Cover image for 'Simple Ways to Improve Fuel Economy and Save You Money'

Simple Ways to Improve Fuel Economy and Save You Money

Published: 12 September 2022

With energy prices increasing, people are looking at what they can save money on and drivers might be interested in knowing how they can save money just in the way they drive! So the team at GaragesNear.Me have prepared some easy-to-implement tips to help save you money.

Obviously, the type of vehicle you purchase will have a big influence on the amount of money you spend refuelling it, but irrespective of whether it’s an efficient supermini or an SUV that costs more to fill up, how you look after your car and the way you drive will also make a big difference.

So what should you do?

Your driving style

First things first, changing from an enthusiastic driving style to a more conservative approach can help improve your vehicle’s fuel consumption. So, driving more smoothly by accelerating gently and avoiding unnecessary braking will make a big difference. Particularly when a vehicle is at speed, simply anticipating the conditions ahead and taking your foot off the accelerator reduces the speed significantly and might be all you need to do slow down where and when you need to.

When in traffic, if you keep rolling rather than completely coming to a standstill and restarting, you’ll save fuel. So, if you slow down early for traffic lights or approaching a queue, you might not have to stop completely.

If you can keep the engine at a more constant speed – generally around 2,000 to 2,500 rpm – by either changing up a gear earlier if the engine is racing, or down if it’s labouring, the engine will run more efficiently and use less fuel.

Does your car have cruise control? A consistent speed will help boost performance whereas a firm push on the accelerator and then suddenly switching to the brakes, will use more fuel.

Tyres and maintenance

One of the simplest reasons for poor fuel consumption is incorrect tyre pressures. 

As a matter of course, over time, tyres gradually lose pressure and as underinflated tyres increase the vehicle’s drag, which, in turn, uses more fuel, checking and if necessary adjusting the tyre pressure levels on your vehicle will pay dividends. In addition, not only will you help your vehicle’s performance, but you’ll be also preserving the life of your
tyres.

When you purchase a vehicle, you should always check the service schedule, as routine maintenance is an excellent way to ensure your vehicle is in peak condition and, therefore, preserving its fuel consumption. 

Failing to follow the service schedule could lead to issues that you’re unaware of, such as old engine oil, spark plugs misfiring, poor fuel injection or problems with the oxygen sensors and underperforming filters. However, regular checks by a professional technician will tell you everything you need to know and what needs to be put right.

Practical matters

Did you know that the weight in the vehicle directly impacts how much fuel you use? So, if you use your vehicle to store things for the next tip run or leave your golf clubs in the boot as you don’t want to clutter up your house, it might be worth having a re-think. In the same way, leaving a roof rack and roof box permanently attached will significantly increase drag and subsequently the amount of fuel you use.

Don’t leave your engine idling to ‘warm up’, or to de-ice the windows when it’s frosty because it’ll get to its correct operating temperature faster and perform much more efficiently if you simply drive.

Sometimes it’s just easier to get in the car and nip five minutes up the road instead of walking for 15, but short, snappy journeys can have a detrimental effect on the way your vehicle uses its fuel.

Using air conditioning disproportionally increases fuel consumption at low speeds compared to driving at higher speeds. So, don't leave it on all the time, instead use it sensibly and try opening the windows when you’re around town while using it when driving at higher speeds. However, to keep it in good condition, run it at least once a week, but try to stick to these guidelines.

The key message here is to not ignore the fact you’re filling up more than you’d like to because there are things you can do about it. However, the longer you leave it, the more difficult it’ll be to change your habits, so take the opportunity and keep a little more cash in your pocket!

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