Fuel isn’t cheap, so, as a new driver, you may be looking for ways to cut back on this type of expense. No one likes paying out for petrol or diesel but there are some simple tricks you can try to cut back on how much you use on a day-to-day basis.
If you want to know how to save fuel, here are 12 top tips:
How to save fuel
1. Stop giving out lifts
There is something pretty noble about being the designated driver - but don’t turn into a taxi service. Being the only one of your friends with a car is exciting but the more lifts you offer, the quicker that fuel is going to go down. Plus, squeezing everyone in is going to weigh down your car - making it work harder and actually use more fuel! If you still want to drive, simply ask everyone to chip in for petrol money.
2. Try being aerodynamic
You might not believe it makes much of a difference, but little tweaks can improve your car's aerodynamics and fuel consumption. Closing the windows while driving at high speeds and removing roof racks you don’t need can make your vehicle more streamlined and less likely to have to work to move faster - saving fuel in the long run.
3. Look after your tyres
Tyres are very important but if they are low in pressure, they will cause a sluggish ride - making the car use more fuel to get things moving as they should. According to the RAC, tyres that are inflated properly can improve your fuel consumption by up to 2%. Doesn’t sound like much, but every drop counts.
4. Avoid air con when driving slower
If you’re not using the motorway or faster A-roads, opt for open windows instead of air con. Air conditioning uses fuel to cool down the car, so having it on when it isn’t needed will see your levels drop faster than you’d like.
5. Drive at a consistent speed over speed bumps
Speed bumps are there to slow you down anyway and braking harshly and speeding up between each one is really inefficient when it comes to fuel. Stick to around 15-20 mph when navigating roads with speed bumps to take them safely - and save on fuel at the same time.
6. Use higher gears
When going at higher speeds, don’t change to fourth or fifth gear too late. An early gear change may not see you accelerate as fast but it can save you fuel. Plus, it means you’ll be driving a little more safely, as you get to top speeds (of the road you are on) smoothly - and if you have a black box installed it can help improve your score, potentially saving you even more money.
7. Reduce the weight
A heavier car means more fuel is used to get it going. If there are things in the boot or backseat that are weighing the car down, take them out before you head off - unless you really need them.
8. Plan to have your car serviced once a year
You may begrudge paying for a service on your car, more so than having to book it in for an MOT - but it can save you fuel and money in the long run. You don’t have to go to the original dealer though: find a garage you trust and ask them to do a service. Some offer different levels, from a simple oil change to a full check of your car. Services usually mean your car’s oil is changed, which can improve how the engine runs, resulting in better fuel consumption and money saved. Your air filters may also be cleaned or changed, another thing that can help the engine work better, resulting in less fuel consumption in the long run.
9. Opt for a manual over an automatic
If you’re still looking for a car, a manual vehicle is better than an automatic when it comes to fuel consumption. Gears mean you have control over the revs as you speed up, so you can go up the gears faster - as noted earlier - to save fuel. You have no control over this with an automatic car, and so it may need filling up sooner.
10. Slow down
Slowing down rather than driving at top speeds can save fuel and money. According to the AA, driving at 70mph uses 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph. Bear this in mind if you’re motorway driving.
11. Always plan your trip
It’s safe to say, if you get lost or have to take a detour, you’re going to use more fuel. Always plan ahead and ensure you know where you’re going before you set off - or have a good sat nav system in place.
12. Don’t sit idle
Try not to let the car idle for too long, as this uses a lot of fuel. If it’s icy, use a scraper to clear the windscreen instead of waiting for the engine to warm things up - or if you’re stuck in traffic, turn your engine off if you know you’re going to be there a while.
Ready to save fuel (and money)? Try out these tips when you next fill up and see how long you can make your fuel last. If you’re looking for other ways to cut costs, one of our black box insurance policies can help you save money on your car insurance. Click here to find out more.