In this guest post Tariq Musaji, an eco-driving evangelist and Managing Director of Farrah Driver Training ltd, gives us some top tips for saving money on your fuel bill.
During the past two years, the price of petrol and diesel has soared past the £1 a litre mark. Diesel is more expensive than petrol, adding more pressures on taxi drivers, driving instructors and haulage operators.
I have already coached some van drivers and have had positive results of a saving of 10% in a reduction on their overall fuel bill. However, it’s not just big companies who are struggling with rising fuel costs; many households have had to make compromises in order to fuel their car. This is especially true for people living in rural areas where public transport is poor or non-existent, making affordable motoring and improved fuel economy all the more important.
Follow my top tips and you could save yourself a surprising amount of money on your monthly fuel bill.
1) Maintain your vehicle
The correct viscosity of oil should be used. This can be found in the car manual. In times of a recession, its quite tempting to use cheap oil from supermarkets. However, it does not do the engine any good. Mixing up different grades of oil can burn up more oil in the combustion chamber. It is better to stick with good quality oil.
Regular oil checks will ensure that the engine is operating at the correct level and if one sees a considerable burning of oil, corrective measures can be taken up much earlier. This could save the motorist considerable amount of money in the long term.
Check your tyres for bulges or lacerations and then measure the tread depth. If there’s less than 3mm of tread left, those tyres definitely need replacing. I’d recommend picking brand-new budget tyres over part-worn branded ones and buying your own pressure gauge rather than relying on the communal one at petrol stations.
Always make sure that your tyres are inflated to the recommended pressure, over-inflating can cause uneven wear and under-inflating can reduce fuel economy. Your tyre’s recommend pressure should be written on the side of it.
Keep an eye on your screen wash and coolant levels. Although they’re not directly tied into fuel economy, it’s worth getting yourself into the routine of topping them up while you’re doing your oil and checking your tyres.
2) Bare-bones driving
Remove excess weight
A boot full of random rubbish adds weight to your car and, in turn, decreases your fuel economy. If you don’t need it, leave it at home. The same applies for roof racks, ski racks or anything else that might be strapped to the roof of your car.
Turn off the air-con
Using your air conditioning can burn up to 15% extra fuel. Try opening a window for a bit instead of using the wasteful air-con.
3) Gentle motoring
Plan for the road ahead
Look as far as you can see, not just directly in front of you, for developing hazards. If you spot things early, you can take action early. Easing off the gas and braking gently is far more fuel-efficient than just jamming on the brakes at the last minute.
Gentle with the gas
Accelerate gently and smoothly at all times. There isn’t often a need to slam on the gas.
Brake with the brakes, not your gears
Brakes are far better now than they used to be (modern callipers are far better than antiquated drums). With that in mind, you don’t really need to slow down with your gearbox anymore. Just ease off the gas good and early and then brake gently.
Change gear early
I’d recommend changing gear in a petrol car at about 2000rpm and at around 2500rpm in a diesel vehicle.
Driving at 80mph uses up to 20% more fuel than driving at 70mph. It makes sense, the faster you driver, the harder you work the engine. The harder you work your engine, the more fuel you use.
Content provided by Tariq Musaji, BA (Hons) DMS DSA Adi.
Grade 6 Fleet Instructor
Managing Director, Farrah Driver Training Ltd
Essex trading standards approved & Which? Local contributor
Image via Images_of_Money.