Cut your petrol bills

Every time you go past the filling station the price of petrol and diesel seems to have gone up. It can be a serious problem when you need your car for work or to get the kids to school.

But there are ways to cut the cost of filling your tank – and make the fuel you buy take you further.

Cutting the cost of fuel

Generally, fuel from supermarket forecourts is likely to be the cheapest, and will certainly cost less than motorway service stations. Try to fill your tank when you are doing your big shop.

But where is the cheapest fuel in your area? Check out PetrolPrices.com to compare petrol, diesel and premium fuel prices. There’s an app – take a look before you head off to fill up.

Get more MPG

But whatever you pay for it, you can also make the fuel you buy take you further.

First, cut the weight. The less you have to haul, the less fuel you will use to do it. Clear the boot of anything that isn’t essential. Ditch the roof rack or roof box to reduce wind resistance, and hence fuel consumption, too.

Turn off the air conditioning. It uses fuel – open the window if you need to keep cool. Below 45mph, having your windows open uses less fuel than your air-con. But watch the speed. Go any faster and the extra drag through the air caused by the open windows outweighs the fuel that air-con uses.

Make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Soft tyres mean more resistance, which means more fuel is used. It means your tyres last longer too.

Then look at how you drive. The more you press the accelerator pedal, the more fuel – whether petrol, diesel or electricity – will flow, just like opening a tap. So the harder you accelerate, the more fuel you’ll use. Acceleration is expensive, and so is slamming on the brakes. Aim to drive smoothly. Try to look ahead and anticipate what’s going to happen without unnecessary acceleration or braking. When you approach roundabouts, corners and red traffic lights, aim to slow down naturally.

Some drivers put a marble in a bowl on the dashboard. Keep the marble in the bowl and you are driving smoothly.

Watch the revs. Driving in low gears at high revs means a big increase in your fuel consumption. But if you’re in too high a gear, say fourth instead of third, you have to push the accelerator down hard to maintain momentum, you’ll also use more fuel.

So when pulling away or accelerating, watch the gears. You might aim to change up a gear early, usually by around 2,000 rpm, but don’t stay in a high gear longer than you should.

Watch your speed too. You have to keep up with traffic, but your car will use substantially more fuel at 70 than it will at 50. You can save up to 25% of your fuel, depending on the car you drive, by slowing down,

You can find more expert ways to cut fuel consumption – or ‘hypermiling’ here.

Consider a car share

Car sharing can halve your fuel costs and cut carbon emissions and congestion at the same time. So if you drive to work or take the kids to school every day, see if you can find someone who lives nearby to share the journeys.

You can either split the fuel costs or take it in turns to drive.

But the best answer of all to cut the cost of fuel? Don’t use your car for any journey of less than a mile or two, such as quick shopping trips or the school run, invest in a pair of comfortable shoes and walk. Its better for you, the planet – and your budget!

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