Saving money is something that most of us are always trying to do. Whether it’s being smarter with our weekly shopping, more economical with our energy and water usage or just trying to save for that next big holiday. Most households in the UK have at least one car, so saving money where possible on your vehicle could soon add up. So here at Budget Insurance we’ve gathered some great money saving motoring tips to help you save money this spring.
How can I use less fuel when I drive?
What is your driving style currently? Are you a miss daisy or a wannabe Formula One driver? Firstly, we should all be sticking to the speed limit as it’s there for a reason, secondly, it’s a well-known fact that driving fast actually uses a lot more fuel. The Department for Transport advises that by driving at 70mph instead of 60mph you are using 9% more fuel and 15% more than driving at 50mph. However, if you travel at 80mph you are using a staggering 25% more fuel than you would driving at 70mph!
Based on the above statistics, speed is arguably the most influencing factor when talking about elements that affect your fuel consumption. It’s advisable that if you have a speed limiter in your car, you use it, that way you can set it to the most efficient driving speed for your journey. If you don’t have this functionality fear not, we’ve compiled a list of other factors including driving habits that you can change to ensure you are driving as efficiently as possible.
Plan your route
Whilst this seems very simple, when setting of on a long journey a lot of people will simply get in the car and start driving to where their sat nav tells them to go. But if you make some time to pre plan your journey ensuring the route you are taking is the most efficient, you could save yourself money. Think twice about making several pit stops during your journey. If possible, making one round trip is more fuel efficient as the engine will stay warm and operate at its most efficient level. Whereas if you make several stops and the engine has to start up again cold, and this will increase fuel consumption even though the mileage will be the same.
The secret to achieving that higher mpg reading is to drive as slowly as you can, in the highest gear possible. However, please ensure you do this as safely as possible taking into consideration the road, traffic and the environment you are in. Obviously every car’s optimum fuel economy speed will be different, so it’s worth doing some research with the car manufacturer. However, generally speaking as a rule of thumb for quoting fuel consumption figures, manufacturers state that the optimum driving speed for fuel economy is 55mph. Again, there are many varying factors that will have an effect on fuel consumption such as tyre pressure, excess weight in the car or whether you have a roof rack etc.
A common question people ask is does cruise control use more fuel? Rather surprisingly the answer is yes. IF, you were to use it all the time. So when should you use your cruise control? Cruise control is designed to aid fuel economy when driving on a constant flat surface, like a motorway. One of the key things to saving fuel is driving at a constant speed and this is where cruise control works effectively on flat surfaces, ensuring you stay at a consistent speed without having to accelerate.
You would start to experience some problems and increased fuel consumption if you used your cruise control regularly on surfaces that were not flat. This is due to the fact that your cruise control would be slower to react to gradient changes. For example when you are descending from a hill, you would normally have your foot hovering over the break and off the accelerator, but your cruise control does not know there is a gradient change so will keep the consistent speed for longer. Moral of the story, your cruise control is only efficient on motorways and if used daily on country roads or city driving, will lead to increased fuel consumption.
Reduce your load
Is everything in your car absolutely necessary? Is your boot full of ‘stuff’ that you might need? If so, have a clear out, what do you absolutely need to be carry around in your car on a daily basis. Anything other than absolutely essential, put it in the garage for safe keeping.
What about what’s on top of your car, do you have a roof box or roof bars as a permeant fixture on your vehicle? If this sounds familiar, listen up! Roof bars create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the ‘drag’ effect. Most roof bars tend to weigh between 3-5kg, remove these and you could affect your fuel consumption by up to 10%.
Service and smile
When was the last time you had your car serviced? This is something that you must make sure you do not just for fuel economy reasons, but safety reasons also. A well-maintained car is up to 10% more efficient than one that has been allowed to fester in its old oil. So make sure you check when your last service was and if you’re overdue, get it done ASAP.
What is hypermiling?
You may be aware of this new trend that has appeared called hypermiling, but what is it and is it safe? Well firstly, there have been many controversial reports in and around the hypermiling technique. So, what is it? Hypermiling is a form of extreme energy-efficient driving, where the aim is to get the maximum amount of miles out of every litre of fuel. Hypermilers claim that the technique can help reduce fuel usage and costs by up to 40%.
Below are some driving styles that hypermilers follow:
Go with the flow
Drive smoothly at all times, gently using the accelerator, brakes and steering to glide from A to B.
Momentum is key
Don’t think that by driving slowly your saving money. Stick to speed limits but conserving momentum and using it to your advantage is key to fuel consumption.
Remember the faster the engine spins, the more fuel it will use. Therefore, keep the revs low by changing up through the gears early.
No road rage here! Ignore that person who over took you and don’t try to catch them up and overtake them back. Not only is that potentially dangerous, it’s also expensive. If the roads are busy, you’re all in the same boat, so sit back and relax.
How do I know where the cheapest fuel prices are?
Fuel is something that everyone who drives a vehicle needs, but the price of it is a bone of contention for a lot of people. Why does it vary so much in price and where sells the cheapest fuel are often questions we ask ourselves. You can be savvy about purchasing fuel and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. The key to saving money is doing your research.
Be mindful about where you fill up. Make sure that before you set off on a long journey you have a full tank of fuel. Filling up on the motorway will most definitely cost you more. On average motorway filling stations inflate their prices by 12-15p a litre.
Keep an eye out when you’re doing your food shopping as places such as Tesco often run promotions for fuel, such as spend £60 and receive 10p of a litre. Whilst this might not be the supermarket you shop as regularly, for 10p off a litre you might think twice.
What fuel are you putting in your car? Unless you drive a super swanky sports car, you don’t need to be putting the premium fuel in your car. Regular unleaded will suffice for the week day commute.
There are also websites such as PetrolPrices where you can sign up to find out the fuel prices in your local area. However you don’t need a website to do this, you can simply keep an eye out in your local area yourself.
Are you part of a loyalty scheme? If not, why not take a look into one. They are available from companies that sell fuel as well as supermarkets and could save you money. We all need fuel so why not make the most of the deals that are available to us.