There are many ways to save money as a motorist – by buying and selling wisely, with good maintenance and management – but one of the most effective ways to save money is my saving fuel. Below is my nine point plan to cutting down the amount of fuel you use.
- BUY A VEHICLE BASED ON FUEL ECONOMY. But be careful – not all manufacturers use realistic driving conditions as a measure. Study the Which? guide to understanding genuine miles per gallon.
- REMAPPING DIESEL ENGINES. Please see my recent post about saving up to 15% on fuel for diesel vehicles with a simple vehicle remap.
- BE AERODYNAMIC. When vehicles are tested for their fuel consumption in the factory, every gap and bump is taped up to give good results. To improve the fuel economy on your vehicle remove roof bars and keep your windows closed. A roof box can add up to 20% spent on fuel, and many are left on vehicles for months when they are not in use.
- LOOSE WEIGHT. Resist the urge to use your vehicle as storage. Driving around with a full heavy boot or a van full of equipment not regularly used will cost you more in fuel.
- MANAGE YOUR TANK. Each litre of fuel weighs around 720gms, meaning the average UK tank (65L) if filled, makes the vehicle weigh an extra 46.8kg. If you half that, your car will handle better and be cheaper to run. I do not advocate running the vehicle regularly close to empty – as you could get debris stuck in your fuel pump – costing you more in repairs.
- GOOD TYRES. Well maintained tyres are essential for safe driving and the RAC says that inflated tyres can improve fuel consumption by up to 2%. Check tyre pressures regularly, especially before a motorway journey.
- DRIVE A MANUAL. Automatics use 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals (source: the AA). However on motorway driving, there is little difference. Read the AA guide to pros and cons of Manual vs Automatic vehicles.
- SLOW DOWN. Many businesses put a limiter on their vehicles – not just to slow staff down, but to save money. Companies that install limiters claim a 25% saving on fuel, but if you are managing your own driving, try not to exceed 3000 revs and avoid heavy acceleration and braking where possible.
- AIR CONDITIONING. Your fuel consumption will increase as soon as you switch it on. If you can live with the fan, or just being a bit warmer, you will save money.