Ten simple steps to reducing your fuel costs
With petrol and diesel prices rising, it’s now more important than ever to understand how your driving techniques impact your fuel consumption. Not only will they help save you money, they could even help reduce your repair bills in the long-term.
Pay attention to the road ahead
Driving in a “defensive” instead of “reactive” way can help improve your fuel economy, especially if you’re taking a long journey. If you haven’t heard of this before, then here’s an example.
If you see that a lorry has pulled into the same lane, as you further down along the motorway, then make sure you have enough time to change lanes and overtake them. Likewise, if you can see traffic braking further ahead, then start to reduce your speed sooner, rather than hitting the brakes, as you get closer.
You’re basically just monitoring the traffic conditions ahead of you, compared to only the car in front.
Stick to a maintenance schedule
Looking after your car is one of the easiest ways to help improve your fuel economy. If you stick to a regular maintenance schedule, including checks at home, your vehicle is going to be working at optimum levels and you’ll be extending its life.
These checks include:
- Engine fluids, including engine oils
- Monitoring tyre pressure
- Coolant levels
- Brake and power steering fluids
Think about your parking
Now, this doesn’t just apply to finding the space closest to the shop, it means considering the time of year, and how this impacts your fuel consumption.
If you’re driving in the winter, then it’s worth parking where your car will benefit from sunshine throughout the day. You won’t have to worry about idling your engine whilst the screen de-mists or defrosts, so you’re improving your fuel economy before you even start.
If you’re driving in the summer, then make sure that you park in the shade. It’s a normal reaction to crank up the air conditioning, but if you’ve parked in the shade then your car will (hopefully) be cooler, meaning you won’t have to.
Utilise your cruise control
If you’re taking a long journey or you’re on a particularly long, flat stretch of road, then why not utilise your cruise control? This is ideal if there’s minimal traffic around you, as the constant speed on an even surface helps maintain a higher miles per gallon (mpg).
If you do have to overtake then, as we’ve already mentioned, make sure you’re doing it in a “defensive” rather than a “reactive” way. You’ll have plenty of time to accelerate smoothly and above all, safely.
Drive for consumption, not for speed
We’ve all experienced that feeling of satisfaction when you catch up with another driver who sped past you miles before. If you change your mindset from “I need to get there as soon as possible” to “I’ll drive carefully and I’ll save money on my fuel”, over time you’ll become used to driving for fuel consumption, not for speed.
Use hills to your advantage
You might think that putting your foot down to get to the top of a hill is the easiest way to get to the top, but this isn’t going to help your fuel economy. One tip is to accelerate before you get to the slope and use the momentum of the car to keep you moving.
Make sure that you keep your speed a constant, as that initial boost will stop you from having to put your foot down half way up the hill.
Lighten the load
It should go without saying that if you’re carrying around extra weight in your vehicle you’re going to be using more fuel. Cutting the excess weight and removing bulky objects can help improve your fuel economy and keep your vehicle clutter-free at the same time.
Monitor your tyre pressure
We’ve mentioned in the past, maintaining and monitoring your tyres is another way to cut the costs of your fuel spend. The tyres should be inflated to the recommended pressure displayed in the manufacturer’s manual, so don’t be tempted to over-inflated them.
Air con or open windows?
Using your air conditioning all the time uses more fuel, so if you’re in slow traffic or driving through a town, then turn off the AC and open your windows.
However, if you’re driving at speed, then turn it back on again and close your windows. The large openings in the body of your car will increase drag, making your car work harder to maintain its current speed.
Drop your revs, raise the gear
The fast your engine spins, the more fuel it uses. This means that to help cut the costs of your fuel, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your revs (revolutions per minute or RPM) low and changing to a higher gear sooner rather than later.
If you have a smart display in your vehicle, then why not make use of the Eco setting whilst you’re driving. This gives you information on your average fuel consumption, whilst rewarding you with “Eco-Points” when your driving improves.
So there we have it, our top ways to cut your fuel consumption. Are there any techniques that you use that you think we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so make sure you let us know in the comments below. Alternatively, you can join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Remember, if you’re looking for a self-drive vehicle to keep the mileage off your own car, then we’re here to help. As a leading provider of self-drive car hire company, we have plenty of vehicle options available, ranging from smaller city cars to specialist vehicles. Get in touch with us today if you need any more information or advice.