, but also waste fuel. Tyres generally lose up to two pounds of air per month, so check their pressure every couple of weeks.

Research shows that if tyres are under-inflated by 20 percent – or around 6psi – up to 10 percent more fuel is used, which costs £1.05 for every 50 miles driven. So, just by checking them regularly, drivers can save almost £200 over the year based on UK average mileage.

2. Cut down on the electrics
If the air conditioning, rear window heater, demister fan and headlights aren’t needed, turn them off.

In-car air conditioning uses up to 1 litre of fuel every 60 miles travelled and costs £1.80 for an average diesel car and £1.67 for petrol powered. Making this small change can save more than £200 a year.

3. Maintain the vehicle
Regular maintenance and servicing improves a vehicle’s efficiency and considerably improves its fuel consumption.

Statistics show that fuel savings of up to 10 percent can be made by replacing a blocked air filter, worn spark plugs or old engine oil and will also help to retain its value when selling.

Up to 63p on every 30 miles travelled could be saved – £147 a year based on UK average annual mileage.

4. Don’t start the engine until ready to go
Engines perform better and warm up faster when moving. Idling can use up to two litres of fuel per hour, emitting over 5.26kg of CO2. This costs around £3.20 an hour, on average, for petrol cars and a little bit more – £3.40 – for diesel.

5. Brake and accelerate less
Both burn fuel, so try to drive smoothly. Accelerate gently and read the traffic situation ahead to avoid unnecessary braking. Roll up slowly for traffic lights or queues to avoid having to stop completely and coast to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes.

Aggressive accelerating and braking can use up to 60 percent more fuel, which quickly makes every journey much more costly.

6. Plan the journey
Getting lost wastes fuel so enter address details in your sat nav and check out the route and traffic news before setting off.

Sitting in traffic jams is also costly; the average car burns two litres of fuel an hour in traffic jams – costing around £3.25 on average for unleaded cars and £3.60 for diesel.

7. Keep the car aerodynamic
Roof racks and boxes all add to fuel consumption – as do open windows and sunroofs – so pack carefully and remove them when not in use.

Driving with a roof box uses up to 25 percent more fuel than without by impacting its aerodynamics – costing £3.15 more over a 100-mile journey. Even an empty roof rack uses up to 15 percent more fuel.

8. Declutter the car
Less weight means less fuel, so empty the boot of anything not required. Just remember to leave in any safety equipment.

9. Use the right specification of engine oil to improve efficiency
Check the vehicle handbook to see what that is. Modern engines are built with finer tolerances and therefore require oils with lower viscosity that can also improve fuel economy by around 3 percent. That’s more than 26p per 50-mile journey in an average diesel car.

10. Turn on Eco mode
It reduces throttle responsiveness and engine power output so uses less fuel.

On automatic cars, it will also shift up earlier to keep the vehicle in the most economical gear which is calculated from the engine load.

Around 5 percent of fuel can be saved by doing so – that’s 52p for an average diesel car on a 50-mile journey, and slightly less for a petrol-powered motor.

11. Combine short trips
Cold starts use more fuel, so combine trips and errands. Where possible, make one round trip rather than several short ones to avoid starting the engine from cold too many times. Cold engines will generally use twice as much fuel as a warm engine.

12. Walk or cycle
If you’re only travelling a mile or so, a car may not be needed at all. Leave a little more time and walk or cycle to get the benefit of exercise.

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