Expert reveals eight ways to make your fuel go further given the price increases
Drive as if you have a bowl of water on the passenger seat
Every time you apply the brakes, energy that you’ve paid for in fuel is being lost in heat generated by the brake pads and discs. Don’t rev the engine unnecessarily when accelerating, just move gently through the gears, keeping the engine speed to a reasonable level, but without labouring it by being in too high a gear.
Make sure your car is kept clutter-free
Naturally, when you’re carrying a heavy load, your car doesn’t perform as well on the road. These long inclines are harder work and will lead to you putting your foot down, or changing down a gear to keep the speed up – all of which uses additional fuel. Instead, have a clear out of items in your car.
Limit your use of the aircon
Many of us leave the air conditioning switched on all year round, overriding it when necessary with the heater. Try and get into the habit of turning it off when you don’t need it, it can be quite a drain on fuel when in operation.
Keep your tyres pumped up
Often motorists only check their tyre pressure once they have a puncture, however, this is a costly mistake. Low tyre pressures create heat and friction with the tread and sidewalls flexing, with research showing that you use an additional 3% fuel for every 10% your tyres are under-inflated. Not only that, tyres with insufficient pressure lead to poor handling of the vehicle with the potential for loss of control and accidents.
Take all non-regularly used bike racks and ladder racks off your vehicle
Did you know that you use more fuel to push these items through the air? Unless you’re using a bike or ladder regularly, take the rack off your vehicle. If you do, however, need a roof rack (as you’re a tradesperson), then keep it clear of loads as much as possible. Find somewhere secure at home or work to store it, as the savings in fuel can be considerable.
Have regular servicing to prevent further costs down the road
This is extremely important as something as simple as a blocked air filter will result in poor performance and higher fuel consumption. A brake that is binding slightly can have a dramatic effect on your MPG. Don’t forget, if your van is under warranty or subject to a lease agreement, it’s important to keep your service history up to date. If it belongs to you it’ll also help you prove to a second owner or, to a dealer when part exchanging for a new vehicle that you’ve looked after it, enhancing its value.
Keep your window closed
All that buffeting you get in the cab when you have the window open, even slightly, doesn’t come for free and fuel is burnt to generate it. If you don’t need the window open, close it.
Always pre-plan your journeys
Probably the single, most effective way of lowering your fuel bill is to reduce the mileage you drive and to avoid time consuming and costly congestion. Plan your routes carefully using real-time data such as that offered by Google Maps.
Expert comment: Daryl West, Head of Social Media and PR at Vanarama, said: “In the past couple of weeks, the average price of petrol has jumped to £1.55 a litre, whilst diesel has increased to £1.61. When these prices are compared to just two months ago, this is an increase of 10p per litre for petrol and 13p per litre for diesel. Whilst this may not seem like a significant increase, it will now cost an additional £5.50 to fill up a standard 55-litre family car with petrol, and £7.15 for diesel.
“This, alongside the general cost of living increasing at its fastest rate for 30 years, may create further money worries for motorists. To help, we’ve shared nine ways to frugally cut your fuel costs – saving you both money and trips to the petrol station.”
Research belongs to Vanarama