Advice and Tips

Maximise your commute and drive more efficiently

Advice and Tips // 28 January 2014

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The cost of filling a car up with fuel is now as significant as that of filling a supermarket trolley with the family’s weekly shop. With cost of fuel being beyond your control, there are still plenty of ways that you make the fuel last longer.

  • Other than driving fewer miles you could combine tasks and errands instead of doing multiple trips and use a sat nav to avoid driving in the wrong direction until you realise your mistake.
  • To actually move weight, the car needs energy and it makes sense to assume that the more weight it has to shift, the more energy it will consume. Strip your car of any unnecessary stuff you don’t need. If you’re not using that roof rack, remove it. If you have snow shovel in the boot and it’s July, stash it somewhere else. If the kids aren’t in the car then you don’t need booster seats or buggies!
  • Reports have shown that extra drag such as under-inflated tyres, open windows, bike racks (and indeed extra weight) etc causes a surprising amount resistance that your car needs to use more fuel to compensate.
  • WHATCAR? Have created a brilliant tool that will allow you to measure your true MPG based on data from real driver on real roads rather than carefully monitored tests, carried out in a laboratory. A quick run through for me personally, advised that my own car, an ultra-economical Hyundai i10 has an average of 20 less MPG than advertised – based on my selected driving style.
  • Learn to drive in fuel-efficient way. Good words to remember here are Gently and With Awareness. Accelerate and brake gently and change to a higher gear as soon as you can – but not so that your engine has difficulty at low revs – a general guide is 2000rpm for a typical diesel changeup and 2500rpm for petrol.
  • Drive with Awareness – look ahead to gage when a good time to accelerate is and brake; try to keep the car flowing, speeding up and the hitting the brakes repeatedly abuses your engine and efficiency.
  • Whilst its not always possible but maintaining a consistent 55-60mph cruise is the most fuel-efficient way to drive on motorways. Sticking to the speed limits is also good for your wallet; cruising at 70mph uses up to 25% less fuel than 80.
  • Switching on features like the stereo, rear demisters, lights, or air-conditioning adds to your fuel bill as the engine has to work harder to generate the power they use. Granted, air-con systems are more efficient than they used to be, but still relatively juicy, don’t be tempted into leaving your car’s air-con switched on. In the UK, the standard systems in most cars are more than up to the task of handling almost your entire climate and demisting requirements.
  • Badly maintained engines will run less efficiently and use more fuel, so it’s logical to keep up the servicing plan. Dirty oil doesn’t lubricate engine parts as well as clean oil. Checking and replenishing the level will maintain the quality of the oil, especially if your engine is designed to consume a little oil in everyday use.
  • It’s a good idea to fill up from half full rather than empty, to minimise the evaporation in your tank. Pump slowly to minimise the creation of vapours that get sucked back into the garage’s underground storage tank (at your expense).

If you are thinking of switching to something that doesn’t use so much fuel and need help with finance, get a Moneybarn quote today. Moneybarn is the leading provider of car finance for people who have previously experienced credit difficulties. Simply complete our free and instant car finance calculator for your quote today.